Hillary Clinton Called Out for Hypocrisy on Islamophobia
While denouncing Donald Trump's racist rhetoric, Clinton has retained a campaign surrogate who previously called for the internment of some Muslim-Americans
Eleven advocacy organizations on Thursday accused former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of sending "mixed messages" on Islamophobia by denouncing fellow 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump's racist rhetoric, yet retaining retired general Wesley Clark as a campaign surrogate—despite his previous call to intern some Muslim-Americans.
Clark, a longtime ally to Clinton, recently spoke in Iowa on her behalf for Veteran's Day.
This is the same retired general who, in a July interview with MSNBC, called for "disloyal Americans" to be placed in internment camps in the style of the World War II era.
"If these people are radicalized and they don’t support the United States and they are disloyal to the United States as a matter of principle, fine," Clark said. "It's their right and it’s our right and obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict."
Clark added: "[I]f someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war."
Thursday's letter argues that Clark's campaign role raises questions about Clinton's sincerity in denouncing Trump's plan to ban Muslims who are not U.S. citizens from entering the country. Echoing Clark, Trump defended his proposal by comparing it to President Franklin Roosevelt's decision to intern Japanese Americans during World War II.
"At a time when American Muslims are facing a surge in violent hate crimes, we are asking you to hold your own campaign accountable," states the open letter, which is signed by CREDO Action, ColorOfChange.org, MPower Change, Emerge USA, Bend the Arc, Demand Progress, American Family Voices, We Act Radio, Presente.org, Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, and the Muslim American Society of Boston.
"We are not aware of any statement from your campaign condemning Gen. Clark's frightening remarks," the letter continues. "Please immediately remove Gen. Clark from his role in your campaign, and promise to do the same with any campaign surrogates aiding and abetting the dangerous anti-Muslim mob mentality fostered by your opponents."
Clinton's impact on Muslims across the globe, however, extends far beyond her relationship with Clark. In her previous role as secretary of state and U.S. senator, Clinton consistently advocated for disastrous U.S. military aggression against Muslim majority nations, from Afghanistan to Libya to Syria to Iraq.
In addition, Clinton has made her "unbreakable bond" with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—an enforcer of apartheid policies towards Palestinians—a centerpiece of her 2016 presidential campaign.
What's more, in a speech delivered earlier this month to the Brookings Institution, Clinton invoked the so-called War on Terror to argue for the erosion of First Amendment rights.
"We're going to have to have more support from our friends in the technology world to deny online space. Just as we have to destroy [ISIS's] would-be caliphate, we have to deny them online space," she said.
"And this is complicated," Clinton continued. "You're going to hear all of the usual complaints, you know, freedom of speech, et cetera. But if we truly are in a war against terrorism and we are truly looking for ways to shut off their funding, shut off the flow of foreign fighters, then we’ve got to shut off their means of communicating."
Many have argued that the War on Terror orchestrated by Clinton and other politicians on both sides of the aisle plays a critical role in stoking the Islamophobic and racist sentiment sweeping the United States today.
In a recent Intercept piece, journalist Glenn Greenwald pointed out that the the U.S. is "an overwhelmingly Christian country that has spent 14 years and counting waging a relentless, seemingly endless war in predominantly Muslim countries and that touts Israel as its closest ally."
"Numerous factions have all sorts of lurking incentives to demonize Muslims as the greatest menace, and Trump has simply become an unusually unrestrained vehicle for expressing all of that and an unusually aggressive exploiter of it," argued Greenwald, "but he is not its creator nor its prime mover."