Thursday, February 22, 2024

And "Genocidally" is Not an Adjective

Respectfully, councilwoman, you've been punked, as the tweeter may have been.

I was, too, when I saw the tweet with the associated video:

The exchange, which was

caught on video as the activist approached Ogles in Washington, sparked pushback from local Nashville officials and the Nashville-based American Muslim Advisory Council....

In video of the incident, the activist walks alongside Ogles and staff members as she has a back-and-forth with the congressman about mounting civilian deaths in Gaza. Ogles asked the activist if she'd seen footage of dead Israeli children.

"I've seen footage of shredded children's bodies, and that's my taxpayer dollars going to bomb those kids," the activist said.

“I think we should kill them all, if that makes you feel better," Ogles replied.

Representative Ogles' comment, as shown in the video, was not met with applause and as the Tennessean adds

At-large Metro Council member Zulfat Suara learned about Ogles' comments while at Tuesday night's council meeting, where the council was discussing a resolution condemning the display of Nazi symbols, chants and hate speech in downtown Nashville on Feb. 17.

Suara said rhetoric like Ogles emboldens people "to march and preach hate."

"In the conflict overseas, I have been very mindful of what I say and how I say it because I want to make sure that my Jewish friends are not hurt in what I say, and to make sure that my Palestinian families are taken care of," Suara said, noting she represents both in her constituency.

"But when legislators at the federal level and the state level continue to demonize people, continue to only look at one side and not the other, that's the result that we see on the streets. And I hope that we will continue to do better. This otherization, this demonization, this 'Kill them all' is only breaking us apart."

Houston, we have a problem.  Ogles after the word "better" added "everybody in Hamas."  His spokesperson noted in an email to the paper "The Congressman was not referring to Palestinians, he was clearly referring to the Hamas terrorist group."

And so he was. However, that did not deter a United States Representative from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area from jumping to a conclusion: 

This is bad. When I saw the tweet, I assumed the extremely conservative Ogles had in fact asserted, in toto, "kill them all," implying all Palestinians. But he was not. In understandable frustration, he had blurted out the remark "... kill them all, if that makes you feel better." Instead, in adding "kill everybody in Hamas," Ogles was making a comment which, to all opposed to terrorism, is uncontroversial. 

I could suggest that would not include Representative Summers and like-minded individuals. However, that would be making a similar mistake as did the congresswoman, assuming something without definitive evidence. In her case, it was taking as face value a video, which is not only dangerous, but has become increasingly common.

So we should beware, not assuming any video, wherever it's seen, is completely accurate and not intended to misinform. As Democrats, we must hold ourselves to this standard, lest our credibility as a Party, like that of Republicans, further diminish. And that would include not using terms such as "genocide" or "genocidally" without understanding fully the facts of a complex regional situation.

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