Anti-Semitism in Prince George’s

Here we go again. In 2012, U.S. Senate candidate Anthony Muse put out a palm card that was, among other things, wildly anti-Semitic.

muse palm card 2012

One of the comments on Maryland Juice’s post about the palm card read as follows:

Wow. Putting aside the blatant lie that Obama supports Muse, which in many respects is par for the course in Maryland and particularly Prince George’s County, the anti-Semitism of that palm card just leaps off the page. Let’s not forget that Ben Cardin is (ahem) Jewish.

I particularly like the “subtle as a sledgehammer” use of “Jewish” alongside white, black, Hispanic and Asian, and the doubly insulting insinuation that Jews are something other than white. You stay classy, Anthony Muse.

The overall thrust of this palm card, again beyond the lie, is Muse’s completely transparent attempt to empower the African-American community by appealing to blatant bias against Jews. “Hey, look, THOSE people are overrepresented. That should be OUR Senate seat.”


That comment was written by me. Just for the record.

Today brings news that last night, a similarly-themed but even more egregiously offensive mail piece (let’s not call it a flyer, it’s much fancier than that, which means someone thought it up, went to a mail firm or printing company, and had it made - it was premeditated, not spontaneous) was distributed at a meeting to discuss County Executive Rushern Baker’s budget proposals.

I heard about it yesterday, but didn’t want to write about it until I had actually seen it. Tonight the Washington Post wrote about it. Both Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen quickly issued statements deploring the piece, and I don’t believe either one had anything to do with its production or dissemination. Within the past hour, I have obtained a photograph of the mail piece.

anti semitic mail piece 050515

First point: the piece is illegal. It has no authority line, in violation of Maryland law. Julius Henson went to jail for that offense in Baltimore, and was fined over $1 million.

Second, the piece is insulting to pretty much everyone: whites, Jews, blacks, you name it. And it is insulting to Prince George’s voters. I’m not going to parse it, you can read it through yourself. In this case, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Finally, putting aside its offensive nature, it’s stupid for another reason: we’re almost a year out from the election. Sleazy ads like this one only have a chance to work when it’s too late for anyone to respond to them. As a matter of strategy and tactics, this was poorly done, and done entirely too soon.

So now the question: who did this?

I don’t know, and while I’m not a journalist, I don’t play guessing games. I only mention the Anthony Muse palm card because of the similarly stupid mentality behind both pieces. I don’t think he did it. Or had anything to do with it.

But I will say this: I’m going to find out who did. Politics is a full contact sport, and anyone who plays in this sandbox knows it. Israel is fair game for political criticism, and I am no Likudnik. But this piece isn’t just anti-Israel, it’s anti-Semitic - it suggests that blacks are underrepresented in Maryland because Jews stand in their way. What was implied in 2012 is explicit in 2015. And that attitude is not acceptable to me, as a Democrat, as a Jew, and as a person. I’d like to think that I’m not alone in holding this opinion.

Drops microphone. Rant over.

5 thoughts on “Anti-Semitism in Prince George’s

  1. While I completely respect your point (and most other points you make, I might add), as a Prince Georgian, I cringe at the title you chose for this post. I understand you “heard” this mail piece to be floating around at a recent budget hearing and the connection to State Senator Muse’s earlier sample ballot. But must my entire County be painted broad brush with such a sweeping reference as “Anti-Semitism in Prince George’s”???

    Seems fair to ask.

    M. Pittman


    • It’s a fair question. I go out of my way to state that I think it insults Prince George’s voters. The reason I titled it as I did was not to blame but to describe - it happened in a particular place in circumstances that are worthy of comment. I think there are those in politics who think that Prince George’s is fertile ground for this kind of crap. Thus the historical reference. I think that attitude is wrong and offensive and as I’ve said, insulting. But there is no intent on my part to blame Prince George’s voters or residents. Only to describe the context because it helps to inform and analyze the situation. Thanks for writing, your thoughts are appreciated.


  2. I’m more concerned about the content of the mailer, than the title of this post. If my sources across the state are correct the same entity behind the failed redistricting lawsuit, and the equally anti-Semitic mailer from the Muse campaign in ’12 is behind this repugnant mailer.


  3. Jonathan, this flier is a disgusting, vile, tribalistic, anti-Israel screed.

    But, with due respect, I see nothing remotely anti-Semitic about it.

    The reference to “Jews, Irish, and Italians” is a reference to ethnic groups and political power, and there is no implication that ethnic politics is illegitimate. If it were only to Jews, that would be something, maybe.

    The reference to Israel has nothing to do with Jews and there is no mention of a Jewish lobby (Soon, the Israel Lobby may be predominantly non-Jewish if current trends among Christian evangelicals and Republicans continue!)

    There are no traditional anti-Semitic tropes.

    Trust me, I know anti-Semitism when I see it. And I know anti-Semitism when it comes to the aid of anti-Israelism.

    But anti-Israelism is not anti-Semitism, and to say it is, legitimates anti-Semitism, since much of anti-Israelism is defensible in ways that anti-Semitism is not. After all, being a Palestinian who doesn’t recognize the State of Israel, and want to replace it with a Palestinian state, doesn’t make somebody anti-Semitic.

    I realize that political reasons dictate that Donna Edwards dismiss this as anti-Semitic. And whether she uses the term or not, the flier is vile. I also realize that pro-Israel supporters want to enlist the anti-Semitic slur in order to delegitimize anti-Zionism and anti-Israelism.

    But I’m paid by the taxpayers of the State of Maryland for making distinctions. And this is not anti-Semitic. Saying do, in my humble opinion, trivializes anti-Semitism.


    Charles Manekin
    Director of the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies
    University of Maryland, College Park, MD


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