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The Lockean Project

Askew owes apology

“Askew owes apology”, Carmel Pine Cone – Nov. 3, 2023

It really hurt me to read that the Monterey County Board of Supervisors defeated a resolution to condemn “the brutal terrorist attacks and slaughter against Israel and innocent civilians, including 30 Americans.” The resolution, proposed by commissioner Luis Alejo, was mainstream, good-hearted, and noncontroversial. It echoed ones voted for by all but 10 members of the U.S. Congress and 100 American universities. And while the board does not often comment on national issues, it has done so in the past, most recently on the Supreme Court ruling on abortion.

Most Americans have no problem condemning torture and the beheading of infants. The Monterey County Board of Supervisors, in the name of avoiding controversy, voted it down. Council member Lopez’s mention of the Holocaust was booed. Most horrible of all, not reported in the Pine Cone, but quoted in the Monterey paper, Supervisor Wendy Askew accused the Jews of Israel of using the attack on them to justify a plan for genocide.

The Israelis have been moral giants showing respect for all human life, often sacrificing their own soldiers to minimize civilian casualties. In the current crisis, they warned civilians to leave the battle zone, asked Egypt to open its border to create a safe haven for Gazans, and are limiting their counterattacks to Hamas military positions. How is that genocide? Defending your country when it is attacked is normal, ethical, and when non-Jews do it, considered heroic. Think of Ukraine.

Askew is in the company of antisemites everywhere, who since the Dark Ages have accused Jews of plotting genocide, something that has never happened and never will, but often results in the murder of Jews.

Make no mistake, Askew’s tarring Israel with the accusation of genocide poses a danger to American Jews. According to the FBI’s national crime statistics, there were 1,305 hate crimes against Jews in this country in 2022 and 205 against Muslims.

Ms. Askew’s public statement crossed a red line. As a public official, she should be fighting antisemitism, not fomenting it. She owes the citizens of Monterey County a public apology.

Karin McQuillan, Carmel