Jewish Journal


July 31, 2008

Steven Cohen and the Jews-hate-Jesus campaign



I received some fan mail two weeks ago that I’ve been meaning to indulge. It was from George Brooks, an African-American minister from Tennessee who has been leading a campaign against the re-election of U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, the only white congressman from a predominantly black district.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal says Cohen is the best candidate for Congress. But though he authored a resolution passed yesterday by the House that apologized for slavery, Cohen’s whiteness has been a major distraction.

To boot, Cohen is a Cohen, and Memphis is in the South and, well, black-Jewish relations just aren’t what they used to be. This winter, the self-righteous Rev. Brooks distributed the incredibly inflammatory flier at left (hi-res). Subtlety, we can be sure, is not Brooks’ forte.

In the envelope I received this month, Brooks had toned down his message. One flier, picturing the side-by-side mugs of Cohen and a black Jesus, carried this headline: “I LOUDLY repeat: Steve Cohen is ‘ANTI-JESUS’ And dere ain’t nuttin’ anti-Semitic ‘bout dat, it is the TRUTH!” The other blamed Jews, via Cohen’s proxy, for a few really vile social ills—the Tennessee Lottery and an initiative to legalize medical marijuana nationwide.

U.S. Rep. Cohen

And Barack Obama’s camp thinks they’ve had to deal with smear campaigns ...

The third sheet of paper was addressed to me, but my name had cleared by filled into a template Brooks sends to those identifies as his Jewish foes:

“Just a brief note, because I know my words fall on death [sic] ears when even suggesting or hinting at Jews, such as yourself, to be truthful about Jewish beliefs concerning Jesus. But prefer to just whine and cry that same old blues song, ‘Anti-Semitism.’”

So many things wrong with that paragraph, from spelling and syntax to arrogance and inaccuracy, I don’t even know where to start.

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