'Dearbornistan' Mayor Suppresses Free Speech

Blocks article on anti-Semitism that he deems a “distraction.”

Dearborn, Michigan, nicknamed "Dearbornistan," is the U.S. city with the largest percentage of Arab Americans. The Arab-American National Museum (AANM) is located in Dearborn because, its director said, “Dearborn is the heart of Arab-America.” The majority of these Arab American residents are Shiite Muslims from south Lebanon and Iraq. The Islamic Center of America in Dearborn is the largest Shiite mosque in the United States. 

Dearborn was also the hometown of Henry Ford, the auto industrialist whose factories attracted Arab immigrants to Dearborn in the 1920s. “Palestinian Muslims arrived in the second decade of the 20th century, attracted by the prospect of work on the assembly lines that produced Ford’s revolutionary Model ‘T’,” according to a report in the National. While Ford was heralding the arrival of Arab immigrants to this country to work in his factory, he was also widely spreading his virulent anti-Semitic blood libel.

However, the mayor of Dearborn today, John B. O’Reilly, Jr. (pictured above), wants to sugarcoat the unpleasant part of Ford’s biography dealing with his many anti-Semitic writings and pronouncements. Mayor O’Reilly decided to ban the distribution of a city-financed historical journal containing an unflattering article about Henry Ford’s record of anti-Semitism that the mayor deemed to be too much of a "distraction" for Dearborn’s “diverse” population. He also severed the city’s ties with the editor of the publication and long-time Dearborn resident, Bill McGraw, who had written the article to educate Dearborn residents today regarding their hometown hero Ford’s “dark sides.”

Mr. McGraw’s article ran afoul of the mayor’s politically correct speech code. “It was thought that by presenting information from 100 years ago that included hateful messages — without a compelling reason directly linked to events in Dearborn today — this edition of The Historian could become a distraction from our continuing messages of inclusion and respect,” Mayor O’Reilly said in a statement issued last Friday. Although Mr. McGraw’s article can still be read online, Mayor O’Reilly’s moves to block the distribution of Mr. McGraw’s article and to sever the city’s ties with him were punitive acts that most likely violated the First Amendment.

The mayor claimed that Ford’s anti-Semitic views were old news, no longer relevant to today’s "diverse" Dearborn population. The exact opposite is true. Ford’s writings are just as popular with some white nationalist extremists today as when they inspired Adolf Hitler. Ford’s writings also appeal to Jew-hating Islamists. His hate speech against the Jews’ aspirations for a state of their own in the Holy Land has a sympathetic audience amongst Dearborn’s current Arab-American and Muslim population.

“The Zionist propaganda has always been accepted on the assumption that Palestine is the Jews’ land and that they only need help to go back,” Ford wrote in his publication entitled The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem. “It is an historical and political fact that Palestine has not been the Jews’ land for more than 2,000 years.” As for Jews emigrating to the Holy Land to escape religious persecution, Ford decried what he described as the “propaganda of pogroms” disseminated by Zionists.

Some of those protesting against Israel in Dearborn today have lauded the terrorist organization Hezbollah. They believe, like Ford, that Jews have no legitimate historical claim to the land of Israel. They have regularly chanted, in celebration of a massacre of Jews in the days of Prophet Mohammed, “Oh, Jews, remember Khaibar. The army of the Prophet will return.” 

Mayor O’Reilly channeled Ford’s pro-Arab anti-Zionism when he joined a protest rally in December 2017 consisting mainly of Dearborn’s Muslim community. They had gathered to denounce President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The mayor declared that he stood with the Palestinian community and shared their goals. A child was photographed at the rally holding a sign stating succinctly what the Palestinians stand for: “Ending Zionism Ends Racism!!!”

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan, and Imam Elahi, spiritual leader at the Islamic House of Wisdom, were amongst the anti-Israel speakers at the rally attended by Mayor O’Reilly.

“We’ve seen the same protests in European enclaves from throwback, bigoted anti-Israel racists, especially in areas with large Muslim populations,” former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann told WND. “Politicians in Dearborn and Europe who represent these anti-Semites continually cater to and appease the racist, bigoted views of their newest, often foreign-born voters,” she added.

Imad Hamad, American Human Rights Council’s executive director, said in a release issued to announce the rally that “one can be a part of the problem or a part of the solution. President Trump’s provocation on Jerusalem has made many countries in the world, regrettably, perceive the U.S. as a big part of the problem.” Hamad himself is the real provocateur who has used the Jerusalem issue as a pretext to delegitimize Israel’s very existence. He displayed his true beliefs last June when he joined other Arab American and Muslim community leaders in a news conference to denounce Israel. They expressed their support for Palestinians demanding return to their villages in Israel “from which they were uprooted by Israeli terror in 1948.” Such a mass "return" of millions of so-called Palestinian refugees, most of whom were born years after 1948, would mark the end of the Jewish state of Israel. 

Yet in the face of such incendiary anti-Israel rhetoric Mayor O’Reilly still believes that Hamad and his organization play a constructive, problem-solving role. Last October, months after the news conference, the mayor praised Hamad for looking at issues from a perspective of bringing people together and achieving consensus. Once again, the mayor decided to appease today's anti-Semites.

Mayor O’Reilly has been making excuses for Islamists for years.  As far back as 2007, he delayed a public announcement of the arrest of a Muslim medical student and Dearborn resident, Houssein Zorkot, who was found in a public park dressed in fatigues and armed with a fully loaded AK-47. The mayor was worried, in his words, that “this would have turned into a story about terrorism. That's not the kind of tone we want to set." What kind of tone did this mayor want to set? Did he think that an armed individual sympathetic to Hezbollah, who had uploaded to his website on the day of his arrest an image that included a photo of a soldier holding a rifle, with the caption “The Start of My Personal Jihad (in the US),” was just engaging in some harmless fun?

In 2010, Mayor O’Reilly justified the arrest of three Christians while they were answering questions from children and others attending the Arab International Festival in Dearborn. He had decried what he viewed as the Christians’ “attack on the City of Dearborn for having tolerance for all religions including believers in the Koran.” In the spirit of Sharia law, the mayor thought the sensibilities of the “believers in the Koran” outweighed the Christians’ First Amendment rights to express their own religious beliefs in public. He had to eat crow after the Christians were acquitted.

It is time for Mayor O’Reilly to eat some crow again. He should either reverse his decision regarding Bill McGraw’s article on Henry Ford’s anti-Semitism and reinstate Mr. McGraw, as officials with the Dearborn Historical Commission have urged, or he should resign his office. Henry Ford’s brand of anti-Semitism has no expiration date. To deliberately whitewash Ford's anti-Semitic history is to say that exposing anti-Semitism no longer matters.  But it does matter more than ever, including most especially in Dearborn.

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Photo Credit: Flickr.

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