WASHINGTON – Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena) and CAPAC Chair Emeritus Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) on Wednesday condemned a recent panel discussion on Fox News’ “Cashin’ In.”
During the discussion, regular contributor Jonathan Hoenig cited the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II as a positive example to be emulated in the treatment of Muslim Americans in response to possible attacks by ISIS.
“These remarks are incredibly offensive and beyond the pale of American policy discussions,” said Chu. “It is unacceptable that Fox News would give a regular platform to a guest who espouses a historic act so distasteful that it is one of only a handful for which Congress has officially apologized.
“The Japanese American internment was a shameful act, rooted in hysteria and racism. It was a blatant and tragic violation of civil rights, based on the accusation that there were spies amongst the Japanese Americans living in the United States, an accusation that was later proven untrue. The lesson of the Japanese American internment is a cautionary one, not one we should repeat.
“When the civil liberties of any group are violated, we all suffer. Profiling institutionalizes a culture of not only fear and mistrust, but also of hate. How can citizens trust or cooperate with law enforcement if they are viewed as the enemy? How can we expect citizens to respect other races, religions, and cultures, if our own government does not? This hypocrisy and injustice simply cannot stand.
“CAPAC has been working with the Department of Justice to prevent the kind of post-9/11 profiling against the Muslim, South Asian, and Sikh communities discussed in this segment. Fox News should not be giving such dangerous voices a national audience.”
“As a Japanese American who was incarcerated as a child, I am outraged by Jonathan Hoenig’s idiotic and insensitive statements on Fox News that Muslim Americans should be racially profiled, and that the illegal incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II was justified,” said Honda. “It is inexcusable that, after our government formally apologized and paid reparations to the 20,000 people who were unjustly incarcerated behind barbed wire because of hate, prejudice, and war time hysteria, there are still those who have not learned from our country’s past mistakes.
“After the attacks on 9/11, I was proud to speak out against the profiling and incarceration of Muslim Americans. I co-sponsored a House resolution prohibiting bigotry and violence against Sikh Americans that was included in the USA Patriot Act. Education is the key to combating stereotypes and discrimination. That’s why I have consistently fought for funding for the historic preservation of the Japanese American confinement sites.
“These sites provide a platform for education and dialogue across generations. I encourage Mr. Hoening to visit one of them to learn the lessons of history that he clearly does not know. Until Mr. Hoenig and Fox News offer a full and unequivocal apology to the Japanese American and Muslim American communities, he should not be allowed to appear on their network.”
During a Sept. 20 broadcast, Hoenig stated: “We should have been profiling on Sept. 12, 2001. Let’s take a trip down memory lane here: The last war this country won, we put Japanese Americans in internment camps, we dropped nuclear bombs on residential city centers. So, yes, profiling would be at least a good start.
“It’s not on skin color, however, it’s on ideology: Muslim, Islamists, jihadist. That’s a good start but it’s only a start. We need to stop giving Korans to Gitmo prisoners, we need to stop having Ramadan and Iftar celebrations in the White House. We need to stop saying the enemy is not Islamic. They are.”
OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership-driven organization of community advocates dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans, expressed outrage at the remarks.
“The overwhelming consensus among the panelists to profile Muslim Americans and the comment made by Jonathan Hoenig affirming the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II is disgusting, xenophobic, and racist,” said Sharon M. Wong, OCA national president. “Protecting our national security should never come at the cost of an entire community’s civil rights.
“The internment of Japanese Americans did not increase the United States’ chance of success during World War II. And the continued profiling, harassment, and hate against the Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian American communities will not secure the United States’ borders or help us win the war on terror. The only thing profiling will accomplish is the continued persecution of immigrant communities.”
Since 9/11, anti-Islamic and anti-Asian Pacific Islander hate crimes have increased and continue to remain higher than pre-9/11. South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) recently released a report highlighting xenophobic rhetoric and hate crimes against South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities in the U.S. The report indicates that over 80 percent of all hate violence against these communities was driven by anti-Muslim sentiment.
“Our communities demand an apology from Fox News for the comments made. When they speak about profiling based on ideology, they are speaking about profiling based language, country of origin, religion, and ultimately skin color,” said Ken Lee, OCA national acting CEO. “Irrational fears of internal sabotage and threats based on ideological indicators led to the incarceration of over 100,000 Japanese Americans during World War II; and those same indicators are what have increased hate crimes and profiling of Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian Americans since Sept. 11.
“Ultimately, those indicators come down to little more than an individual’s skin color and are merely a cover to deny civil liberties to communities because of their perceived race, ethnicity, or religion, not ideology.”