6.8.06

Corzine needs an education

NJ Governor Jon Corzine, a Democrat, told the Star Ledger:
"All of our hearts go out to all of the innocent, wherever they are (and) whether they're Christian, whether they're Arabs or whether they're Jews."
It was bad enough that Corzine's budget raised the sales tax by 17%, and with all that extra revenue he still had to cut funding for higher education. Because an ignorant comment like this one suggests that he needs a bit more education himself.

Let me explain. There is a difference between ethnicity and religion. If Corzine was talking about religion, which it seems he was since he mentioned Jews and Christians, then he should have used the term "Muslims". Those would be the 3 main religions practiced by those inhabiting the tumultuous region. Instead, he juxtaposed the word "Arabs".

"Arab" is an ethnic designation. My origin in Arab, although my religion is Christianity. There are also Jews of Arab ethnicity.

Most, but not all, Arabs are Muslim. However, some, but not most, Muslims are Arab.

Corzine should be able to recite that in his sleep. Frankly, I find it disturbing that someone could rise to the Governorship of an incredibly diverse, multi-ethnic and multi-religious state like New Jersey and still be so uninformed. Rest assured, Corzine's opponent from last year, Republican Doug Forrester, would not have made such a remark. But then again, when the Arab American community held a candidates forum last fall, Forrester showed up - Corzine didn't.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are right on the money regarding our esteemed Governor's lack of knowledge. Someone needs to tell him that one out of every five people in the world is Moslem and that does not mean that 20% of the world population is Arab. New Jersey of which J. Corzine is supposed to govern has one of the highest populations of Moslems in the USA and once again, not all of them are Arab. Mr. Corzine truly needs some education since Islamd is the fastest growing religion in the world and in America

Anonymous said...

George, don't you think you're nit-picking a bit?

Anonymous said...

Cmon George yes it may not have been the most educated of statements, be he is a state leader not a federal so he can get a pass.

Anonymous said...

umm, what about, say, an armenian born in aleppo, whose first language is, naturally, arabic: i know that he's christian (or rather, an armenian orthodox) and armenian, but would he qualify to you as arab too? it is the same case with jews since you have ethnicity and religion juxtaposed there too. i've asked lebanese christians whether they were arab and the responses tended to depend on their political views: some said yes, some said they were arabic-speaking lebanese or even phoenicians! maybe corzine is not the most knowledgeable about this issue but you have to admit that there isn't a straightforward correct answer... or is there?

TheLucidLibertarian said...

I think the people of New Jersey have far greater issues to worry about with Jon Corzine at the top than whether or not he grasps the ethnic/religious differences of the people involved in the Middle East chaos.

George Ajjan said...

To answer those who thought I was nitpicking or too tough on Corzine, I respectfully disagree.

We're not talking about a councilman from some irrelevant small town. We're talking about the Governor of the most densely populated and one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse states in the USA, who by the way, used to head the (arguably) most prominent Investment Banking firm in the world.

Corzine does not get a pass, he should know and be able to clearly articulate the difference between an Arab and a Muslim - it has nothing to do with foreign policy, it is being able to correctly identify his NJ constituents by their ethnic background or religion.

And I do believe that this issue is separate from minority ethnic identities in the Middle East, like Armenians for example. Those are more complicated - Corzine's slip is straightforward.

As for the LucidLibertarian, you are correct, there are a lot bigger issues than this which I will address in the future I am sure. This one struck me though because if a politician from any party is going to stump for any particular cause, he/she should at least get the terms right.

I welcome additional thoughts on this matter.

norman said...

The Armenian born in Syria is an Arab Syrian as is the Armenian christian born in the US an American ,everybody lives in the Arab world is an Arab.propably from diffrent backround .

Anonymous said...

George-
I'm not surprised. Corzine has no sense of ethnic issues, he managed to offend Italians and Jews in the 2000 Senate Primary. Frankly listening to him is almost as taxing as his economic policies.

Jayme Alfano said...

"a councilman from some irrelevent small town" come on George, you want to to talk about uneducated statements, that was one. I am sure the people of the small town of Little Falls don't find themselves irrelevant. And I can bet they don't want me thinking they are irrelevant either.

George Ajjan said...

Jayme,

I hear your point. Fair enough.

Let me clarify - had you, as a councilwoman from Little Falls, made the error of confusing Arabs and Muslims, and I wrote a post on my blog saying "Jayme Alfano needs an education", as I did with Corzine, then I would agree that I would be "nit-picking".

But Corzine, by virtue of the prominence of his role as the Governor of an extremely diverse state, not to mention 5 years as a US Senator who traveled to the Middle East numerous times on taxpayer dollars, and who has had continual briefings on issues affecting his Arab-American and Muslim constituents, should be expected to demonstrate a higher level of awareness than a small-town councilmember - it is simply a matter of exposure.

Nevertheless, your point is well taken, "all politics is local" as one of my recent posts suggested, so you are wise to remember never to take your constituents for granted or consider them "irrelevant".

The people of Little Falls would be fortunate to have your serve them for another term!