Political campaign slogans, especially in the modern day, tend to be completely meaningless, focus grouped jumbles of words, designed not to offend the voters and to enlighten them even less. "Hope and Change," for instance, or "Forwards," or even "Country first."
But "Stop the Islamization of America?" That might not play well with some people. Still, it's one of the campaign promises which Texas Tea Party candidate Itamar Gelbman is apparently running on, in a decision that is inspiring the ire of some voters (and some national organizations), but earning the admiration of others.
Gelbman, who is running against Rep. Joe Bartin in Texas' 6th District, doesn't have exactly the biography you'd expect from any candidate, Tea Party or otherwise. He says he's an "Army Lieutenant" running for Congress. What he doesn't mention is that the army he's talking about isn't the United States Army - it's the Israeli Army. That's right, while Gelbman is an American citizen - he was born in New York, and has made a point of showing his birth certificate - he was raised in Israel, and served in the Israeli Defense Force, eventually attaining the rank of Lieutenant in Israel's Special Forces. According to his campaign bio, he moved back to the United States to work in Security Consulting, and is now running for Congress.
Which brings us to the slogan mentioned above - "Stop the Islamization of America." According to a report from WFAA Dallas, the slogan appeared in one of Gelbman's flyers, which was sent to every voter in Texas' 6th District, asking for their vote.
WFAA's video report can be watched below, followed by some excerpts on the reaction:
"I would like to ask him how he plans to stop the 'Islamization of America?'" asked Jamal Qaddura. "Where is the 'Islamization of America?'"
Qaddura received one of Gelbman's campaign cards because he votes Republican in the 6th District. In fact, Qaddura is a precinct chair in the Tarrant County GOP and a frequent spokesman for the Islamic community.
He's more than a little offended by the Gelbman campaign.
"I simply picked up the phone and called that number," he said, referring to the number on Gelbman's mailer. Qaddura said he didn't hear back from Gelbman.
Qaddura isn't alone. Though Gelbman claims he's gotten a "100 percent positive" response to the flyer, it's made him some high profile enemies. The WFAA report was reposted today on the Youtube Channel belonging the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Given CAIR's previous record for defending even Muslims who arguably shouldn't be defended, you could almost call this the equivalent of a political contract on Gelbman's head.
And as if that weren't enough, there's a further hiccup in Gelbman's case - he doesn't even live in the 6th District of Texas yet. And though he says he plans to move there, what WFAA calls his "thousands of Muslim neighbors" will surely make it difficult for him to get elected. Something tells us this candidate is in for a much rougher campaign than most long shot primary challengers.