Sunday, August 9, 2009

In What Sense Is John Choe Morally Distinguishable from a Neo-Nazi?

"In What Sense Is John Choe Morally Distinguishable from a Neo-Nazi?"
By Joshua Stanton
Excerpted From: One Free Korea, August 7th, 2009

John Choe, personifying the appellation “useful idiot” as pictured here, won’t shift U.S. foreign policy if he’s elected to represent a district in Queens in the New York City Council. Technically, Choe is correct when he evades questions about his sympathies with North Korea’s regime and demurs,

“I’m not running for secretary of state—I’m running to represent the 20th district in the City Council,” Choe said.

That is true in the same sense that David Duke ran for governor of Louisiana, not Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. When Duke ran, he accused his opponents of unfairly raising his previous leadership of Ku Klu Klan and Neo-Nazi organizations, which he claimed were a part of his past (though Duke continued to operate an organization called the National Association for the Advancement of White People).

I make this comparison because John Choe, who has the endorsement of the Queens Democratic Party, is the co-founder of a group called Nodutdol, which, in rhetoric indistinguishable from North Korea’s, says:

The danger of war is real - during both the Clinton and Bush administrations, U.S. pre-emptive strikes were threatened over the issue of North Korea’s potentially having nuclear weapons. Currently, the U.S. has been reconfiguring its presence in South Korea, increasing the size and capabilities of bases like Camp Humphreys in Pyongtaek, south of Seoul, while the U.S., South Korea, and Japan have stepped up joint military exercises to “maintain regional stability”. The most recent just ended this March, as 26,000 U.S. forces joined the R.O.K. forces in an enormous war game, “Key Resolve/ Foal Eagle”, exercises aimed at North Korea, who condemned the actions as provocative. Then, North Korea launched a satellite in early April, which the U.S., South Korea and Japan denounced as provocative. [Nodutdol]

Choe has not repudiated Nodutdol, and Nodutdol has not repudiated Choe, whom it describes as a “former member.” Since at least 2003, when Choe was still associated with Nodutdol, Nodutdol has sponsored political pilgrimages to North Korea:

The mission of DEEP is to bring activists and socially concerned Korean Americans to the northern part of our homeland, in the only such program in this country. Because of the biased and negative portrayal of north Korea by the US government and mainstream media, most of us [even Koreans who are already committed to social justice], are poorly informed about the DPRK. This program helps to demystify the DPRK, and build person to person understanding. To organize in this collective, socialist society. Each year, DEEP organizes a fundraising drive to support the people of north Korea and uses the proceeds to bring medical supplies, books, and other materials to the DPRK. [Nodutdol]

To read the rest of this article, click here.

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