Sunday, May 10, 2009
Oregon DMV Rules James Marr's "NO ZOG" License Plate Anti-Semitic And Offensive, Recalls It After Medford History Teacher Rats Him Out
The Oregon Driver and Motor Services Division will recall a Springfield man's personalized license plate after Medford-area residents, who saw his pickup at a gathering of neo-Nazis in Phoenix, Oregon on April 26th, complained about the plate's anti-Semitic message. Specifically, a Medford history teacher who was an antifa counter-protestor at the rally was among those who decided the plate was anti-Semitic and contacted authorities.
The DMV didn't realize the "NO ZOG" message on the license plate was offensive until receiving complaints, according to division spokesman David House. The plate was issued to James Larry Marr in September 2008. Marr, reached by phone at his Springfield home, declined to comment about the license plate or his vehicle's presence April 26th in Phoenix.
The Anti-Defamation League's online database of extremist symbols, logos and tattoos lists ZOG as a racist acronym used by white supremacists and anti-government extremists to stand for "Zionist-occupied government" and express their belief that "the Jews occupy and control the government, as well as the media."
DMV spokesman House said the division gets a handful of complaints that it deals with monthly. Complaints are reviewed by the same DMV employee committee that reviews and approves personalized plate requests. Requests are denied if they may be viewed as objectionable. Language that is discriminatory, refers to alcohol or drugs, sexual or excretory functions, or illegal acts will be barred, say the rules listed on the application.
House said the complaints have decreased in the past five years since the division began a committee review of applications. Previously, only one person reviewed all requests and it was difficult to keep abreast of all the changing slang and slurs, he said. Marr's request had slipped through last year because no one recognized the reference. Since it was pointed out, the committee agreed it was objectionable.
A letter canceling the plate was sent to Marr on Wednesday May 6th. Marr has 30 days to get a new, valid plate. He can choose a new personalized plate at no additional expense, or get a standard plate and a prorated refund of his original custom plate fee. The new personalized plate would have to be approved by a committee.
This is not unusual for Oregon. In September 2007, the state of Oregon ordered a family to turn in the vanity license plates on its cars because their Dutch last name, which is written on the plates, is similar to an offensive word. The plates, UDINK1, UDINK2, and UDINK3 were on the vehicles of Mike and Shelly Udink and their son Kalei. Two of the plates are five and seven years old. One was issued in 2006. The DMV decided that UDINK was too close to "dink", a racial slur referring to Vietnamese, and further justifying the decision by saying that the state owns the plates. So if Oregon deems your name politically incorrect, they can steal it from you in the name of diversity. If I was the Udinks, I would have sued the DMV for defamation of character.
How much do you want to bet the teacher who complained about the plate was Jewish? Most commenters to the story are wondering why the state is spending their tax dollars on this. Most don't consider the term ZOG offensive, since it applies to an entity, and not to a group of people.