Tag Archives: Censorship

Newspaper targeted, Foxman says Zionism is racism

The editors and publishers of The Berkeley Daily Planet, Berkeley, California’s daily paper,  took the unusual step of writing their first joint statement to address pressure on advertisers. They write about a lot of issues- it being Berkeley and all- but…

The most controversial topic is by far the Israel-Palestine conflict. The vast majority of our submissions on the topic include some criticism of Israel. This leads some, like Mr. Sinkinson—who has been pressuring our advertisers to withdraw their support—to accuse the paper of anti-Semitism. This is an all-too-common technique by Israel’s more conservative partisans to stifle debate on the topic and to marginalize those who express even the mildest criticism of Israel.

Here’s the interesting thing, in a city purported to have one of the highest Jewish populations per capita on the West Coast, or maybe anywhere in the US:

The fact is that we receive almost no submissions that make a positive, proactive case for Israel. The only letters we receive from Israel supporters are in reaction to critics—letters that accuse those critics of bias and anti-Semitism. And we have printed many of these accusations over the years.

Meanwhile, intrepid reporter and analyst Phil Weiss sat through a lengthy panel on “Why Zionism has Become a Dirty Word” to bring us all this priceless quote from the Anti-Defemation League’s spokesmodel-from-another-era Abe Foxman:

“Can you be anti-Zionist and not be an anti-Semite? Almost never. Unless you can prove to me you’re against nationalism. If you’re one of those unique individuals in this world that’s opposed to American nationalism, French nationalism, Palestinian nationalism, then you can be opposed to Jewish nationalism. Is it racist? You bet it is. Every nationalism is racist. It sets its laws of citizenship, it sets its own capital… It sets its songs, it sets its values. It is, if you will, exclusive, and you can even call it racist. But if the only nationalism in the world that is racist is Jewish nationalism, then you’re an anti-Semite.. I don’t want to make any apologies for it. ”

Wow Abe. If this is how you defend Zionism….

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Israeli human rights advocate Halper too hot to handle for Jewish paper

Antony Loewenstein gets to the heart of the matter- the Sydney-based Jewish newspaper, Australian Jewish News (AJN), just refused to run an ad promoting a talk by Israeli Committee Against House Demolition’s Jeff Halper, but happily runs ads supporting extremist settlers, because nobody complains:

I contacted the AJN’s National Editor, Ashley Browne, to shed more light on the decision to block the ad. He said that the paper was not obliged to run the ads and refused ads all the time.

When pushed, he acknowledged that he supported the publisher, Polaris Media’s Robert Magid – who recently claimed in the paper that the late English playwright Harold Pinter was a “political extremist” for daring to criticise Israel – to cut ads that would “offend significant members of the community, especially subscribers”. I asked him how an ad that simply listed a handful of events would be “offensive”, but he gave no further information.

Magid told the Herald that he rejected the ad because he didn’t “like the crowd who are bringing him out.” He went on: “I am familiar with them. They use their Judaism to bash other Jews and issues associated with the Jewish community.”

I queried Browne why the paper seemed happy to run irregular ads from the fundamentalist, West Bank settler movement. “Nobody has ever complained about those ads,” he replied. Clearly the message of the colonial project in the West Bank – a recent EU report found yet more evidence of illegal development around East Jerusalem – is less “offensive” than a mild-mannered Jewish peace activist.

Last year, as we reported, Sacramento, California’s Jewish newspaper similarly refused to run a calendar item about Dr. Alice Rothchild’s book tour. The backlash forced them to print an explanation on page one of the next edition.

The moral fiber of any community is built by addressing, head-on, the challenging questions raised by these human rights leaders– it is not built be refusing to even entertain the questions.

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International law expert Richard Falk denied entry into Israel

Richard Falk explains his view on BBC\'s Hard Talk

Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton, may be able to make Aliyah in Israel should he choose to exercise his right to return as a Jew, but he can’t actually enter the country in his role as the UN’s special human rights rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories. BBC says this about the deportation of one of the world’s most respected experts in his field:

Mr Falk was stopped at Tel Aviv airport on Sunday and sent back to the United States on Monday morning.

An official accused him of following a distorted, anti-Israeli mandate.

“[He] does not try to advance human rights, but instead comes with his conclusions ready and those conclusions are of course extreme, methodic criticism of Israel and only of Israel,” said foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.

A spokeswoman for the interior ministry spokeswoman said the former Princeton University international law professor had been told he would be turned back if he flew to Israel.

Falk’s essay Slouching Toward a Palestinian Holocaust, has raised the ire of many who accuse him of comparing the Israelis to Nazis. Falk explained in an interview in The Nation earlier this summer:

The references to the Holocaust and to the Nazi policies were not meant to be literal comparisons but were intended to show that the policies being pursued, in Gaza in particular, had holocaustal implications if they were not changed. And the mind-set of holding an entire people responsible for opposition and resistance embodies a kind of collective punishment psychology that was very characteristic of the way the Nazis justified what they did to the Jewish people. But my intention was based on the feeling that you have to shout to be heard, and perhaps that was not the best way to make the argument. I would be quite prepared to abandon that terminology but not prepared to alter my concern about the character of the policies being pursued.

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