Pressure Campaign on Wash. Post for Daring to Humanize Palestinians Is Itself Newsworthy

on 8 Comments

The other day LA Times Op-Ed editor Nick Goldberg said that he gets many more letters of complaint from readers supporting Israel than from any other group. Sometimes it’s an "assault." I know whereof he speaks. When I attended a CAMERA event last October, after several hours of stern lectures on the media, the group broke up into a letter-writing seminar, to show the army of followers how to write letters to publications. The director of CAMERA said that letters work, and that CAMERA members should target Haaretz.  "Write, phone, challenge, speak out… Haaretz is now affecting all of us"–in greater Israel, presumably, which includes the U.S.

Lately, CAMERA and its friends are focusing on the Washington Post, for humanizing suicide bombers and their families. There is this objectionable report:

"A young man, he can’t work; there’s a siege all over Gaza; the borders
blocked and people dying everywhere’ in Israeli airstrikes. ‘We don’t
know what he is thinking in this moment,’ the father said.

CAMERA thanks the assiduous Leo Rennert, a former McClatchy newspaper reporter turned watchdog, who has said that the Post and its Jerusalem correspondent are "dedicated to Israel-bashing as their highest journalistic priority."

Rennert is presumably speaking of Jerusalem bureau chief Scott Wilson. Wilson’s latest crime was to say that Israel had helped reduce Gaza to "beggar status." According to Washington Jewish Week (sorry can’t get the link), a new group called Eye on the Post, has formed to "educate" the Post’s advertisers about the newspaper’s portrayal of Israel as "belligerent, mean-spirited and racist" country. There are hints of a boycott. And here’s a website that shows readers how to write the Post about the noble Scott Wilson.

Whether or not you think these statements are right or wrong or crazy or effective, they are undoubtedly newsworthy. They are part of a concerted pressure campaign that is highly unusual in the world of journalism. They are part of the frontline in the war of ideas. My challenge is to journalists: This campaign should be covered. Yes, even to do so would be to say, There is an Israel lobby, but admit it, haven’t Walt and Mearsheimer given you some breathing room? Readers have a right to know about the pressures that journalists who cover the Middle East are subject to.

P.S. I gather Wilson has lately become the paper’s Foreign Editor. Maybe he will do the story!

8 Responses

  1. Ed.
    February 6, 2008, 4:33 pm

    These Jewish Zionist networks across the country, organizationally, remind me of Communist cells. And they are just as subversive. They really represent an attempt to overthrow the US government and turn it into a proxy for Israel, and they have largely succeeded.

    Does anybody really believe anymore that the Bush administration would have succeeded in getting us into Iraq without this network of Zionist cells across the country doing the day to day work of building support for invasion and occupation, from both their positions of influence and from their kitchen tables?

    Yeah, I know, "polls show Jews don't support the Iraq war." Sure. I bet a good portion of those who claim not to support the war were part of the Jewish Zionist "army of followers" writing pre-war letters to publications demanding the invasion out of “humanitarian” principles. Polls also no doubt show that the majority of American Jews don't support apartheid or Jim Crow laws, yet they overwhelmingly support the state that imposes them.

    Sure, they've got their reasons; subversive ideological movements always do.

  2. Jacob Wolf
    February 6, 2008, 6:16 pm

    Why are you so shocked? This is the exact same method employed by Palestinian advocacy groups, even the most militant and hateful.

  3. CJ Harwood
    February 6, 2008, 9:17 pm

    Last March (2007), there was a boycott campaign, threatened, by some Los Angeles Jews (Join the Boycott), against a posh grocery store chain (Gelson's), to punish them, to correct their behavior, because Gelson's provided free food, to the people doing a fund-raising campaign for KPFK, the flagship of Pacifica Radio, who invented public radio in America. KPFK says, they spend $250,000 a month to operate.

    KPFA in Berkeley (also Pacifica) says they are the first public radio station in the USA, and that makes KPFK in Los Angeles (target of the boycott) the second, with the most powerful radio transmitter on Mount Wilson (112,000 watts FM), reaching 5,000 square miles.

    Their sin? link to

    "KPFK broadcasts a steady stream of anti-Israel propaganda with subjects such as: [Israeli] "Massacres in Palestine and Lebanon" [Israel's] "Military, Economic & Demographic Wars against Palestinians" "AIPAC's Influence on US Foreign Policy" (citing the Mearsheimer and Walt article)
    etc., and presents Norman Finkelstein and Dr. Ilan Pappe, noted anti-Israel antagonists, as authorities on Israel. The very use of the name "Intifada" indicates KPFK's support for PLO terrorism against Israeli civilians – suicide bombings, Kassam rocket attacks, gunning down families in cold blood, etc."

    I'm no expert, but I thought the whole point of an indifada is that it's non-violent, a popular uprising, a civil society protest, against Israel's occupation, of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

    Be that as it may, the grocery chain promptly abused itself, with a groveling apology, stated its support for Israel, right or wrong, and promised to not support KPFK in the future (so it seems). The boycott-threatening Jews, they chortled: link to

    This is what I want to know:

    Is this a handful of extremists? Doing what their like have done elsewhere? Pretending to represent "the Jews"? Or is this a substantial organization who actually do represent "the Jews."

    What we need is a showdown, a public showdown. And let's find out, if they represent "the Jews," or not. Are there any Jews in Los Angeles who would face-down these Jews? Take to the streets, in front of Gelson's grocery stores, with their signs, backing KPFK, thanking Gelson's, for doing the same, and condemning the boycott-threatening Jews, for their abusive attack, on legitimate free speech.

    The recent interview, Philip has mentioned, of LA Times Op/Ed page editor Nicholas Goldberg, that interview appeared in "the largest Jewish weekly outside New York City," with 150,000 readers (maybe 30,000 sales, I suppose, if a 5-to-1 readership), The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. But there are 600,000 Jews, in Los Angeles, they say: link to

    I say, let's have a showdown, the next time the anti-free-speech Jews be so bold, as to threaten another such abusive campaign.

    We saw such a showdown. It was inspiring. On KCAL-TV, and KTLA-TV, at Jimmy Carter's book signing event, at Vroman's Bookstore, in Pasadena ("the oldest and largest independent bookstore in Southern California"), JAJP (Jewish Alliance for Peace and Justice) counter-demonstrating against the JDL (Jewish Defense League) (December 12 2006): link to

    My guess is, few Jews in Los Angeles knew about the threatened boycott, of Gelson's, and few would support any boycott of KPFK.

    But will they stand up, in public, and say so.

    That's what I want to know. And if they don't, is it because I guess wrong? Or are their other explanations? Including social pressure, to let the Brown Shirts do their dirty work.

    And yes, I want this too: A link to the complete, thorough, definitive account, in glorious detail, of the boycott campaign, by New York City Jews, against the lying Jew Jeweler, not because he gives no money to Oxfam (though he claimed he did), but because he is said to give a lot of money for Israel settlements on their neighbor's land.

    That is an heroic, inspiring, public uprising, and I want to be sure there is a thorough record of it.

  4. CJ Harwood
    February 6, 2008, 9:55 pm

    Here's KPFK, their report on this event, that some of their big vendor supporters, but not Gelson's, publicly faced-down the boycott-threatening Jews, "a fringe group of individuals," KFK described them: link to

  5. David
    February 6, 2008, 10:41 pm

    Thanks for the links to the KPFK campaign, CJH.

    I notice that the hasbara site that Phil linked to has responded, calling him a "deficient Jew"–
    link to

    There's a lot of hatred out there.

  6. CJ Harwood
    February 7, 2008, 10:06 am

    "The lying Jew Jeweler"

    I regret using that phrase, because it's not part of my story, that "diamond mogul Lev Leviev" (as Philip described him), that he lied about Oxfam, claiming he gave money to Oxfam, trying to enhance his public standing, by pretending to be interested in the plight of the poor and the oppressed of the world, something besides robbing Palestinians of their land, and abusing them horribly, in the process.

    That's not part of my story, what I wrote about, and so referring to his lying, that's an inflammatory, gratuitous, stereotype, and I'm sorry I wrote it.

    But it would be a proper reference, I imagine, in a different story — as a link, a segue, a metaphor maybe — in a story about the settlements, "colonies" as Philip correctly describes them. A story about the reason, the actuating motive, for the historic boycott, by New York City Jews of the Madison Avenue jewelry store Leviev.

    That is a story about lying, endless lies, by Jews, in enormous numbers, a harmonious chorus. And these endless liars they don't just lie to everybody else, they lie to Israelis too (who are happy to be lied to), who themselves don't know some of the minor details, about the expansion of the settlements, about the outposts, about the secret money to pay for the settlements (not to buy land from the Palestinians, mind you, that's armed robbery, a violent war crime).

    And there, the big question, raised by that story is this: Are "all" Jews liars. Are they all willing participants in these violent war crimes (confiscation/destruction of land, transfer of 450,000 Israeli settlers into occupied territory).

    Obviously not. There are plenty of Jews, doing their very best, to tell the truth about the colonies, to oppose them.

    Not least, the bane of the KPFK-hating Jews in Los Angeles, "a fringe group of individuals," a handful of extremists, who blanche, yea retch, at the very mention of their names — the two straight-talking, relentless, giants, the Jews, Ilan Pappé and Norman Finkelstein.

    And there are many, many, others too, the host of this very blog among them, Philip Weiss, and the New York City Jews, the heroic boycotters, the protesters, against Lev Leviev, his jewelry store because, they say, he's a Daddy Warbucks, for the settlers, the buccaneers, the profiteers, the mafia, wallowing on their looted land.

    And so, plenty of straight-talking Jews, yes. But not many, as a percentage of the Jews, living in Israel and the U.S.

    And it's not only about Jews, this story about lying.

    Americans generally, they too are happy to be lied to, they too are now amply informed, yet they too continue to back Israel (its continuing occupation war crimes), and the criminal war on Iraq, supposedly waged to liberate the few survivors, those not numbering among the 1-million we killed in order to liberate them, the 4-million who fled for their lives (the backbone of the country), the maimed, the wounded, their friends, their relatives, the watching world, untold tens of millions of justified haters, of the USA.

    In the face of all that, what have Americans done, to apprehend and prosecute the violent criminals among them, responsible for this — and so deter more of the same, in the future — why do they continue to bankroll it.

    These are questions Usama bin Laden asks himself, questions the whole world asks.

    How can we get their attention, he asked himself.

  7. David
    February 7, 2008, 1:21 pm

    But I found Leviev's lie about his charity work the most interesting part of the story. It showed that he is sufficiently embarrassed by his crude tribalism to make him want to lie about it.

    The big question about Zionism, at least for me, has always been how much is an honest if tragic mistake — people mislead by their emotions — and how much is premeditated crime — people who recognize exactly the suffering they're causing but don't give a damn because it's not Jews doing the suffering.

    Leviev's lie tells us that he knows full well that particularism (as the theoreticians of tribalism like to call it) is not really just another equally valid alternative to universalism. But he doesn't give a damn.

    "Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue."

  8. CJ Harwood
    February 8, 2008, 2:47 am

    Well, we don't know if he's "embarrassed by his crude tribalism," or not. He could simply recognize, that many people he wants to sell diamonds to, they don't all belong to his tribe, and some of them might give a damn, about the suffering of the Palestinians, or anyway might want others to think they do. He could believe his tribal views are very valid, while recognizing that others might not agree. Isn't that the essence of Zionism? The conviction, "You're either with us or against us?"

    On the question of emotions versus crime, I imagine Ilan Pappé would likely say, what needs doing is bringing all this to an end, and urgently, as the Palestinians are headed for oblivion, if left to the merciless Israelis.

    It's a fact of life, what people have done, Israel is a living, breathing, organism — not the state, but the people living there — and you can't wish them away.

    You can wish the state away, though, and that's what he advocates, a single state of Palestine. The racist essence of Israel, he says, an ethonoracy, is not compatible with human rights, equal rights under the law.

    Theoretically, it could be, but humans are not trustworthy, they will oppress. If Israel expelled its 450,000 settlers back into Israel, gave up the occupation, and cooperated in the recreation of Palestinian life, on the little bit of land left to them–

    Then may be. But they're not going to do it.

    Our choice is, we make them do it (stop all aid, back U.N. sanctions), or else back a single state solution, if that's what they prefer, if the Palestinians agree, and if they proceed to do it, and not pretense to do it.

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