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Another California newspaper targeted by Israel lobby because of heretical statements

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I’m informed that before the Daily Planet in Berkeley came under boycott pressure for publishing articles critical of Israel, a story picked up in the NYT, the Coastal Post in Bolinas suffered. A free news monthly in Marin County, the Coastal Post regularly criticizes Israel. Almost as much as we do! But the paper’s been under incredible financial pressure. You’ll see that the pressure got to Whole Foods.

Here’s the Point Reyes Light’s coverage of the campaign:

After the May issue, newspaper thefts intensified. Craig Slater, the Coastal Post’s distributor, said issues were stolen from approximately 20 locations. At a food store in Fairfax alone, thousands of papers went missing.

In July 2008, Dr. Michael Franzblau, a West Marin resident, went before the city council in San Rafael and unsuccessfully lobbied to have the Coastal Post removed from City Hall. In his testimony, Franzblau called the newspaper’s editorial policy anti-Zionist and Anti-Semitic.

In the Coastal Post’s November 2008 issue, Dr. Edward W. Miller, a columnist who writes regularly on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, told of the newspaper’s woes. The Coastal Post had lost a third of its advertisers and 10 to 12 distribution locations as a result of individuals calling and writing advertisers to stop placing ads.

Whole Foods in Mill Valley pulled the May issue after customers complained. One of the company’s spokespersons said the location presently did not offer the Coastal Post.

The mounting advertising losses caused a financial crisis in late 2008. In a typical year, the paper’s expenses amounted to approximately $20,000. [Publisher Don] Deane estimated the paper had lost at least $14,000 in ad revenue.

“Losing the advertising really put us in the hole,” he said.

And why wasn’t this analysis in the Times piece on the Berkeley Daily Planet:

Both Deane and the Coastal Post have been labeled both anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic, raising questions about the difference between the terms and whether the paper and its publisher deserve either label….

“Anti-Semitism has absolutely nothing to do with criticism of Israel, even the most virulent criticism of Israel,” said Joel Beinin, the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History and Professor of Middle East History at Stanford University. “Anti-Semitism is disparaging the Jews as a people. It is a blanket condemnation.”

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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