Ryan Masse, the Herald's Editorial Board Chair, recently published a piece with the amusing title "Barrett Mistaken, Delusional" (Oct. 12). Mistaken and delusional! If I were just delusional, I could live with that. At least my delusions might be correct. But if even my delusions are mistaken, I'm in deep trouble.
According to Masse, my opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are "at best delusional with no hint of reality and at worst anti-Semitic with enough vitriol to make Mel Gibson blush."
Do Masse's own delusions have even a hint of reality? Consider his own words: "Throughout its history, Israel has taken extreme caution to minimize civilian casualties in combat … " That would be news to the 750,000 ethnic-cleansing victims of 1948. Even pro-Zionist historians like Benny Morris, who strongly defends the horrific ethnic cleansing of 1948 by saying, "There are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing," now admit that the Palestinian accounts of 1948 are correct: Whole villages were bayoneted, to the last woman and child, to terrify most of the Palestinian population into fleeing its homeland. That makes the story that Israel and the U.S. media told the world for 50 years — that the Palestinians left voluntarily — a Goebbels-style big lie.
Since 1948, has Israel "taken extreme caution to minimize civilian casualties in combat … "? Tell that to the survivors of the USS Liberty, an unarmed American surveillance ship that was subjected to unprovoked attack by Israeli warplanes and gunboats over a period of many hours on June 8, 1967. The Israelis repeatedly attacked the Liberty with rockets, napalm, canon, machine guns and torpedoes, returning to strafe the lifeboats in an apparent attempt to slaughter every last survivor of the initial attack.
An excellent account of the USS Liberty incident may be found in James Bamford's "Body of Secrets" (or just google "USS Liberty"). Bamford and his National Security Agency sources conclude that the Israelis decided to try to murder every last sailor on this unarmed American spy ship because they were afraid the Liberty would discover evidence of ongoing Israeli massacres of thousands of Egyptian prisoners of war. Others believe that the Israelis intended to sink the ship, slaughter all survivors, blame the attack on Egypt and draw the United States into the war on their side — a classic "false flag" attack.
Israel's treatment of unarmed American sailors on the USS Liberty, however, was positively humane compared to their ongoing treatment of the Palestinians. A 2004 field study by the British Medical Journal reported: "Two thirds of the 621 children (two thirds under 15 years) killed at checkpoints, in the street, on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half of cases to the head, neck and chest — the sniper's wound. Clearly, soldiers are routinely authorized to shoot to kill children in situations of minimal or no threat … "
Listen to what former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges has to say about the systematic sniper murder of Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers:
"Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight young men, six of whom were under the age of eighteen. One was twelve. This afternoon they kill an eleven-year-old boy, Ali Murad, and seriously wound four more, three of whom are under eighteen. Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered … but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport." (Chris Hedges, "A Gaza Diary" Harpers Magazine, October 2001).
" … Entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport." That's Chris Hedges, former New York Times reporter, describing what he personally witnessed in Occupied Palestine. "Throughout its history, Israel has taken extreme caution to minimize civilian casualties in combat … " That's Ryan Masse of The Badger Herald. Somebody here is mistaken or delusional … and I think it's Ryan Masse.
Masse's comments are especially offensive given that he wrote them just a few months after the Israeli rape of Lebanon, which is viewed as a war crime of the first magnitude by virtually the entire world community: "Israel's defence forces were yesterday condemned for systematically and deliberately targeting civilians in Lebanon, acts which the respected New York organization Human Rights Watch described as ‘serious violations of international law' or war crimes." (London Independent, August 4th, 2006)
Ironically, for telling the truth about 9/11 and Palestine while defending Jews against attacks by actual anti-Semites, I am being attacked by two groups of extremists. Pro-Zionists (a tiny, extremist faction of the world community) lie and claim that I'm anti-Semitic, while the actual anti-Semites call me a Mossad agent and a professional apologist for the Jews. Radio host Daryl Bradford Smith has called for my arrest on the grounds that I am a Mossad agent, while author and cybercolumnist John Kaminski claims I'm covering up for the Jews.
So listen up, Ryan: If you want to hear what real anti-Semitism sounds like — and what a Muslim sounds like who's willing to stand up against anti-Jewish bigotry — listen to my recent radio interview of John Kaminski — a guest I did not select, and who made my first effort as a radio host a real trial by fire! The radio show is archived at http://mp3.rbnlive.com/Fetzer06.html; click on the Saturday, Oct. 14 show. Listening to this show may help clear up your mistaken delusion that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism … thereby allowing you, in all probability, to merely replace a "mistaken delusion" with other, marginally-more-accurate delusions.
Kevin Barrett (email@example.com) is a lecturer in the department of languages and cultures of Asia.