On reading the August 13, 2009 edition of the Berkeley Daily Planet, we were sorely tempted to give it our much-coveted Hate Free Award, that is, until we received a complaint from one of our readers. Now we don’t know what to do.
Here is the problem. In the August 6 edition featured a letter by Hassan Fouda quoting Israeli extremists who made clearly racist remarks about Arabs. No one can deny that there are Israeli extremists. Gratefully, they represent a very small proportion of Israeli society.
Faith Meltzer responded with the following letter:
I must take exception to Hassan Fouda's "Propaganda from Kensington" in the August 6th issue of the Daily Planet. It has always perplexed me that Israel is judged only by its worse representatives and that any obscure quote from an obscure figure from history, politics or popular culture can be turned into "evidence" of Israel's inherent immortality. The essence of prejudice is the moving from the specific to the general- and that is precisely what Mr. Fouda does, when he quotes extremists that have been widely condemned and rejected by Israeli society.
Should we be as quick to judge the people of Gaza, who have elected a government whose very charter includes this incitement to genocide? "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."? Should we be as quick to judge the people of Gaza who have elected a government that categorically rejects peace "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."?
I urge people of conscience and Mr. Fouda to look beyond the extremists on both sides, to reject those that reject compromise, and to embrace the true peacemakers on both sides of this conflict. This is the path of justice and of lasting peace.
The problem is that high-minded free speech advocate, Becky O’Malley, deleted the words in bold print, and did so without the permission of the author. O’Malley was perfectly willing to print hate speech uttered by extremist Jews the week before, even though such people are on the extreme fringe of Israeli society and have the whole body of Israeli law stacked against them, but she deletes hate speech by Palestinians, even though that hate speech forms part of the very charter of the main Palestinian political party, Hamas, and is proudly displayed on Hamas’ own website. Moreover, this is the only known example of O’Malley editing a letter. What could have possessed her? We can only believe her hatred of Israel has trumped her alleged love of free speech. It is never a level playing field at the Berkeley Daily Planet.
A very strange incident indeed.