by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
June 15, 2009
EQUAL TIME FOR HATE SPEECH?
BRADENTON, Fla., June 15, 2009 -- I've seen a lot of crazy stuff, and a lot of great stuff, on YouTube, but only one video has taken my breath away.
In "Feeling the Hate," a video shot in Jerusalem and but one in a series of very tough documentaries by a filmmaker named Max Blumenthal, young American adults in Israel call the newly-elected black President of the United States Barack Obama a "terrorist," a "fag-ot," a "ni--er," a "terrorist" and a "Muslim," and even deny he's an American, all without the slightest qualm or a moment's thought. In short, it was hate speech of the kind that we saw attacked from another angle all last week after the shooting of a black security guard in Washington.
Didn't I just leave something out? Wasn't it the shooting of a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington? Of course it was. But hasn't the hate speech in Blumenthal's video also been left out of the raging one-sided discussion of hate speech that followed the Washington, D.C., tragedy? It sure has.
I first became acquainted with the video when I saw a link on the Drudge Report to a copy of the video, running with another, more ordinary one, on j.post.com, the Website of The Jerusalem Post, probably Israeli's most distinguished abnd respected newspaper. When The American Reporter linked to it, we found that the video had been taken down on the j.post site, and also on the Drudge Report.
Days later, we learned Max Blumenthal had posted it to The Huffington Post, where is a regular contributor, and a Huffington Post editor had it taken it down "in hours." Where it could not be removed was from YouTube, but there it was only available after viewers acknowledge the nature of the material and attest to their age before they signed in to view it. One copy has been seen 473,000 times as of 6:30PM on June 15.
My problem, as I wrote in a long note to Frank Rich, the New York Times OpEd columnist and former drama critic known for his integrity and frank speech, is the hypocritical double standard and apparent suppression of free speech occurring as the story of the video continues to be supressed in news publications, including the Times, where only a reader's comment on a blog mentions it. It had not been mentioned on any of the prime-time network newscasts, CNN, Fox News or MSNBC, nor in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times or on the Associated Press or Reuters newsfeeds, I found, after searching "Feeling the Hate" video Max Blumenthal on each of those. Yet there are 34,000 related links in a Google search I did, .
What was absent from all these supposedly reliable sources was a long, loud apology from the government of Israel for its citizens' misbehavior (since the citizens themselves were unidentified and presumably hard to find), a free comparison between the hate speech of these young Israeli-Americans and the von Brunn white supremacist message, and an acknowledgement that this speech did not occur in some absolute vacuum where it represented the only time in history that yids have called schvartzes something other than "black."
As one who was raised and educated in good measure by American Jews, some of whom were Holocaust survivors, and Jewish writers and poets who inspired me on a daily basis, I am deeply sensitive to anti-Semitic language. And as someone whose best friend in elementary school as a child was a black kid named Dennis Gurrant, I am also profoundly sensitive to hate speech directed at black people. You can't imagine how angry and regretful I am that I have to use the N-word in a paragraph above - for the first time in the 15-year history of this newspaper - because even the best of the major media is unwilling to talk about and tell the hard truths of this video and these feelings.
In the ethnic, clannish culture of world Jewry, there is no way to listen to the hate speech spewed by these kids and not hear their parents speaking in exactly the same words. It is hard not to hear much of Israel talking the same way, despite the fact that there are very strong - and perhaps so strong that before long they will triumph - political communities in Israel that are ardent battlers for peace (although perhaps not so ardent as the West Bank settlers who battle to expand their settlements on religious grounds). Israel can only be deeply ashamed of what the young adults these it has raised have said with so much bravado, thoughtlessness and stupidity.
And the enemies of Israel can only be enormously encouraged. I have not the slightest doubt that the greatest audience for the video has come from Arabs in the Middle East who revel in the chance to view their enemies so openly as racists, homophobes and liars. For the authors of hate speech, that is a bonus that comes on top of the odium and contempt many black Americans will feel at the comments heard in the video - "He wasn't born in the United States," "He's a terrorist," "He's a Muslim" - all in the same familiar kvetching and kvelling voices of Jewish grandmothers throughout film and tv history. It is the sound of the commonplace becoming hatred's voice.
It is not an isolated sound any longer. It may not make it to the New York Times, or the New York Post, or the Washington Post or Boston Globe or Chicago Tribune, and it may not play in heavy rotation On CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, but with each failure by those media giants to acknowledge the words in this video, consensus grows in the false premise that this is because American media is controlled by Jews. if it is not, they say to themselves, privately and off camera, why don't they acknowledge it and move on?
It's important to remember one other thing when viewing this video. It doesn't come in the context of institutional racism, as von Brunn's actions do; while there are years and years of history associated with his hate speech, and a whole culture of support for it, that doesn't exist except in microscopic pockets in Israel (such as among the far right, whose Yigal Amir assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995), or in the Jewish community throughout the world. You might return to the same nightclub and find far different attitudes a week later.
I don't really have an answer. And while I don't want to pretend Frank Rich is the only guy who can do it, or that the New York Times is the single place truth can be found these days, I sure wish at least one voice of integrity would address the video in a major media forum.
At The American Reporter, we've run a changing headline about the video daily for more than a week to stimulate just such a discussion. For reasons I'm afraid to speculate about, we have failed. Now it's up to you, Frank.