HP blogger Salam Al Marayati has published a blog post on the HP deploring the hypocrisy of the United States when it comes to opinions on the I/P conflict. In his post, entitled Freedom of Speech For Some But Not All, Marayati compares two pairs of individuals: Octavia Nasr and Helen Thomas and Senators Charles Schumer and Brad Sherman. Let’s examine his post and discover the horrible corruption in the heart of our beloved American government and media.
Marayati begins with the following:
“White House correspondent Helen Thomas and CNN Middle East expert Octavia Nasr recently lost their jobs because of their controversial statements related to the Middle East…Yet there is no outrage, let alone calls for resignation, when two members of Congress commit similar if not worse offenses. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) advocates for "economically strangling" the people of Gaza, and Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) demands that the non-violent humanitarian activists involved in the Gaza flotilla be prosecuted by the Attorney General.”
Oh, is that it? Let’s unpack this for a second. Helen Thomas advocated for the ethnic cleansing of Jews. Depending on how you interpret her comments, either she meant from the West Bank (a cleansing of a mere 200,000 Jews) or from Israel as well (making it well into the millions). Octavia Nasr expresses sorrow for the death of a Hezbollah leader, a man responsible for numerous murders of Israeli civilians. Schumer said Gaza should be “economically strangled”, calling for an increase in the blockade’s restrictions and hurting Gaza’s economy. Sherman argues that the activists on board the flotilla be prosecuted for “aiding and abetting” a terrorist organization, i.e., Hamas.
Rarely do we see such a twisted moral equivalency as we see right here. Thomas and Nasr expressed support for ethnic cleansing on a massive scale and murder, respectively. Schumer advocated for economic damage to Gaza, similar to economic damage to Iran from sanctions. Sherman argued for a criminal prosecution. There is really no equivalence here, but let’s read on to see how much spin Mr. Marayati will put on this story.
“What Schumer and Sherman advocate for amounts to killing more Palestinians and forcing more of them to leave their homes--i.e. ethnic cleansing. That is much worse than what Thomas and Nasr stated or more accurately, did not, as they were never given the chance to clarify what they meant.”
Um…no, Mr. Marayati. Thomas is the one who supporting forcing Jews from their homes, and Nasr is the one who advocated for killing more Jews (indirectly, of course). Sherman’s statement doesn’t have anything to do with the Palestinians, and Schumer’s is at worst equally as bad as Thomas’, not worse. Thomas and Nasr had plenty of chances to clarify what they meant, too. Thomas especially apologized before she was fired, but even then she couldn’t bring herself to clarify her statement. Sorry, but we’re not fooled.
Marayati calls Schumer out on a theological error Schumer made (Schumer believed the Palestinians “do not believe in the Torah or King David”) and discusses it at some length. He’s right to say Schumer is wrong in this case, but I find it interesting that he is more concerned about Schumer’s lack of knowledge about Islam than Thomas’ call for ethnic cleansing. He then criticizes Sherman’s position, and whines about the lack of an independent investigation into the flotilla incident. But then he wraps it up with a nice big sweeping statement,
“At the very least, America needs to begin clearing its conscience on what our tax dollars have done to the Palestinians. It's time to set the truth free.
Stop lecturing the Middle East about free speech when the tar-and-feather political lynch mobs tear apart our media. End the hypocrisy now and protest Schumer and Sherman for advocating the dehumanization of Palestinians, the demonization of Islam, and the staining of America's moral conscience.”
OK, time for me to set some truth free.
- No one is “lecturing” the Middle East about free speech, we know a lost cause when we see one.
- Thomas and Nasr’s remarks were not protected under free speech. The government is not silencing them, and no one is silencing them now. But their respective news organizations are not required to keep them on the payroll when they have exposed themselves to be Jew-haters and anti-Israel advocates. Such a person cannot be kept on and still maintain a resemblance of impartiality.
- Likewise, Sherman and Schumer are US Senators. They are elected and paid to have strong opinions. If the government were to remove them from office based on what they said, no matter how offensive, that would be a violation of free speech because it is the government that is doing it.
- No one is “dehumanizing” the Palestinians and “demonizing” Islam. Schumer is allowed to express support for the Israeli measures against Hamas, and holding activists accountable for their actions is not demonization, it’s justice. Stop playing the victim card, Mr. Marayati, it’s worn out.