What I’ve Learned on Twitter Today


What I’ve learned on Twitter today is that by far the most hateful, rude, obnoxious people on Twitter are the hard-core Zionists. The language and values they espouse are right down there with Pinochet and a certain German circa 1935. On the other hand, the Palestinians, Jordanians, and Palestinian rights supporters of all backgrounds are absolutely polite in comparison.

Here are two tweets from just a little while ago regarding the Flotilla:

I can’t help but wonder- are these people parents? Do they teach their kids this stuff? And you think us gay folks shouldn’t be parents?

I honestly can’t imagine holding the view that people with whom I disagree should be killed. That these people, one of whom is a CEO of a Hollywood company, feel so free to tweet such hate under their real names shows just how mainstream it is to hate the Palestinians and anyone who supports their human rights. And by the way, the two tweets I highlighted above are mild in comparison to some that are being tweeted out under anonymous identities.

I know some people think I’ve been too hard on this administration, and in particular the State Dept., over the last few days regarding their official statements on the Flotilla. But here’s why I am so upset- by denouncing peace activists in the strongest terms and making a link between the Flotilla participants and Hamas our govt has a) given a green light for Israel to believe it is justified in using deadly force and b) played a small but not insignificant role in legitimizing the kind of hateful, irrational views I”m seeing today on Twitter.

Since when is it ok to kill people simply because you disagree with them? By alluding that Hedy Eptstein, Alice Walker and the journalists covering the Flotilla’s journey are possibly in violation of US law for aiding and abetting terrorists, the govt has fed into the already toxic discourse that makes rational debate about Israel and Palestine impossible. The Obama administration has implied that the Palestinians of Gaza, by virtue of their geography, are terrorists and that none of them are human beings worthy of concern.

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About Stacy

Attorney, Publisher, Foreign Policy wonk

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5 Comments on “What I’ve Learned on Twitter Today”

  1. Carolyn-Rodham Says:

    Very well said, stacy.
    Those tweets are truly despicable. For this, those sheep in Congress stood and applauded 28 times?

    Reply

  2. Steve Says:

    Thanks for the great updates on the Flotilla Stacy, much appreciated, I’m not on Twitter- my son always makes fun of me for that- I find it all a bit overwhelming but maybe I jump in and open an account.

    On a slightly diff. topic Antony Lowenstein has an interesting article on his blog about the NYT new editor and he makes the point that it would be inconceivable that an Arab or Muslim would ever rise up the ranks, particularly if they played identity politics- ie. having their faith or race/culture being central to how they view the world and how that translates into their journalism.

    http://antonyloewenstein.com/2011/06/26/new-new-york-times-editor-on-her-jewish-identity/?utm_source=Twitter%20Referral&utm_medium=Twitter&utm_campaign=Twitter

    Phil Weiss and Adam Horowitz of Mondoweiss also discuss this issue a lot- it’s very taboo and usually the only way one can get away with discussing Jewish privilege is one is Jewish, hence Lowenstein, Weiss and Horowitz talking about it 😉 But I’ve often felt that the MSM’s coverage of Israel and Palestine reflects not only American institutional bias against Palestinians, but also the input and beliefs of Jewish journalists and media figures. And no, I am not saying “the Jews run the media”- but what I am saying is that we are very much represented in the media at the highest levels and we have to ask ourselves whether or Jewish identity politics ever colors our coverage of Issues involving Israel. Despite it being a taboo subject it’s only natural to question that given that as we see in the current discourse about Israel-Palestine, it is absolutely frowned upon for Jews to be anything but blindly loyal to Israel. So, does that impact news coverage? Look at Ethan Bronner, Wolf Blitzer (who worked at AIPAC), Jackson Diehl, Mark Landler Fred Hiatt, Isabel Kershner, the whole damn Graham family, Jennifer Rubin, etc. There are a zillion examples. But what those people I listed have in common is in addition to being Jewish, their reporting is very, very biased in favor of Israel. And given they represent some of the biggest media outlets, is it any wonder why Americans are so uninformed and are so hostile to Palestinian rights?

    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2011/06/06/pro-israeli-bias-at-the-nytimes/

    Here is what Frank Rich said in response to a question about his paper’s pro-Israel coverage:

    Mr. Rich was asked about our media’s reporting in the Middle East and their unwavering presentation of Israel-as-victim. How is it that Americans are so poorly informed that a large fraction believes that the Palestinians are the illegal settlers in the Occupied Territories? Mr. Rich was asked why he, as a media critic, had remained silent on this biased coverage? Mr. Rich replied, “I’m Jewish.”

    Am I saying we Jews shouldn’t be in media/journalism? of course not. But we should ask ourselves if we would question Arab American journalists that seemed to present biased coverage of Israel-Palestine and if the answer is yes, why don’t we hold a mirror up to ourselves? Also, it isn’t the role of journalists to project their own views into their reporting. I know it happens with a lot of groups, when the issue of Israel comes up it is particularly pervasive.

    Sorry for the long comment Stacy

    Reply

    • Stacy Says:

      Wow, thanks for the info. Steve. And yeah, I get the thing about needing to be Jewish to discuss the issue of why there may be bias in the media. I will say though that the bias is also related to pressure from the lobby which as you know has a very aggressive media outreach agenda and in the book “The Israel Lobby” it talks about how big media gets a lot of pressure from the Lobby to present things in a pro-Israel light because of fears of boycotts, loss of advertising revenue and of being labeled anti-Israel or worse, antisemitic. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Remember the whining from the Lobby when Christiane Amanpour moved to ABC? Although they could point to not a single piece of evidence of pro-Arab, pro-Muslim bias, they assumed that because she was born in Iran she must be genetically programmed to hate Israel. Honestly, the stupidity of some people is astounding.

      If there were more Arab voices in traditional media I think it would be a big improvement for diversity but honestly, I don’t think they should promote a particular bias either. Ultimately the job of the media is not to push a particular viewpoint or agenda but rather to ask hard questions, inform, fact-check, investigate. But more and more media is less journalism and more infotainment. Big media isn’t liberal or conservative, it’s very mainstream, very hawkish but ultimately it’s a business that will do whatever it takes to make money.

      Reply

  3. Carolyn-Rodham Says:

    This is a must read – author Alice Walker on why she will be sailing on the Audacity of Hope. Heart-breaking.

    http://alicewalkersgarden.com/2011/06/auntie-i-simply-cant-imagine-it-joining-the-freedom-flotilla-ii-to-gaza/

    Reply

    • Stacy Says:

      Yes, that is heart breaking. I love Alice Walker. She’s getting a lot of grief from people for some of the interviews she has given and perhaps even because of that piece you linked to. A couple of journalists even went after her for being misguided and “naive.”

      The demonization campaign that is currently going on is really incredible to watch. I’m amazed at how mainstream sources and otherwise respectable members of the community lash out at people like Walker, Epstein and Medea Benjamin. It makes me very uncomfortable. It’s like this whole issue of Israel-Palestine has turned us into really hateful people, incapable of respectful debate or empathy. That’s part of the reason I reacted so poorly to Hillary’s paternalistic statements last week- it just feeds people’s irrational belief that some people have no right to advocate across the board for human rights.

      Reply

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