Berkeley is the home of the University of California, the spawning grounds of the Free Speech Movement and the People's Park riots, and the site of some of the most left-wing politics within any American city (hence the nickname "Bezerkley"). While we previously wrote about anti-Israel activism on the UC campus and its insinuation even into Berkeley Hillel itself, there's another Berkeley institution that helps bring anti-Israel hate speech into print just about every week. The Berkeley Daily Planet (the "DP") doesn't employ Clark Kent, the mild-mannered alter ego of Superman; it is, however, owned and edited by one Becky O'Malley. And Ms. O'Malley has decided that of all the issues Berkeley residents care about, whether local, national or international, the one that deserves a wholly disproportionate amount of space (in particular in the letters to the editor) is....you guessed it: Israel.
And these aren't ordinary letters from ordinary Berkeley residents. These are screeds from around the world, spewing the type of hatred that is politically correct when aimed at only one group of people: Zionists. There is a new website, the DP Watchdog, which documents quite well the selective publication of anti-Israel hate speech in the DP-- but to give you, our reader, just a brief flavor of what O'Malley feels is worthy of appearance in the DP:
"One should ask why anti-Semitism has persisted throughout the centuries. Let us go back to 539 BC, when Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, went to Babylonia and liberated Jews. One can ask why Jews were enslaved by Babylonians. Also, one can ask why Jews had problem with Egyptians, with Jesus, with Europeans, and in modern times with Germans? The answer, among other things, is their racist attitude that they are the 'Chosen People.' Because of this attitude, they do wrong to other people to the point that others turn against them, namely, become anti-Semite if you will." (note that this letter came all the way from India to appear in the DP, but O'Malley refuses to publish pro-Israel letters from outside Berkeley and environs).
"Anyone in Congress who supports this genocide does not represent me and many others in this country. Destroying a country’s infrastructure, killing millions of innocent civilians, including children, is inexcusable. I will never vote for anyone who supports this insanity. What Israel is doing to Lebanon is worse than what Hitler did in Germany. Hezbollah is merely an excuse for Israel to wipe out Palestine." (this was in reference to Israel's response to Hezbollah's missile attacks in 2006; note that she did write "millions")
"To what country does John G [note: a pro-Israel letter writer] owe his loyalty?… Would he spy for Israel? (It’s been done.) Would he perjure himself for Israel? (That’s been done too.) Would he threaten a political candidate with slush funds and slur campaigns? (Threats like Mr. G’s are not idle. They’ve been carried out successfully many times.) Would he protect Israel when it had deliberately killed American citizens? (Sadly, this too has been done.) Would he carry a bomb onto the New York subway or BART, if Israel deemed it necessary? How far would Eric Alterman go? How far would John go?"
Interestingly enough, O'Malley has also claimed that she has refused to publish items that she regarded as Islamophobic. (Zionists, it seems, are fair game; after all, we don't tend to burn, pillage or take to the streets to threaten mass murder over perceived slights to our heritage).
This week's edition of "j", the Jewish weekly in published in San Francisco, features a story about the DP. You can register and leave comments as well. We hope that those businesses who still advertise in the DP will be taking notice.