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September 04, 2002


More dialogue with Hanania
At the risk of blogging a dead horse [could I possibly be the first person to come up with this turn of phrase?], here is some more email between myself and Palestenian-American activist Ray Hanania in response to my "stereotypes" essay. 9-4-2002:

Dear Mr. Hanania,

I've just published a second column about you and Jackie Mason on my Culpepper Log. It is, if I may be blunt, pretty critical of you.

In the interest of fair play though, I would be happy to print any response you care to make. Or of course you could always respond on your own site if you wish.

You'll also notice that I have posted our email correspondence from last week - again in the interest of putting out your side of the story.

Also, there is a bibliography with links to most of the stuff I could find about you, Mason, Zanie's controversy, etc. Any other suggested links to add to this would be appreciated, such as columns written in your defense in various papers. I already have at least a couple. I'd be glad to add more.


You're entitled to your opinion,a lthough you have it all wrong. But, the reference to George Bush and "hebrew" translation is less about so-called ZOGs as it is a reference to getting his marching orders from a foreign head of state, Ariel Sharon. But, maybe it makes better copy to promote hatred and bigotry. I noticed you also didn't mention any of Jackie Mason's objectionable comments nor commented on them. Again, it reflects on your personal biases which, thankfully in America, we Americans are allowed to express our opinions.

Ray Hanania
Dear Mr. Hanania,

First thanks for your prompt reply to my email. You have repeatedly given me timely responses. You definitely get points with me for that.

However, you are wrong in saying that I promote hate. I certainly do not hate you personally. As I said, you'd probably be ok to be buddies with. Perhaps next time I get to Chicago I'll get the chance to buy you a beer.

I'm not saying these things in anger, or just to be mean. I intend to be treating you with respect as an equal, having an adult conversation. That means holding you to the same standards of civil discourse as the cracker next door. That also means holding you to the same standards to which I would hold Mr. Mason. That also means being as specific as possible about EXACTLY which statements I find objectionable and why.

For example, do you realize how inflammatory your business about Bush translating his speeches from Hebrew is? You say this is "less about so-called ZOGs as it is a reference to getting his marching orders from a foreign head of state, Ariel Sharon."

See, this is just the kind of thing I'm talking about. That's exactly the point of the ZOG [Zionist Occupation Government] nonsense; claiming that American politicians are just stooges or Manchurian candidates for Jews and Israel. With these comments you are, for starters, essentially accusing President Bush of treason- allegiance to a foreign power rather than protecting the US and our interests.

I'm not sure how to express to you what a deadly serious charge you are making against the president- YOUR president. One should not make such accusations unless they are true, and you can present some evidence. That he tends to see the Israeli point of view as superior to the Palestinians does not mean he has sold out.

Nor does this "joke" about Bush getting marching orders from Israel jibe with the observable facts. Was Dubya's call for a Palestenian state a Sharon trick? Are the tens of billions of American tax dollars sent to the Palestenian authority and various Arab governments a Jewish backed plot? Words have meaning, brother. You should be careful.

By the way, if I were going to "hate" you, it would be for making me defend Bush. I didn't vote for him, and he cheeses me off real regularly. Yet even I have to defend him against charges of treason.

The thing about Jackie Mason's comments is that I couldn't find anything particularly obnoxious or hateful. I went through numerous searches on combinations suggested by you in our earlier correspondence, through numerous search engines. I did not find ANY egregious statements. There just doesn't seem to be anything there analagous to your more fringe statements. If you can come up with some specific columns or news stories where Mason has crossed the line, I will be all ears.

Probably the most controversial thing I could find was his suggestion that Arafat be tried in court as a murderer. This is certainly controversial, but he wrote this after documents surfaced showing Arafat personally signing off on the expense vouchers to buy the materials to make the suicide belts being used to kill innocent Israelis. You might disagree with Mr. Mason's analysis of what to do about this discovery, but you cannot reasonably claim that it is beyond the pale of reasonable discourse under these circumstances.

Moreover, "Jackie Mason says bad things too" does not relieve you of the responsibility for the things that YOU say- even if he had said bad things. This is just the kind of response that I had in mind when I accused you of childish behavior.

In short, I'm trying to do my bit to raise the bar in our civil discourse. You seem like an ok fellow, but you have a couple of wires crossed. I intend my comments to be a brotherly rebuke- not hateful, but instructive.

Thanks again for your input.

More to come?...


posted by Al at 9/04/2002 08:38:00 PM

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