Radio talk show hosts can lie, misinform and incite by saying nothing. All they have to do is let their callers say what they wish – unchallenged. Michael Harris of Ottawa Radio Station CFRA 580, claimed live on-air that he was not an Anti-Semite, nor anti-Israel. At least, that’s what he said.
It seems however; that I am not the only person who got the vibes that he is what he claims not to be. As a matter of fact, the Ottawa Jewish Community, totally unbeknownst to me has independently of anything I have written raised those same concerns with his bosses.
We have all heard the expression: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck: well you know the rest.
In a response I received from Michael Harris vis a vis my letter to him. He suggested that I listen to his show more often to hear his “balanced” Middle Eastern views. So, on December 5, 2001, this past week, while driving to Toronto for business, and having a few hours to kill I took Harris’s advice and tuned into his radio show. He asked people to call in and give their views on the Middle East and Israel.
What I heard was a plethora of disingenuous condemnation of the Palestinian’s terror campaign, as long as Israel was included as an “equal” culprit.
Here are some of the things I heard:
“The Palestinians are wrong to kill Israelis. BUT – look at the Israeli Settlers terrorizing Palestinians”.
“It looks like we can no longer trust Arafat. BUT – look at Ariel Sharon”.
” Israel has a right to exist. BUT – look at the illegal Israeli occupation”.
“There are Palestinian extremists. BUT – there are no shortage of Israeli extremists. Even in the government”.
“The Israelis are starving out the Palestinians by not letting them work”.
My favorite was from a woman with a Middle Eastern sounding accent who wanted to talk about the Palestinian “Concentration” Camps.
All of the above “canards” could have easily been swept aside and exposed for the unfair bias they actually were, had Michael Harris wanted to. Or, perhaps he couldn’t through ignorance.
If Michael Harris was honest, or aware; he would have stated that there are no such things as “Palestinian Concentration Camps”. Concentration Camps were pretty much an invention of Nazi Germany, created to enslave predominantly Jews for the purpose of degrading them, working them to the bone, starving and beating them to death’s door; and in the end – murdering them by the millions.
Does this in any way resemble a Palestinian Refugee Camp? Are the Palestinians not free to come and go in “their” Camps? Do they not have schools, health clinics, jobs that they could choose to work at or ignore? And is it not the Palestinian Authority that administers these Camps?
As a matter of fact. There are no Palestinian Refugee Camps anywhere in Israel. They are in Arab countries, including the Palestinian administered territories. But not in Israel. Why do they even exist at all? They are not, and never were the creation of Israel. Yet on Michael Harris’s show, Israel is held responsible for Camps they have nothing whatsoever to do with.
Just a few months ago, the Egyptians “forced” Palestinian Refugee Camp residents out of the last Camp on Egyptian soil at the far end of Gaza. Funniest thing though. The Palestinian “Refugees” didn’t want to leave Egyptian rule and go to a different Camp on the Palestinian side.
So; I have to wonder. Is Michael Harris so ignorant of what is the difference between a “Concentration” Camp and a “Refugee” Camp that he didn’t know enough to correct the caller? Or was he just plain pleased that she got a distortion in while leaving him lily white in the process?
The Israelis are starving out the Palestinians and denying them of the right to work. That is according to people who want to bend the truth.
Can a Canadian show up at the US border and demand the right to work in America? For that matter; can an American cross into Canada and simply demand the right to work here? No. So why is Israel condemned by the likes of Michael Harris for refusing to allow people in to work in the “sovereign” state of Israel; people who hate the Israelis to the point of murder?
Michael Harris states that there are extremists on both sides. That is fundamentally true. However; the extremists on the Palestinian side are the Palestinian leadership.
On February 25, 1994, Dr Baruch Goldstein, a follower of Rabbi Meir Kahane methodically murdered 29 Moslems at prayer. He himself was killed by the survivors of his attack.
However; unlike the Islamic Palestinians who publicly rejoice after the murder of Jews, just as they also did at the murder of Americans on 9/11; the Israelis were mortified.
The Jewish community didn’t pass out candies in celebration. They didn’t name a park or school after the murderer Goldstein. They didn’t declare him to be a martyr. And they don’t extol him in their history books as the Islamists praise those who kill Jews.
What Israel and the world’s Jewish community did after this nightmare, was to bury their heads in shame and grief. Israel had previously banned the Kach Party from the Knesset and made it illegal for Israelis to be a part of this political group which based upon nothing more than hatred.
Which Arab authority has ever done anything close to that?
Also; how many Israeli suicide bombs have exploded in Arab areas? How many bus stops, market places and restaurants frequented by Arabs have been bombed by Israelis for the sole purpose of killing Arabs indiscriminately? How about none.
So; I have to ask Harris to show his callers where the equivalence is between Islamic/Palestinian extremists and those he considers to be extreme on the Israeli side. And if he can’t. Why then make the claim of equivalence at all?
Harris spoke about the Settlers terrifying the Palestinians. But; somehow, every time I hear something on the news vis a vis a Settler/Palestinian confrontation, ultimately, it is a Settler who is shot in his/her car. Or Settlers’ children who are attacked on their way to school. I am no fan of the Settlements. But I am a big fan of honesty.
Harris considers Sharon to be extreme. Alright. He (Sharon) is extreme in his defense of his country and citizens. Where is the crime in that?
If it was not for Sharon in 1973, guys like Harris would have nothing to write about concerning Israel’s right to exist, since it would have been over had General Ariel Sharon not led the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) into the Sinai where his troops encircled the Egyptian Third Army forcing their surrender.
Harris is right. That was pretty extreme. However; instead of massacring the Egyptians as they easily could have. The Israelis let them go. How extreme was that?
As the Minister of defense, Sharon authorized the invasion of Lebanon where the “poor” Arafat led PLO and their Syrian buddies were decimating Lebanon. And at the same time reigning terror upon the Israelis. Clearing the PLO out of Lebanon was pretty extreme. But; obviously not extreme enough. Just look at Lebanon today.
It is too bad that the Lebanese Christian fighters entered Sabra and Shatilla Refugee Camps where they outright murdered men, women and children. But then again; for Israeli haters it is a magnificent piece of propaganda they were able to pin on Israel. So I guess for them, all was not lost.
If it was not for Ariel Sharon convincing Menachem Begin that Israel would still be secure, even if they gave back the Sinai to Egypt in exchange for peace. There would have been no peace treaty with Egypt.
More than that; Michael Harris either does not know, or would prefer that his audience didn’t know that it was Ariel Sharon himself who oversaw the dismantling of the Israeli Sinai Settlements, where Jews were dragged off the land by the IDF as their homes were destroyed.
Harris always rolls out the mantra of “illegal” Settlements. But he seems to forget that Ehud Barak was willing to surrender more than 90% of the disputed land. Barak even agreed to share Jerusalem as a common capitol for both states. But; to the poor beleaguered Palestinians that too was not enough.
The Israelis returned “all” of the Sinai to the Egyptians. Including oil wells and newly developed Israeli hotel resorts. And Israel dismantled “all” of the Sinai Settlements. Why would the Palestinians not imagine they couldn’t get the same deal? And why would Michael Harris “forget” to mention it?
The last canard that always seems to come up was that Ariel Sharon was virtually single handedly responsible for causing “Intifada II” by defiling the holy soil simply by walking at the Dome of the Rock.
I will remind anyone reading this who does not know. The Dome of the Rock is built directly atop the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest place where the Romans destroyed the Second Temple almost 2,000 years ago. Long before the advent of Islam.
But; while this part of Jerusalem was in Arab hands, Jews were persona non grata and refused access to what is called “The Wailing Wall”, a part of the Temple Mount. However; since 1967 when the Jews liberated their holy places in East Jerusalem, all religions now have access to all of their holy places. Including the Moslems.
Michael Harris also never seems to wonder why more than one million “Israeli Palestinians” seem very content to be Israeli citizens instead of rushing to join their brethren in the “Camps” or “West Bank” or “Gaza”.
Quite a few months ago, long before 9/11, Anne and I were listening to Michael Harris’s Radio Show as he allowed his callers to kick the hell out of Israel with outright lies and distortions. And every now and then he would appear to be the nice guy and honest broker and pooh – pooh what some virulent anti-Semite would have to say. I guess in his mind, it showed balance.
I don’t call talk shows. I prefer to listen. But; I was so outraged to hear this anti-Israel, anti-Semitic orgy on Michael Harris’s radio show, that I felt enough was more than enough. And I called his talk-line and identified myself to the person who answered the phone.
She immediately recognized who I was, and we chatted a bit. She said: “We’ll get you on right away. What do you want to talk to Michael about”? “About how much he doesn’t know about Israel and the Middle East”. I said. I waited on hold for close to half an hour before I hung up. But while on hold, there were no shortage of fresh voices on-air to bash Israel. Was this Michael Harris’s idea of balance?
It is not necessarily what you say on-air as a talk show host, as much as it is that you allow your callers to say without making a challenge; or at the very least allowing a real dissenting voice. I have no proof that Michael Harris is an anti-Semite and anti-Israel.
Therefore; the most I can say about him is that he is stupid not to know how ignorant he is of the facts. And if he wants to argue that he is neither ignorant nor stupid. Then I guess he is an anti-Semite and anti-Israel.
If you were Michael Harris. Would you rather be stupid or a bigot?