By Martin Love

In U.S. one new NYT columnist just made a serious impact

January 26, 2019

NORTH CAROLINA - The Power of the Press, provided it’s the right particular medium, packs at least an incipient punch. Take for example the so-called “newspaper of record” in the United States, the New York Times, which despite decades of obfuscations and bias in certain arenas such as the Middle East remains the one newspaper which, if the mainstream media were to be absolutely shunned, would probably be the last to meet that fate.

Too many smart readers who more or less try to keep up with politics and international affairs and have some grasp of things at least have continued to “trust” the NYT, and when it is clearly pointed out or revealed that the paper has erred time after time and misled readers in the past, it’s like dropping a stink bomb on the morning commute train into the Big Apple with potential reverberations all across the country and particularly in Washington.

One column last Sunday in the paper by one Michelle Alexander, a recently hired writer, has heartened seekers of truth like few others in years. Alexander, a respected professor now at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan and a longstanding and respected civil rights advocate, wrote such a lucid piece about Palestine that it has flummoxed the entrenched “Israel can do no wrong” masses and left them in the dust, gasping unsuccessfully to counter her arguments (especially on Martin Luther King Day) that it is high time the wrongs against the Palestinians are addressed and Likud Israel is at last challenged for its various and obvious crimes. Iran, of all countries, well knows what those crimes have been for seven decades or more against the natives of the Holy Land.

Ayatollah Khomeini, who led the revolution in Iran, was speaking out against the Zionist program way back in the 1960s, if not earlier, even when he was exiled from Iran by the Shah for over a decade, and it’s one of several big reason the Israelis and the U.S. have long sought the end of the Islamic Republic since 1979.

What Alexander, a Baha’I by the way, especially did in her column was write – eloquently -- what few have dared utter: that there are many “progressives” in the U.S. who, knowing right from wrong, have not dared challenge Israel because they feared they would be smeared so harshly that they would be unable to carry on their work in other worthy causes, having been declared “anti-Semitic” if not worse.

 There are so many cases in the U.S. of smart people being marginalized and slandered for decades by Zionists and their supporters, people often losing their jobs, that it is almost unbelievable how deeply and powerfully this has played out – maybe, just maybe, until now when other thinkers like Alexander may be emboldened finally to speak truth to power about Israel, as Iran’s leaders have long done and as Alexander has now just done. Yes, she is being smeared by the usual culprits, but it appears to no affect. Maybe the NYT will fire her as a columnist, but one must doubt it: it would be so transparent if they did. At any rate, her column has been deemed a “strategic threat” by Zionists.

It seems a corner has been turned in the push for justice at last, and justice in Palestine is the key to winding down the awful terror of the so-called War on Terror instituted by George W. Bush and the Neocons, many of whom remain in powerful roles in Washington under Trump. And one reason the NYT allowed the publication of her column, it has been suggested, is that last year the newspaper elevated a new, young publisher of the same Jewish family that has long been at the helm of the paper -- a young Jew and no doubt Zionist who sees the future better than his predecessors did.

Presuming a new page is beginning to open up in the U.S. whereby those who have been hurt for challenging Israel’s cruelty find some vindication. I happen to be one minor victim of real hostility for trying to write as a journalist about Palestine on several occasions in the past, going all the way back to the mid-1970s after I spent a month at Jabalia Refugee Camp in Gaza.

We few Americans who have at least attempted to shine a light on Israel’s misdeeds and human rights abuses must now also wonder what this possible change of atmosphere might mean for the campaign long underway by Israel, the U.S and some Arabs against the Islamic Republic. Might this odious campaign against a sovereign Iran be somehow abbreviated and neutered to some extent, if not absolutely halted? It is difficult to know, but one thing is certain: the dialogue in the U.S about the depredations of Zionism seems about to expand, and there may be some spillover with regard to dampening Washington’s warmongering in the Middle East.

 (The criticisms and demands for a reckoning with Muhammad bin Salman over the Jamal Khashoggi murder last October, for example, continue with one of the most fervent Zionist supporters, GOP Senator Lindsay Graham. If Graham manages to push moves to throttle and punish MBS, might his next realization be, at the margin, a change of heart regarding his carte blanche support for the far right-wing Zionists?)

Some Iranians, anyway, are saying just the right things, and one must quote one unnamed Iranian: 
“The U.S. and its allies can sanction Iran, threaten her, demonize her, raise false flags to spread lies, BUT they will never break her. Why, because she stands on the right side of history, on the side of the oppressed. As an Iranian, I have the right to question my government, to hold it to account and even change it. Iran is not a perfect country and we need a lot of work to make it better for everyone, BUT no other country has the right to tell us what is best for us. Anyone looking to the U.S. as an ally or a country that brings “democracy” or “human rights” to anywhere be deluded or a traitor. The notion that we in Iran need help from outsiders is a false and dangerous idea that will only lead to harm and destruction. Never again.”

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