Sunday, October 21, 2007

Did the Iranian President Cause "Hate Crimes" in New York City?

Another New York Post article on 10/21/2007, entitled, “Hate crime vs. Jews on rise in city,” links the rise in “hate crimes” against Jews to Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia University. Interestingly, the author, Angela Montefinise, did not give a reason for the spike in crimes.

Joel Levy, New York director of the anti-Defamation League, was quoted in the article as saying, “We have certainly noticed a surge in the number of such incidents recently.” Mr. Levy also said, “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that may of the incidents in the recent surge occurred immediately after the visit from Ahmadinejad. We had a hater, a Holocaust denier, a man who has said he wants to destroy the state of Israel and has built a nuclear weapon for that purpose, visit the city. I think that brought out some of the hate.”

Exactly how much accuracy is in Mr. Levy’s statement? First, how would Ahmadinejad’s visit incite Americans to spray paint swastikas and other anti-Jewish graffiti? Might it be because these Americans found a grain or two of truth in the Iranian’s statements about America’s imperialistic foreign policy and Israel’s oppressive treatment of Palestinians?

Second, though violating another person’s property is a crime, hating is not. Being a hater is not a crime. Might the Iranian have a good reason to hate Israel’s role in the oppression of Palestinians? So calling him a hater is irrelevant.

Third, is it a crime to deny the holocaust? Since when is it a crime to have a contradicting opinion? Thousands of people have questions about the holocaust for which there are no sufficient answers. Must they all accept everything they’re told unquestioningly as gospel and follow the herd blindly? If those who question the holocaust are wrong, then wouldn't they end up with their foot in their mouth by the truth alone? Is it really necessary to silence these people of dissenting opinion through public shaming by name-calling and emotional outbursts? Is this really the American way?

Fourth, the current government mantra that Ahmadinejad said he wants to wipe Israel off the map--this current catalyst used to stir up anti-Iranian sentiment to sway public opinion in favor of an attack on Iran--has been shown to be a mistranslation from the Persian language. The reason this is nothing more than State propaganda is because no one in the media seems interested in getting to the truth about what the Iranian President really said. It’s what our government says it is, period. Is this the American way?

Fifth, the claim that Iran has already built a nuclear bomb makes no sense, since the current hoopla is about Iran’s pursuance of the means to build a nuclear reactor. If the whole brouhaha is about stopping Iran from acquiring the means to build a bomb, then how have they already built one? Should Americans also blindly believe this man’s statements too?

The New York Post's articles seem to be a bit one-sided. Is this good journalism?

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