Berkeley Paper Accused of Anti-Semitism
Activist says its editor is ‘addicted’ to criticism of Israel
There’s a battle against alleged anti-Semitism going on that even the Anti-Defamation League won’t get behind, perhaps because it’s taking place in that hotbed of political debate: Berkeley, California. Several groups have taken issue with a local newspaper, The Daily Planet, and its editor, Becky O’Malley, for publishing what they see as excessive criticism of Israel.
“We think that Ms. O’Malley is addicted to anti-Israel expression just as an alcoholic is to drinking,” said Jim Sinkinson, who has urged advertisers to pull out from the paper. His efforts have succeeded in contributing to the publication’s decline, with ad revenue down 60 percent from last year and its reportorial staff down to one full-time employee. Also joining the campaign is the website dpwatchdog.com, edited by John Gertz, who focused on a letter from Iranian student Kurosh Arianpour, suggesting that Jews “had brought historical persecution—including that by the Nazis—on themselves,” as proof that the Planet is the equivalent of a “publication that praises the Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan.” He put the question to advertisers: “In these tough economic times, is it really a good investment to continue advertising in a paper, one of whose main purposes seems to be the defamation of Jews and the state of Israel?”
O’Malley, who says “I have the old-fashioned basic liberal thing of believing that the remedy for speech you don’t like is more speech,” refers to the criticism of her paper as a “protection racket,” and, says the New York Times, “she also offered a possible two-entity solution to the conflict, saying of her critics, ‘They could start their own paper.’”