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Poor old Joseph Farah has got his knickers in a twist over quotes I attributed to him in two of my newspaper columns vis-a-vis the Palestinians. A Lebanese-born Christian Arab, who wraps himself in New World Order jingoism up to his moustache, Farah is editor of worldnetdaily.com and the squeaky host of a three-hour radio program.
In response to my quoting him advocating the transfer of Palestinians out of the West Bank and Gaza (derived from an article “Israel advised to transfer Palestinians” by Sheldon Kirshner) and calling Yasser Arafat “Nazi scum” (from one of his own screeds), the would-be icon of the right asks disarmingly “Am I a bigot?” He then goes on to sound like a Miss America finalist with a self-pitying spiel designed to bring a tear to the reader’s eye in contrast to anything else he’s written.
The, no doubt, rhetorical question on his own website headed an opinion piece, in which he launched a personal attack on me and categorically denied anything attributed to him in my columns.
Farah writes: “These dangerous, incendiary, unfounded and ludicrous accusations against me are being hurled by a woman named Linda S Heard, who apparently levels these charges from the comfort of the United Kingdom.”
I live in Cairo. That’s Cairo Egypt. Perhaps Farah is under the impression the pyramids are south of London. onsidering “Cairo” precedes my columns, he has little excuse for that misreporting.
As for my so-called “unfounded” accusations, Sheldon Kirshner assured me in an email that Farah did, indeed, cheerlead the forcible export of the Palestinians during an interview.
To be fair, it’s Kirshner’s word against Farah’s and I might have been inclined to publish a caveat to that effect had I not tuned into his show only to hear him call me a liar and a sociopath, asking “what’s her agenda?” and “who is paying her?”
The only reason I bothered suffering such an affront to my senses in the first place was because Farah invited me to join him on air for a “free and frank discussion”.
Aside from his puerile obsession about yours truly, I could hardly believe my ears. It was jam-packed with homophobia, condemning gays in the military, excusing the Abu Ghraib pictures, and defending the Bush administration’s torture practices.
Farah’s seen it all, he says, at college hazing parties. In that case, Lynndie England’s social life is obviously assured. Indeed, he believes the U.S. is too soft on torture altogether and when a bloodthirsty caller said he would like to cut bits off “them” Farah didn’t demur.
On Monday’s show, between adverts for the joys of a decent breakfast and the child-friendliest of the gun lobby, Farah defended a small group of Christians, arrested simply for trying to clear a path through a “pink” rally.
The terrible injustice faced by those simple banner-carrying Christian folk are symbolic of the anti-Christian prejudice through the entire world indicates the man with the acidic tongue who wants a “fair and frank’ discussion with meÖ remember.
O.K. So I emailed Farah with the following questions and comment:
“Then tell me, given that you do not believe the Palestinians deserve a state (going by your columns); believe Israel should be concerned about demographics, and support the Jewish settlements on the West Bank and Gaza (as per your columns), what do you believe should happen to the Palestinians? After all, you have already said they are not a people, have no historic lien on the occupied territories and possess no distinct culture.
“So do you support the status quo? Should they remain corralled forever by walls and checkpoints as citizens of nowhere? How can this possibly be a Christian concept?
“Today, your colleague is defending the Abu Ghraib torture, referring to it as normal in colleges all over America [On Monday’s show Farah reiterated the same thing]. Terrifying naked detainees with salivating Alsatian dogs? Stubbing out cigarette butts on their bodies? Attaching them to fake electrodes — and if we believe the award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh — [they were] sodomized? Are these Christian values? Why does your program defend the indefensible?
“You disappoint me. I lived in Lebanon for several years. In Beit Mary to be precise and came to the conclusion that the Christian Lebanese are some of the most wonderful people aroundÖ kind, hospitable, intelligent and truly caring. Even those who had suffered terribly during the civil war had managed to put the bad times behind them and were looking forward to a better future. Christian and Moslem Lebanese are joining hands. Perhaps, you should consider taking a lead from them.”
This was Farah’s well-informed and thoughtful response, which he was proud to quote on air before he disclosed how references to Arafat as “the late Yasser Arafat gave him a warm feeling”:
“Maybe you should introduce your homosexual friends to your Islamist friends and see how they all get along,” wrote Farah.
This piece of work, whose latest target is Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) – or Abu Mayzan in his lingo, betraying this pseudo Arab’s ignorance of Arabic pronunciation – is obviously losing it.
I naturally declined to set myself up as an on-air punching bag for the amusement of Farah and his following, so maybe you would like to call in to cheer him up.
Who knows, you might even get to be the recipient of a gold coin this miniature Lord Bountiful occasionally dispenses to callers who sob: “At the end of the month, I’ll only be left with 97 cents”. Not even enough to buy an anti-Arab, anti-Moslem, pro-torture, pro-gun, “pro-life’ bumper sticker. But remember not to mention my name. You are likely to get an earful instead.
LINDA S. HEARD normally writes about the Middle East and other important issues but makes an exception in this case. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org