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Related Categories: Palestine | Santa Cruz Indymedia | Anti-War
H.Res392: Santa Clara Congressman Mike Honda Votes For Israel
by Van
Friday May 3rd, 2002 4:34 PM
Mike Honda, Democratic Congressional Representative for the 15th District of California (Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties), votes to support Israel and condemn Palestine
img_menuhonda.jpg
See the votes for yourself:
http://clerkweb.house.gov/cgi-bin/vote.exe?year=2002&rollnumber=126

Congressman Mike Honda
http://www.house.gov/honda/
3550 Stevens Creek Boulevard Suite 330
San Jose, CA 95117
Phone: (408) 244-8085
(Santa Cruz) (831) 630-5834
Fax: (408) 244-8086
E-mail: mike.honda [at] mail.house.gov

On Thursday, both the House of Representative and the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed resolutions defending the policies of right-wing Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon in the occupied territories. Human rights activists are alarmed, both at the strong Congressional support for a repressive military occupation as well as the fact that the resolutions are being widely interpreted as an attack on the credibility of Amnesty International and other human rights groups.
...

http://palestine.indymedia.org/news/2002/05/26531.php
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by Lewis M.
Friday May 3rd, 2002 6:14 PM
American Free Press
16 April 2002

Freedom of speech on talk radio is censored—no matter what the major media pundits tell you. That’s the lesson that 41-year-old radio talk show host Ira Hansen learned when he was fired from his job at KKOH 780 AM Radio in Reno, Nevada.

A five-year broadcast veteran and a columnist for a local newspaper, Hansen lost his job when he criticized U.S. policy toward Israel and powerful pro-Israel supporters forced the owners of his radio station to fire him. Hansen’s story is a classic case study of how a sincere American supporter of Israel (who previously believed media myths about Zionism and Israel) came to new perspectives after taking the time to actually study the history of the controversy and then paid the price for publicly speaking out on the issue.

Fortunately, one of the few truly independent radio voices broadcasting today—Radio Free America, hosted by Tom Valentine and sponsored by American Free Press—has provided Hansen a radio forum to respond to his critics. Hansen was the guest on the Dec. 9 broadcast of Radio Free America. What follows is an edited transcription of that interview..

TV: You hosted a talk forum over KKOH 780 AM in Reno, Nev., for five years discussing a wide range of controversial issues, but just recently you were abruptly fired. Please tell us the remarkable story.

IH: I was fired over the single issue of Israel. To be honest with you, until about 1996 I would be a good representative example of the typical American: that is, I knew nothing about the history of the Middle East. The only thing I knew—and this is what I thought was the whole situation—was that "The Arabs hated Jews" and that was the basis for all the fighting in the Middle East.

A good example of that point of view is nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas. The guy is totally blinded on this issue. Even though Thomas claims to be a devout Christian, he looks upon Arabs [many of whom are Christians] as though they are somehow subhuman. My understanding of Christianity is that all of us—Jew and Gentile alike—are equal in the eyes of God. That would include Arabs, in my book.

In any case, about a year ago when Ariel Sharon first went into Jerusalem to the Temple Mount and provoked the Muslims, I did a show on that topic. I had done some research on the issue, and based on that, I blamed the troubles that erupted on Sharon. I started to try to explain some of the background about Israel. Most Americans really know nothing about it.

So I did that show on Ariel Sharon and said: "Look, the majority of these problems, if not all of it, can be blamed on Israel and its behavior toward the Palestinian people." Almost immediately I was attacked as "anti-Semitic" and called names. They started calling my boss at the radio station, behind my back, and threatening to boycott the station. By "they," I mean some local Jewish people.

In all honesty, I have nothing against Jews. That’s the absolute truth. And I was kind of mystified by what was happening. So my boss called me in and said, "We’re getting all kinds of heat from people over this. Knock off talking about Israel." What he really meant was knock off talking about Israel in the manner in which I was talking about Israel. If I had wanted to say something positive about Israel, no problem. Well, because it was pretty much the sword hanging over my head there, I stopped talking about Israel.

But after Sept. 11, I just couldn’t stop. Everybody was talking about the Middle East and what’s going on over there. Everybody in the major media was saying things like "It’s about anti-democracy" or "It’s about anti-Americanism" or "It’s about anti-Westernism" and I got on the air and said: "The reason these Muslims are mad at America is not because of anti-democratic attitudes." I pointed out that there are democratic governments in the Middle East that are Muslim [contrary to the popular myth that "Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East"]. It’s not about "anti-democracy." And it is not, I pointed out, necessarily even about "anti-Westernism," however you define it.

It is about the absolute blind allegiance of the United States to Israel and how we give Israel carte blanche treatment. That is the root cause of the entire hatred of the Muslim world toward the United States.

Israel uses weapons against the Muslim people that have been given to them by the United States and it is only understandable that those people turn around and equate the behavior of Israel to the United States.

TV: That’s a very reasonable point of view and a valid one.

IH: The problem is that it is valid, but only if you understand the big picture. Unfortunately, the average person cannot find out what’s going on because the national media totally downplays anything Israel does that is negative.

Since the entire time I’ve been monitoring the national media after Sept. 11, I’ve been absolutely amazed at how there has been a virtual blackout of any discussion of Israel’s role in the Middle East and how the U.S. relationship with Israel and its activities relates to the Muslim attitude toward America. So for me it has been a real eye-opener as to how the national media functions.

You see people on television saying, "Why do these people hate us so much?" And it’s portrayed as some incredible mystery that has no tangible explanation. They always throw out these vague philosophical concepts: "Oh, they hate the Western way of life." Well, if that’s the case, why don’t they attack Sweden or France or the Netherlands or Italy? No, it all has to do with the blind allegiance of the United States to Israel.

TV: There are people who might point out that all of the major media voices are owned by tightly-knit families or financial groups who are of the same ethnic group as the people of Israel. This includes: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times and The Washington Post, for starters. IH: That’s right. There’s no question about that, I found, after studying this and looking at who owns what. Even Citadel Communications, which owns my former station, was recently purchased (after I got fired) by billionaire investor Ted Forstmann, a Jewish American who is a strong supporter of Israel. So there’s a definite dominance there. Critics say that pointing this out is "bigotry," but it’s an absolute fact. If you look at who owns all the national media outlets, it’s no surprise that the media is totally in favor of Israel and totally biased against the Arabs.

I can tell you this: if you and I talked about Jews on the radio like nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mike Savage [who is Jewish—Ed.] has been talking about Muslims, we would have been censored as "horrible racist bigots." But apparently it’s okay to be a bigot against the Muslims.

After Sept. 11 when I addressed the issue of the U.S. role with Israel and said that when we look at the big picture, we’ve got to include Israel in the equation, that offended the local Jewish community. The most prominent of those complaining was the owner of the major gambling casino in Reno, the Atlantis Casino. His name is John Farahi. He is an Iranian Jew and he was absolutely irate at what I said.

I was sitting there in my boss’s office when Farahi called and my boss was actually holding the phone six inches from his ear, because Farahi was screaming at him. Farahi demanded a right to defend Israel and said how he was pulling off all of his advertising.

However, when it came to high-dollar advertising or a local talk show host, I got the axe. That’s how I got fired: for essentially telling the truth.

It’s been interesting to see the reaction here in the Reno area. As I said earlier, most people don’t really have an understanding of the Israel-Palestinian situation, its history or what is going on. So a lot of people were mystified by my "take" on the subject. They know I’m a devout Christian so they were saying, "Hey, wait a minute: I thought Christians and Israel went together like bread and butter."

But the biggest reaction has been that whether they agreed with my opinion or not, people know that in America we have free speech and we have a right to dissenting opinion without the fear of having someone retaliate against us. So there’s been a real nice reaction here in the community in support of me. Obviously, I won’t get back on KKOH, but overall, the support has been there. People are saying: "You have the right to disagree with Mr. Hansen’s opinion, but he has the right to say it."

TV: I have difficulty thinking that there would be anyone with an ounce of intelligence who would disagree with that.

IH: I’m also a columnist with a local newspaper out here, so I had two outlets. They were able to shut me up as far as the airwaves go, but the small, local paper permits the opportunity to express my views and I have actually challenged John Farahi to a public debate. I’ve done it several times in the paper. He made it quite clear: he wanted to defend Israel.

It’s kind of ironic, because I told him (through a newspaper column) that I would have gladly had him as a guest on my radio show and we could have discussed the issue. But instead he got me kicked off the air.

So he has ignored my challenge, but now I’ve expanded it and said that I’ll debate any leader from the local Jewish community, in any forum they want, on radio, in a synagogue, wherever. I want to debate the issue of whether it is in America’s best interest for America to maintain its current foreign policy toward Israel. I haven’t had a single taker.

There’s another small paper here and they had an article about the controversy.

So I have had "zero" response from the local Jewish people who are willing to go behind my back and boycott my radio station but don’t have the guts to debate me in public on this issue.

It’s interesting: I’ve talked about America’s relationship with Red China and have been critical of our policies, asking how we have free trade with a communist dictatorship. But I was never accused of being "anti-Asian."

I’ve talked about all kinds of different foreign policy issues relating to foreign nations, but never—except in this one case—was I accused of being "anti" anything other than the accusation of being "anti-Semitic" when I talked about Israel. I’m not anti-anything. I’m pro-American.

The amount of money we give to Israel and what we get in return is unjustifiable. You have the entire Muslim and Arab world—there are one billion of them—and they have so much of the oil. This versus five million plus people in Israel and we give virtually all of our foreign aid to Israel.

And Israel was able to go and kill 34 American sailors on the U.S.S. Liberty in June 1967 and our own government covered up for Israel. This is a warped and bizarre relationship and harmful to the U.S. in the long run.

I hadn’t even heard of Israel’s air and naval forces attacking the U.S.S. Liberty until one of my callers brought it up on the air. He recommended the book, Attack on the Liberty, by James Ennes, one of the crew members. I got the book and was flabbergasted, never having heard a thing about that. I read all kinds of publications and listened to talk radio and read a lot and had never heard about it. After I read about it, I was so mad.

It really bothered me: not so much that Israel killed 34 Americans and wounded 171 others, but that our own U.S. government covered up for them.

It was Liberty Lobby that first broke that story immediately after it happened and then gave it major coverage after Liberty Lobby’s weekly newspaper, The Spotlight, was launched in 1975.

If it had been an Arab nation, such as Egypt, that had attacked the U.S.S. Liberty, the United States would have declared war. And rightly so. It was an intentional attack on an American vessel, flying an American flag in neutral waters. It was an act of war.

TV: An American journalist, James Bamford, in a chapter in his new book, Body of Secrets,* has told the full story of the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty and the subsequent cover-up as it has never been told before. Bamford’s book explains that the whole affair is much worse than we had ever suspected. Bamford himself backs off in discussing the Liberty when he is on television talking about his book. President Johnson helped cover it up because he said we didn’t want to "embarrass our ally." IH: What kind of "ally" attacks and kills an unarmed flag vessel? You must remember: up until recently I was a supporter of Israel. I was the typical American Christian person trying to do what was right. I thought this was just a situation where the Muslims hated Israel and wanted to destroy that country. I knew nothing about the background.

However, in 1996 I read a book by Jewish-American Professor Norman Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors. His book was titled Image Versus Reality and he laid the whole history of Israel on the line. I had always been under the impression that all of the Middle East wars involved the Arab countries attacking Israel and that, miraculously, even though Israel was much, much weaker, that Israel, with the help of God, survived the attacks of these hateful Arabs. In fact, Israel was the aggressor and much more powerful than the Arab states. And Israel is a nuclear power.

Everyone is going after Saddam Hussein because he is trying to build a nuclear weapon, but our supposed "ally," Israel, is a nuclear power and they were not supposed to be doing that. Not only that, Israel is selling its technology to the Chinese. At one point we’re going to have some sort of conflict with the Chinese but Israel is selling weapons to China.

My grandfather, who was a railroader in Nevada, used to tell me that he often watched American trainloads of scrap metal destined for Japan in the 1930s and he later wondered how many American boys were killed with American steel during World War II. Well, I have four sons and at some point we’re going to have a conflict with the Chinese. Will it be American technology (supplied by Israel to China and by Americans as well) used to kill Americans including perhaps my own sons or grandsons?

I’ve also learned how the Jewish underground in Palestine, known as the Haganah, was stealing arms from the British at the very time the British, during World War II, were engaged in a fight-to-the-death with Nazi Germany in North Africa. And now the Israelis are condemning the Catholic Church and the Pope saying that they were pro-Nazi? What did the Jewish Haganah do? They were hurting the military effectiveness of the British in their struggle in North Africa.

If, in fact, we must have such tremendous hatred for everybody who is a terrorist, in effect, the modern state of Israel is going to have to renounce its own founding fathers since these founding fathers were committing acts of terrorism against the British in Palestine in the 1940s. They also conducted acts of terrorism and violence against whole villages of Arabs, the very kind of warfare we condemn the Arabs for today.

I’m not a Muslim and have no connections with the Arabs, but today when I watch the Israelis use tanks, jets and bombs to kill innocent people, somehow nobody says much about that. However, when one Arab kills himself and others in a suicide attack, all of a sudden it is a horrible crime.

By law, the city of Jerusalem actually belongs to Jordan. And the Golan Heights belongs to Syria. But today we have Israel occupying this territory in violation of all sorts of international law. It is completely flagrant. But here in the United States we are led to believe that the indigenous people are "bad" because they are fighting to get back their own land.

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