I challenge you to find a news report with more layers, all of them misleading, than an ostensibly unbiased San Francisco Chronicle “news” article about a canceled art exhibition at the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland, California. The story’s core is uncomplicated: The museum agreed with an organization called the Middle East Children’s Alliance to showcase art that Palestinian children created. In response to protests, the museum halted the exhibit.
Through a magical combination of ambition, distraction, uglification, and derision, though, Chronicle readers are left believing that children in Gaza, after suffering horrible abuse at Israeli hands, are now victims of American Jewish censorship. (Of course, Chronicle readers, already primed with a steady diet of this kind of reporting, probably started out believing this statement to be true, so this most recent story is just fuel to an already raging fire.)
Chronicle staff writer Jill Tucker begins her report by saying that the museum, “citing pressure from the community,” canceled the exhibit, which was to have consisted of drawings that Gazan children created in the wake of the 2008 war. The pictures’ subject matter included “bombs dropping, tanks and people getting shot.” Barbara Lubin, spokesperson for the Middle East Children’s Alliance, the organization sponsoring the exhibit, validated the drawings on the ground that they represent the children’s “experience.” This is one example of the children’s “experience” (see more here):
Although relying heavily on Lubin and the Middle Eastern Children’s Alliance as source material for her report, Tucker carelessly forgets to introduce these sources to her readers. That’s a shame, because readers would have found it illuminating. Back in 1988, Barbara Lubin founded the Middle East Children’s Alliance, which rejoices in the great acronym “MECA.” Both Lubin and MECA have earned write-ups at Discover the Networks, which remarks upon their Communist, anti-American, pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli slant.
First, a little about Lubin, who is a classic self-hating Jew:
In 1991, Lubin was abducted by armed guerillas from the terrorist group Hizbullah, in Lebanon. She struck up a conversation with her captors and stated afterwards, “Hizbullah….They’re just ordinary schleps like the rest of us.” She is also quoted as saying, “If Slobodan Milosevic is tried by the international courts, then Henry Kissinger, (former President) George Bush and Ariel Sharon should be in there with him….They butchered Arabs.” In late 2001, Lubin was a participant in the largely anti-Semitic World Conference Against Racism that took place in Durban, South Africa. In August 2004, on the Berkeley-based Flashpoints radio program, Lubin stated that she wants the United States “to cut all aid to Israel.”
Given Lubin’s love affair with her kidnappers, and her hostility to Israel and America, you won’t be at all surprised to learn that MECA is a virulently anti-Israeli group with strong ties to many of the most radical Communist organizations in America. The following snippets from Discover the Networks are enough to give you a sense of the organization’s ideological orientation:
Founded in 1988 by Barbara Lubin, the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) describes itself as “a non-profit organization working for justice in the Middle East, focusing on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Israel and Occupied Iraq.” Viewing the Iraqi and Palestinian peoples, respectively, as victims of American and Israeli oppression, MECA claims that since its inception it has “brought over $8 million of much needed relief to besieged communities in Iraq and Palestine through emergency medical aid and direct aid to families and communities.” Among the projects funded by this organization are: children’s clinics and family mental health projects in various refugee camps throughout what MECA calls the “Occupied West Bank and Gaza,” as well as various community projects for children including, playgrounds, libraries, and youth centers.
MECA is a member organization of International ANSWER’s steering committee, the United For Peace and Justice antiwar coalition, the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the Palestine Solidarity Movement‘s divestiture project, the Justice in Palestine Coalition, and the Middle East Policy Advisory Committee.
MECA is also the fiscal sponsor for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).
MECA’s Board of Directors and Board of Advisors have at one time or another included such individuals as Leonard Weinglass; Noam Chomsky; Ramsey Clark; Maxine Waters; Ron Dellums (a socialist who is the current Mayor of Oakland, California, and who served as a U.S. Congressman in that state from 1971 to 1998); Gus Newport (MECA’s current President, the former Mayor of Berkeley, and the onetime General Manager of Pacifica Radio affiliate KFPA); Maudelle Shirek ( a former Berkeley City Council member suspected of having close ties to the Communist Party); Father William O’Donnell (a liberation theologian who was sentenced to a six-month jail term for protesting the School of the Americas); Fathi Arafat (the brother of Yasser Arafat), Edward Said (the late Columbia University professor and a member of the Palestine National Council); Ibrahim Abu Lughod (currently a member of the Palestine National Council); and the co-founders of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, James Abourezk and James Zogby.
Lubin’s goal, in other words, isn’t just engaging in some touchy-feely “experience” sharing. She and her organization are advancing an agenda, one that paints Israel as a voracious nation that slaughters innocent children. The Palestinians, meanwhile, are unwitting lambs, who have found themselves living next to a ravening lion.
In Chronicle reporter Jill Tucker, Lubin found either a willing accomplice or the perfect useful idiot. After describing the way in which “Jewish groups as well as others in the community” protested against the Palestinian children exercising their right to free expression in an Oakland children’s museum, Tucker begins the serious business of moral equivalence:
Yet it wouldn’t have been the first time the museum has featured wartime art by children.
In 2007, it exhibited paintings made during World War II by American children in the Kaiser shipyard child care center. The art featured images of Hitler, burning airplanes, sinking battleships, empty houses and a sad girl next to a Star of David.
In 2004, art by Iraqi children hung on the museum’s walls. The pictures, made shortly after the U.S. invasion, included a picture of a helicopter shooting into a field of flowers.
The art by the Palestinian children was similar in content.
A pig is a rat is a dog is a boy = a German is an American is an Israeli.
See how simple advanced logic is when you’re a leftist?
True to her apparent mission, which is to go beyond merely reporting a story, and instead to become a spokesman for a Leftist, anti-American, anti-Israel, pro-Communist group, Tucker ends her rather lengthy article by giving MECA the last word:
“Even while the children in Gaza are living under Israeli policies that deprive them of every basic necessity, they managed through art to express their realities and hopes,” said Ziad Abbas, the associate director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance, in a statement. “It’s really very sad that there are people in the U.S. silencing them and shredding their dreams.”
You know what? Ziad Abbas and, by extension, Tucker are right that those Gazan kids shouldn’t be silenced. Let me be the first, therefore, to share with you here their “shredded dreams.”
Their main dream is a simple one: to kill Jews. As an 11-year-old boy stated succinctly, “I am learning how to fight the Jews and kill Jewish children.” Another dream is world domination, and what better way to sell that idea than through a big teddy bear (or perhaps a bunny rabbit) assuring little Palestinian children that the future is theirs:
Dear children, when we grow up, we will become martyrs, God willing. [...]
“Yes, Saraa, the pioneers of tomorrow will liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The children, the pioneers of tomorrow, and not only in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, but all over the world, my dear Saraa and dear children.” [...]
Then, of course, there’s the vague “born to kill” dream that permeates Palestinian children’s culture:
My dear children, there is not a single Palestinian village or city whose people do not know how to use a gun. Why? Because they have suckled this with their mother’s milk.
And who can forget every Palestinian child’s vivid dream personally to stab former President Bush to death?
Child: “You are impure, Bush, so you are not allowed inside the White House.”
Bush: “What are you saying?! Why am I not allowed into the White House?”
Child: “Because it has been turned into a great mosque for the nation of Islam. I will kill you just like Mu’az killed Abu Lahab. I will kill you, Bush, because that is your fate.”
Child stabs Bush repeatedly
Child: “Ahhh, I killed him.”
I don’t know why Tucker couldn’t have elaborated a bit more on those shredded dreams. It took me only five minutes on the internet to find all that useful information.
Tucker also neglected to follow-up on Abbas’ throwaway line that Israeli policies “deprive [these poor, artistic children] of every basic necessity.” Again, a few minutes on the internet would have shown what MECA means when it talks about children being “deprived[d] of every basic necessity.” It seems that Gaza has only one high-end shopping mall, which is a shocking lapse. And what’s the world coming to when the mountains of food are displayed in open cardboard boxes, rather than in shiny containers designed on Madison Avenue? As for the suffering attendant on a fancy swimming pool — well, I’d just as soon not go there, and neither, of course, did our ace Chronicle reporter.
The one other thing Tucker entirely forgot to do was to talk to any of the people in the Bay Area community, including those ominous “Jewish groups” who had contacted the museum to protest a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli exhibition, one that (just coincidentally, I’m sure) would be ongoing during Rosh Hashanah. The entire article focuses solely on bullied museum people and outraged Leftists. Is it any wonder that more and more Americans get their news from Fox, an organization that knows how to keep separate the opinion part of its programming, on the one hand, and the fair and balanced reporting, on the other?
I pity the poor children, not of the Middle East, but of the San Francisco Bay Area. I grew up in that propaganda-rich environment, and knew no better than to accept as true the canards that routinely emanated from public figures, the media, and educational institutions. Only with age — and 9/11 — did I gain wisdom. I wish that there had been then, as there is now, an internet by which better informed, more intellectually honest, and morally sound people could have called out the falsehoods surrounding me and, perhaps, provided me much sooner with a truth that set me free.
(Bookworm blogs at Bookworm Room. She has some of the smartest readers in the blogosphere, and thanks them very much for their contributions to this article.)