By Carlton Joseph
On January 5th last, one Mike Fegelman, using the tactics of white supremacists and right wing propaganda groups, wrote that when it comes to anti-Israel propaganda, sometimes the biggest culprits are “smaller publications” that most Canadians have never even heard of and that The Caribbean Camera has in recent weeks published a number of hateful antisemitic and grotesquely anti-Israel articles, including one which actively promoted Hamas terrorism as “armed resistance” which Hamas has “the legal right” to exercise.
Fegelman’s attack on The Caribbean Camera is anti-Black, anti-Caribbean and anti-small business.
Before dealing with Fegelman’s attack on The Caribbean Camera, I wish to point out that the views and opinions expressed by its writers are not necessarily the views of the paper. Also, I wish to separate Netanyahu’s extreme right wing government from the people of Israel, because prior to Hamas’ attack, there were massive protests against the government attempt to weaken the courts and anger at his government’s numerous failings. This war has definitely sidelined the protests and gives the government unfettered power to do as it pleases. It also postpones Netanyahu’s trial for fraud, breach of trust and accepting of bribes.
Fegelman claimed that I borrowed liberally from antisemitic hate groups. This tells me that he did not read the article, or just decided to do what most right wing propagandists do – pick a line and throw stuff at it, with the hope that no one bothers to read the article. Regardless, I maintain that because America supports Israel with three billion dollars a year, and in 2022 gave an additional 22 billion, and sent weapons to support Israel and could not get Netanyahu to agree to a pause to allow the UN to send food and medical aid into Gaza, this is a classic case of the tail wagging the dog. Fegelman, purporting to offer “Honest Reporting,” dives deep into lying, when he asks: “How else could readers possibly interpret Carlton’s statement that the United States is “controlled by the American Jewish lobby?”
I never mentioned the American Jewish lobby in my article, and I did not allege that Israel controls Canadian, European and American foreign policy. Nor did I blame Jews for global control. I guess Fegelman understands the power of the Jewish lobby, and have decided to project his knowledge of their power as part of my article, to make his claim of my being anti-Israel.
Fegelman goes on to say that I am an intellectual lightweight, unable to conceive that Hamas is a genocidal Islamic terrorist organization, and that Israel has a right and responsibility to defend its citizens against that threat. Clearly, Fegelman is intellectually bankrupt to simply accept that because an American President decides to label a group as terrorist, that does not make the group terrorist. In fact, the UN does not recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization, and I remember when American presidents labelled Nelson Mandela’s political organization “terrorists.” The word “terrorist” has been so politicized and often applied so inconsistently, that even the Associated Press (AP) and other reputable news organizations are refusing to use the word. In fact, AP says that this particular word is so vague and so loaded that different people will disagree about who is a terrorist and who is not.
Fegelman’s “honest reporting” continued being extremely dishonest. In my article I wrote that “the world must without equivocation denounce antisemitism and must also without equivocation denounce Islamophobia.” As a Black person whose ancestors were subjected to slavery, and as one who view the Holocaust as so abhorrent, that I have taken the time to visit Auschwitz, South Africa, Israel, and Palestine, to examine firsthand the horrors, and to understand the aftermath of these horrors on humanity. I am horrified that Fegelman, whose ancestors suffered under Hitler’s horrific conditions, appears to have bought into Netanyahu and his government claim, that the Palestinians are human animals, and as such should be killed like animals. Hitler also believed that Jews were animals, and white supremacists believed that Africans, Indians and Indigenous peoples were animals. This assignment as animals has been used by the powerful to eradicate millions of human beings from the world.
Fegelman proves he is anti-Black, anti-Caribbean and anti-small business when in another of his attacks on the paper, he shows a receipt for $14,206.00 that The Caribbean Camera received in 2021 as part of the Covid-19 relief funds, writing that: “the paper might be a fringe publication, but has received tax payers’ funds…. and the government must undertake all efforts to ensure that the funds are refunded in full.”
Fegelman does not seem to understand that The Caribbean Camera, the people employed by the paper, the businesses that advertise, and its Caribbean readers are taxpayers and Canadians, and are entitled to received Covid-19 relief like all other Canadians. Fegelman also reveals his disdain for Caribbean people, by suggesting that the paper be forced to return funds in 2024, for Covid relief funds received in 2021, because their writers dare to criticize Israel’s government for its relentless destruction in Gaza. If the Canadian government forces The Caribbean Camera to return these funds, surely it will be proof that the Jewish lobby in Canada is even more powerful than I, or the Caribbean population imagined.
Fegelman’s claim that those who write for The Caribbean Camera are antisemitic, and sympathize with terrorists, is an attempt to make our readers not have empathy with what’s happening in Gaza. Hamas’ wrongful attack on Israel that killed 1,139 Israeli citizens, does not justify Israel total destruction of Gaza and the killing of over 24,000 Palestinians including 6700 women and 9600 children. Interestingly, polls show that 75 percent of Israelis are calling for Netanyahu to resign now, or be replaced when the fighting stops.
The Caribbean Camera has been a trusted source of news for over 30 years, and Fegleman can continue to attack every writer who, in his unperceptive view of the Israel-Palestine conflict, can simply call any criticism of Israel antisemitic. He should try looking at the conflict from his lens, the Palestinians lens, and the global lens and then he might understand the issue. Perpetual war in the region is not the answer and the removal of Palestinians from their land is a non-starter.
Palestinians and all peoples of color are human beings, not animals and to reiterate what I wrote in the article, let me clearly state that “the only solution to the current conflict is a two-state solution that recognizes the right of Israel and Palestinians to live in safety, dignity and peace.”
Fegelman obviously does not agree with my position. Like Hitler, he thinks they should be eradicated or forced to flee into Egypt, Jordan, Canada or any other country that accept “animals.”
(Trinidad-born Carlton Joseph who lives in Washington D.C., is a close observer of political developments in the United States.)
The perspectives and viewpoints articulated by the columnist unequivocally do not represent or endorse the official stance or opinions of the publication.