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August 09, 2001
NPR--Daniel Schorr's Racist Remarks

By Ali Abunimah


Date: Thu, 9 Aug 2001 09:36:39 -0500 (CDT)
From: Ali Abunimah ahabunim@midway.uchicago.edu
To: atc@npr.org
Subject: NPR--Daniel Schorr's Racist Remarks

August 9, 2001

Dear NPR News,

Unlike Dan Schorr, I do not consider my elderly aunts, their children, their grandchildren and indeed their great grandchildren in Palestine to be a "demographic threat" to anyone, nor do I consider their struggle to bring up their children in the midst of a brutal and unending military occupation to be "a silent demographic offensive" against Israelis on a par with "Hamas bombs." Rather, I consider them to be human beings who deserve human rights and respect. And I believe the same thing about Israelis.

I am frankly disgusted at the overt racism of Daniel Schorr's commentary on All Things Considered on August 8, 2001 in which he talked about Palestinians this way.

I dare Daniel Schorr to go on national radio and, just for the sake of argument, declare that the rapidly growing Latino population in the United States is "a silent demographic offensive" and a "threat" to Americans. How does Mr. Schorr think people would feel if NPR broadcast a commentary saying that Jews constituted a "threat" to other people? This ugly, dehumanizing language ought to have no place on NPR. There was a time in the United States when it was acceptable to talk about African Americans, Jews and other peoples as a "problem" rather than as human beings. Thankfully that time has largely passed.

I am also repulsed by Schorr's quoting Golda Meir saying allegedly of the Palestinians "We can forgive you for killing our children, but we can never forgive you for forcing us to kill your children." It may have escaped Schorr's notice that Israel has killed over 140 Palestinian children in the past 10 months, with no compunction at all. It has added to this injury by sending its spokespersons with the insult that Palestinian parents do not love their children, and in fact send them out to be killed deliberately just to embarass Israel. This is exactly the kind of calumny that South Africa's apartheid rulers used to excuse their murder of Black youths who resisted their oppression.

A propos South Africa, Mr. Schorr said that "unless the demographic problem is solved," "one can imagine Israel under international criticism like South Africa, a minority ruling a majority." It seems also to have escaped Mr. Schorr's notice that human rights groups the world over already make this criticism, and so we have no need to imagine it.

As for minorities ruling over majorities, one needs only to visit the occupied West Bank and Gaza where three million people live under the harshest possible conditions of martial law, and suffer absolutely nothing that was not also suffered by Blacks under apartheid, so that a few hundred thousand gun-toting and God-toting settlers can enjoy their swimming pools and continue to confiscate Palestinian land.


Ali Abunimah