Contact me:

Tom (Yusha) Sager
tom (at) tomsager.org

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Commentary on an article
by Dave Weinbaum

On October 1, 2009, The Rolla Daily News online published an editorial by Dave Weinbaum entitled Ahmadinejad claims U.S. slavery a hoax in which he relates a fictitious conversation between presidents Barack Obama and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in which Mr. Obama tells Mr. Ahmadinejad it's ok to deny that the Holocaust happened but don't deny that slavery occurred in the United States.

The Rolla Area Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), of which I have been a member for the past 17 years, responded in a letter to the Editor, NAACP takes issue with Weinbaum online column, dated Oct. 16, expressing its disappointment that the Rolla Daily News would publish such an editorial.

In a subsequent column, Why is the local chapter of the NAACP trying to abridge my right to free speech, Oct 20, 2009, Mr. Weinbaum responded to objections raised by the NAACP.

In this article, I comment on some of Mr. Weinbaum's statements in Why is the local chapter of the NAACP trying to abridge my right to free speech. The Rolla Daily News is, of course, welcome to print this commentary if it chooses.

This article is color coded:

Dave Weinbaum's writing is in red;
The NAACP's writing is in black;
My writing is in green;
Other miscellaneous writing is in purple.


Mr. Weinbaum begins his column stating:

"First I want to thank the NAACP for providing me with column fodder as this can be problematic on a weekly basis."

I can certainly understand why Mr. Weinbaum is in need of "column fodder." Over 90 percent of his material deals with derogatory remarks about Democrats and Muslims. His columns are repetitious.


Referring to the NAACP statement:

“We refuse to accept the assertion that every adherent of Islam is a Fascist or a terrorist.”

Mr. Weinbaum writes:

"Please point out where I said anything remotely resembling your comment above…ever. Do the words 'slander' and 'libel' mean anything to you?" (ellipsis in the original)

I'd be glad to. In the column, For the Love of G-D (Rolla Daily News, August 4, 2006), Mr. Weinbaum wrote, "Think about it; 6 million Jews against 1.5 BILLION Muslims…that believe they have a command from G-d to murder every single Jewish man, woman, and child in the world." (ellipsis in the original)

How does someone who can defame 1.5 BILLION people get the chutzpah to whine about "slander" and "libel" ?


Apparently referring to the NAACP's statement:

"Mr. Weinbaum referred to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran as an 'Islamofascist.' We object to Mr. Weinbaum’s association [of] Islam with Fascism, especially since Fascism was born in Italy, a Roman Catholic country."

Mr. Weinbaum writes:

"Let’s talk about the term 'Islamofacist.'

"According to the Encarta Dictionary, Fascism involves 'any movement, ideology, or attitude that favors dictatorial government, centralized control of private enterprise, repression of all opposition, and extreme nationalism.'

"Do you have another phrase that would accurately describe a group of Muslims who have vowed to murder any American, Christian or Jewish man woman or child under command of a Fatwa written and signed by Osama bin Ladin on February 23rd 1998? How about this? Muslims who are outraged that many would practice a religion other than Islam and are Hell-bent on murdering every last one of the infidels wherever they find them?


"Sorry, I think I’ll stick with Islamofacists."

The NAACP is correct. As Mr. Weinbaum's dictionary notes, "Fascism involves centralized control of private enterprise." This is not an Islamic trait. It is far more relevant to 20th Century Europe where Fascism was born and to the 21st Century United States where the Federal Government bails out large banks like Citibank and Bank of America to the tune of 100s of billions of dollars, and "defense" contractors like Halliburton, Raytheon, and Blackwater rake in billions in profits with little or no government oversight. Fascism requires a concentration of economic power in the hands of, or in collusion with, government. This is far more pronounced in the West than in Islamic majority countries.

As a Muslim, I resent people judging my religion according to the actions and sayings of Osama bin Laden, who learned terrorism as part of US efforts to destabilize the former Soviet Union through the creation of an International Muslim insurgency in Afghanistan. Most Christians, I believe, would resent having their religion judged according to the actions and sayings of Timothy McVeigh or the crusaders who adopted the motto, "Kill them all. God will know his own." (Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius). And most Jews, I believe, would resent having their religion judged according to the actions and sayings of the Jewish terrorists who bombed the King David Hotel killing 91 in 1946; massacred 254 old men, women and children (some unborn) at Deir Yassin in 1948, attacked the USS Liberty in international waters in 1967 killing 34 US Navy sailors, bombed hospitals, orphanages and schools in Beirut in 1982; and used civilians as human shields and fired white phosphorus weapons in populous areas in Gaza in 2008, (Goldstone Report).

Now let's talk about whether "Islamofascist" is a racist term:

Whether or not the word "Islamofascist" is racist depends on context: If you would normally preface the word fascist with a religious designation such as: "Christofascist," "Judeofascist," "Santeriafascist," etc., then it would not be racist. If you speak only of "Islamofascists" and fascists of other religions are simply "fascists," then it is racist. Similarly, to speak of "Jewish bigots" where racists of other religions are simply referred to as "bigots" would be racist.

Mr. Weinbaum uses the word "Islamofascist" regularly in his articles. To my knowledge, he has never prefaced the word, fascist, with any other religious designation. If this is correct, his use of "Islamofascist" is racist.

Mr. Weinbaum's use of racist words is certainly not limited to "Islamofascist." In The Teacher, The Bear, The Child and The Prophet (Rolla Daily News, Dec 7, 2007), he writes, "In the end, millions and millions of ordinary krauts, Ruskies, and Japs, were killed because they ignored their madmen." ("Kraut" is a disparaging term for German or one of German ancestry; "Jap" is a disparaging term for Japanese or one of Japanese ancestry.)

In One Jew's Response to Anti-Semitism, (Rolla Daily News, January 22, 2009) Mr. Weinbaum writes, "One late summer afternoon, the biggest greaser amongst the caddies yelled at me, 'Hey Jew, go get me a Coke!'" ("Greaser" is a disparaging term for Hispanic, usually used for a Mexican or one of Mexican ancestry.)

In Stop the settlements! End the occupation! Give the land back! (Rolla Daily News online, June 11, 2009) Mr. Weinbaum mocks Hispanic-Americans and their speech patterns, implying that hispanics work exclusively as crop pickers, restaurant workers and domestics. He writes:

"All you West Coasters who love Obama, get ready to say adios to your casas. Either that or learn to speak Espanola, if you haven’t already. There should be an abundance of work if you stay. According to Carlos Mencia, there’ll be plenty of 'yobs.' for crop pickers, restaurant workers and domestic help."

Espanola is a city in Florida not a language. "jobs" would not be pronounced "yobs" in "Espanola." But then racists tend to be ignorant of the people they disparage.

In Return to Sender: Address Tehran (Rolla Daily News, August 14, 2006) Mr. Weinbaum implies that the owners of Chinese restaurants are somehow responsible for China's foreign policy and that an economic boycott of Chinese restaurants (many of which are owned by US citizens, some of whom are not even ethnic Chinese) would somehow pressure China to change its foreign policy. To add insult to injury, in the same sentence, he refers to his own ethnic group as "G-ds chosen ones" .

"As to the Chinese producers of some of [Iran's] missiles…let every Jew in the world boycott all Chinese restaurants for a month (a supreme sacrifice for G-ds chosen ones)!" (ellipsis in the original)


Mr. Weinbaum writes:

"The Nazis tried and came pretty close to murdering every Jewish man, woman and child in the late 1930s and early 1940s, something to which Muslim leaders at the time gave enthusiastic thumbs up.

"What I and many others question is Obama’s willingness to sit and talk with a man who denies the latter despite overwhelming proof from Nazi records. Also, Ahmadinejad has said Israel should or would be “wiped off the map,” while Iran is producing nuclear bombs. This should be cause for alarm for every American, including the membership of the NAACP."

The reaction of Muslim leaders to the rise of Nazi Germany and World War II was as varied as the reaction of leaders in other parts of the world, including the United States where fortunes were made on Wall Street collaborating with the Nazis. Mr Prescott Bush, George W. Bush's grandfather, was one of seven directors of Union Banking Corp up until the time it was seized by the Federal Government because it was controlled by the Thyssen family which helped bankroll Hitler's rise to power.

To understand the reaction in Asia and Africa to the rise of Nazi Germany, one must recognize the bitter legacy of European racism, colonialism and imperial domination on these continents which included centuries of "slavery, rape, discrimination, murder, and intimidation" as well as the murder of every man, woman and child of numerous racial groups such as indigenous Tasmanians.

There is no hard evidence at all that Iran is even trying to produce nuclear bombs much less producing them. There is a lot of hard evidence that Israel possesses hundreds of nuclear bombs. Perhaps it is time for ALL the world leaders to sit down and talk about nuclear weapons. Refusing to talk, has NEVER prevented proliferation of a single weapon. There have been a few successes in non-proliferation that resulted from talk and diplomacy, most notable the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which we may owe the continued existence of the world as we know it, in spite of the failure of the Nuclear Powers to live up to their treaty obligations under Article VI.


Mr. Weinbaum writes:

"While it’s obvious the author(s) of the NAACP’s missive either don’t get the satire and irony of the article, or are in complete denial of it, it’s equally clear that it has nothing to do with race."

And perhaps Mr. Weinbaum does not "get the satire and irony" of some remarks Iranian President Ahmadinejad has made about the Holocaust and his sponsorship of a Holocaust cartoon contest. And perhaps Mr. Ahmadinejad did not "get the satire and irony" of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb on his head.

I would argue that to satirize racial tragedies in an offensive manner (whether it be the Holocaust in which 10 million died including 6 million Jews or 300 years of slavery in the Americas which resulted in the death of a far greater number of people of African ancestry) is racism. I would argue that mocking a religion's most sacred symbols is also racism.


Referring to the NAACP statement:

“As a nonpartisan organization, we (the NAACP) would never oppose Mr. Weinbaum's right to express his political views. However, given the multitude of issues that our nation faces, this is no time for acts or statements that only serve to turn Americans against each other. In the famous words of Abraham Lincoln, 'A house divided against itself cannot stand.' The Rolla Daily News should have never posted or printed Mr. Weinbaum's article online.”

Mr. Weinbaum writes:


"In a matter of two sentences the NAACP reverses itself on whether I should be allowed to air my “political views” because “…this is no time for acts or statements that only serve to turn Americans against each other.” I take this as an egregious attack on my First Amendment rights and clear hypocrisy of the highest order. It also abridges the right of my audience to listen to all sides so they can make informed decisions on their beliefs.

"NAACP, while you have a right to disagree with my column and label it as you like, you have no right to suppress my First Amendment rights or those of the people who read and comment on my columns."
(ellipsis inserted by Mr. Weinbaum)

Mr. Weinbaum confounds his Right to hold an opinion and to speak it freely with his alleged right to be printed in the Rolla Daily News. The Rolla Daily News has absolutely NO obligation to print Mr. Weinbaum's opinion.

I have spoken out against racism and hate mongering in the pages of the Rolla Daily News for over a decade. I will continue to do so. It is my Constitutional Right. I again call on the Rolla Daily News to stop printing racist material. Not because it's illegal (it's not); but because it's wrong. It's divisive. It sets people against each other. It hurts the victims; it hurts the perpetrators; it hurts everyone; it hurts the entire community.

If the Rolla Daily News will not stop printing racist material for this reason, perhaps it would consider stopping for the following reason:

The City of Rolla has spent millions of dollars trying to attract business to the Rolla area. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have a clue as to why their efforts have been largely unsuccessful.

If I were considering Rolla as a possible location where I might open a business, one of the first things I would do is check out the local newspaper. If I were even slightly attuned to race issues and saw this kind of racism posted blatantly on the editorial page of the local newspaper, I would eliminate Rolla without a further look.

Racism hurts us all. Racism hurts the entire community.