As long as everyone is already in the mood for blood, I feel it appropriate to offer my two cents on the matter of Tartakovsky-bashing.
After reading Mr. Ali Kattan-Wright’s article in the Mar. 2 issue of the Daily Nexus (“Joey Tartakovsky Presents Slanted View of Israel”), I was extremely unsettled. Slight discomfort soon turned into shock and disillusionment as I read all of the other condemnations leveled against the Nexus in general and Joey in particular.
One thing that was said really struck in my mind. Mr. Abid Aziz, a first-year Muslim student at UCSB, actually felt that his right to practice religion freely was being challenged by Joey’s articles. This is an incredibly serious charge. A matter so serious that it goes deep into the core of what it means to be an American cannot be easily ignored. This is a fundamental right, for Christ’s sake, and if Mr. Aziz is suggesting that what Joey is writing is somehow impugning on that right, well, we need to do something about it.
I located the issue and found the offending article. I braced myself as I began to read, ready to be floored by the “hatred in our newspaper.” Instead I found something else entirely. What I had in front of me was a well-written argument promoting global consciousness and some mild criticisms of how Israel was being portrayed in the news media. That wasn’t right though – I had to be missing something. All of the letters stated that these articles were causing “anti-Muslim” sentiment on the UCSB campus. I figured there was some cleverly hidden message there that I just wasn’t getting, and that I needed to dig deeper.
If what Joey was writing is hate speech, then it is not in fact protected by his First Amendment rights. It has absolutely no place in a newspaper that is an integral part of a learning institution. Yet for the life of me, I couldn’t find any part of it that could possibly be construed as hate speech. True, it looked upon Muslims in a poor light, stating that there are many parts in the world where Muslims are clashing – such as Nigeria, China and India – with other religions, other than Israel with the Jews. The problem is that it is truth.
To conclude that this is hate speech simply because you don’t like the facts would be as “morally reprehensible” as perhaps charging people with being anti-Semitic for criticizing Israel. Mr. Aziz, I invite you to go to your local library or what have you, and check out a book called Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion if you want to see what real hate speech looks like. Until then, please be kind enough to write an apology letter to Mr. Tartakovsky, and in the future, keep your opinions to yourself until you get a bit better informed.
As to Mr. Kattan-Wright’s charge that Mr. Tartakovsky is trying to hide any wrongdoings on the part of the Israeli government with a veil of anti-Semitism, I can only shake my head. Nowhere in the article does Mr. Tartakovsky ever even say the word “anti-Semitism,” let alone suggest the idea. Instead, Mr. Tartakovsky asks his readers a shrewd question: Why is it that Israel is getting so much more coverage in the world news media when there are more than a thousand times more people dying in other parts of the world? I find it telling, Mr. Kattan-Wright, that you jumped to the conclusion of anti-Semitism all on your own.
Max Rasovsky is a senior math and economics major.