Letter to the editor — May 23

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 23, 2024

Response to ‘Free speech or extortion’

The op-ed by Wesley Casteen leaves much to be desired, in accuracy and attitude. Regarding student protests, there may be outsiders in them, as there were at the toppling of Silent Sam, something the university did nothing to prevent. I suspect that college action, in North Carolina and elsewhere, including police involvement represents more than imposing order. I see behind the intervention of authority political and economic motives: the fear of accusations of anti-Semitism and questioning of their investments. As for anti-Semitism, any criticism of Israel is immediately subjected to accusations of specific antagonism, regardless of the clearly Semitic identity of the Palestinians, speakers of a Semitic language and resident in Palestine for much longer than the Zionist colonizers who began arriving in the late 19th century.

The “alleged” oppression of the Palestinians by Israel is a reality, although this reality is largely suppressed in the U.S. by deliberate media silence. The Palestinians of the West Bank are living under military occupation, in bantustanized enclaves and threatened by fanatical “settlers” who deny them any right to be where they have always been. As for Gaza, the Israelis are engaged in widespread massacring of the civilian population under the pretense of fighting Hamas. Hamas may be capable of violence, but it is more than that. and the Palestinian people know that it is not the enemy, and who the enemies are.

The writer’s pretense of acceptance of free speech is dubious. It seems that “free speech” for him is anything he approves of. My impression of major U.S. media conduits is identical. News is packaged entertainment, consisting of exciting but largely trivial details. Fortunately, there are alternatives on the Internet. Americans should give some serious thought to what sort of allies this country has and supports and how its self-proclaimed values are perceived by others.

Richard Nash Creel lives in Salisbury.