27 July 2004
44 Fifth Ave. #172
Brooklyn NY 11217
Gary Null & Associates, Inc.
New York, NY 10024
It has come to my attention that in your WBAI broadcast of July 16 you read a letter by Phyllis Chesler which invoked a piece of journalism I wrote in the summer of 2001 concerning anti-Semitism at WBAI, and specifically the embarrassing conspiracy-theory potboiler Rule by Secrecy by Jim Marrs, which had been offered as a premium in a recent station fund-raising marathon. My work was invoked in support of Chesler's (and, presumably, your) contention that WBAI has become a voice of "hate," and that "anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semtism." The invocation of my work in support of these claims is either grossly ill-informed or blatantly manipulative.
For starters, the use of the unfortunate Marrs incident to besmirch the current management at WBAI ignores the reality that the book was offered as a premium during the so-called "coup" period, when a particularly reactionary faction had illegally usurped power at the station. Thanks to litigation, as well as a long activist struggle by both station staff and listeners, this regime has now been overturned for over two years. Whatever lingering anti-Semitism and managerial problems may persist at WBAI, using the idiocies of the "coup" period as propaganda against the current WBAI is disingenuous and cynical in the extreme.
It is ironic that Chesler states that to the best of her knowledge the Marrs book was "never challenged on the air," when the writer she cites as exposing the book (namely, myself) is a WBAI producer! A further irony lies in the fact that I am a producer who happens to be strongly anti-Zionist. Of course anti-Zionism is often used to mask anti-Semitism, and this is precisely why a keen analysis is needed to advance a legitimate anti-Zionism rooted in values of universal human solidarity. This is precisely the kind of analysis I have attempted for many years to develop on my show, the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade. I have always held Chesler's writings on questions of reproductive freedom in high regard, but what she has to say on the question of Israel and Palestine is just dangerously muddying the water.
A final irony is that immediately after reading Chesler's letter, you turned the show over to Marjorie Moore, who apparently hosts a sort of on-air advice column segment. As my reportage had made clear, it was Moore who first brought Marrs to WBAI's airwaves as the latest political guru back in 2001.
You began your show by stating that you wished to promote respectful dialogue on these sensitive issues, to advance greater clarity. That is a worthy, indeed essential aim. But the results, I fear, were quite to the contrary.
cc. WBAI staff and listeners