It’s time for us to have a serious conversation with each other. It is time for the moderate voices on this campus to step forward and fully quash the radical anti-establishment liberalism that has taken control of the political debates on the Farm. Bordering on anti-Semitic, anti-western, and, dare I say it, blatantly racist, the level of political discourse propagated by the Stanford Daily is more than concerning. With its poorly researched articles, inaccurate quotes, and use of questionable graphics and maps, the current editorial and management staff of the Stanford Daily have made it evident that journalistic integrity is less important than delivering political diatribes.
On Monday, November 26, the Daily published a piece titled “Why I care about Israel’s occupation of Palestine,” by the self-proclaimed “activist” Kristian Davis Bailey. Although many in the Stanford community rejected all of Bailey’s claims immediately, it is concerning that the viewpoints put forth in Bailey’s piece may be accepted by those students without prior introduction to Middle East history. However, rest assured, this piece will not digress into a discussion regarding the previous decades of Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Why? Because any such discussion of history would be to give Mr. Bailey’s other more radical comments and perverted worldview some credence. Put simply, there is not enough time in my day to undo the twenty years of experience that have solidified and warped his views. That is not my object. My object is unwrap Mr. Bailey’s piece and reveal it for what it truly is: radical garbage that is best kept out of what ought to be a forward-thinking and solution-seeking public discourse.
We will begin with the motivations behind Bailey’s piece. Mr. Bailey claims that he “feel[s] compelled to speak out against…forms of oppression this state perpetrates against other minority groups” because he comes from a specific “background.” Why is that a justification? Why can’t Mr. Bailey merely care for the plight of the Palestinians because he feels that they are marginalized? Why need there be a perverted attempt to draw parallels between the American-Israel relationship and those efforts by racists in the past to ensure that Native Americans and blacks in the United States were oppressed? Why does the fact that Mr. Bailey has dark skin matter in context? The reality is that it doesn’t. I have Jewish, Russian, Polish, and Greek blood within me. I am an American citizen raised in the melting pot, nay the salad bowl of New York City. I also drive a red car and enjoy watching baseball games. I have black hair and do not smoke. Absolutely none of this is relevant to my political views. I am socially conscious, pro-equality, and pro-democracy not because of the experiences of my ancestors, but because it is right.
I’m pro-peace and pro-Israel—I believe that every state has a right to defend itself against attacks on its citizens, so Mr. Bailey spare me your one-sided diatribes regarding the civilians who died in Gaza last week. Civilian deaths are tragic realities of war. Does this mean I endorse war as a panacea? No. Emphatically not. What it means, Mr. Bailey, is that I look at the facts in context. I look at the fact that Hamas fires rockets from apartment complexes and its terrorist fighters hide amongst civilian populations. I openly condemn Hamas for endangering the people it was elected to protect. You do not. Instead, you use your heritage and ancestors as an excuse to embrace an attitude that is totally useless. If we had everybody using their family history to justify their current actions and writings, we would live in a very depressing world. We would be locked into the disputes of the past and would never progress forward towards peace. Israel would be at war with Germany, Germany with the French, Africa with most of Europe, Protestants against Catholics in Ireland, and the United States against Japan, Russia, Spain, and others. The list goes on and on.
Mr. Bailey, your worldview allows for no progress. Simply because you have mastered the ability to drop facts and statistics out of context does not give you carte blanche to assert Israeli responsibility in the NYPD and Oakland police department reactions to the Occupy Wall Street protests. Your logic is circular and completely unintelligible: “Over 9,000 local, state, and federal law enforcement officials have participated in Israeli-led training session that have lead to increasingly militarist surveillance and police control in airports, malls, and cities across the nation.” You equate Israeli culture with a “militarist” one that is somehow permeating into our daily lives in the United States, while at the same time you claim that our American companies are enabling the “oppressor” in Israel. So, I pay for my own oppression by paying for an American college experience, with the hope of maximizing my potential as a citizen, and standing by while my university invests its money into American companies that then arm and enable Israeli oppression that then trains my police departments on how to control me? How deep is this conspiracy? Is Apple in on it? What about President Hennessy and the sax player in White Plaza? More importantly, where does the apparently innate Israeli desire to oppress come from? Are all Israelis oppressors? Maybe all the Jews are?
Or maybe your arguments don’t make sense. Maybe your entire article, Mr. Bailey, is an empty diatribe founded on nothing.
Let me be clear. Although much of this piece may seem to be a direct attack on Mr. Bailey, it is not. I really don’t care about the experiences that shaped his worldview. I don’t care if he is an activist or if he is your friend. What I do care about is a lack of responsibility in his writing and the lack of accountability that the Stanford Daily has demonstrated in recent years. From printing the student-athlete “list” without context and with false quotes to reporting on an inconsequent group of protesters seeking publicity upon the visits to Stanford by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Caterpillar CEO Douglas Oberhelman, the Stanford Daily has decomposed from a shell of a student newspaper to nothing more than a doormat with which the aware and informed Stanford community wipes their shoes. Aside from the rare special interest pieces on student projects, which are well-researched and engaging might I add, the Daily has become totally inconsequential.
My advice? Stop fabricating the news. Stop focusing on a small group of “activists” seeking headlines on campus. Stop searching for a shocking story and raise your standards. Simply because most Stanford students have better things to do than counter baseless accusation from irrelevant radical opinions does not mean we wish to see our school’s flagship newspaper become a mere political mouthpiece for a radical agenda.
Please. Step it up.