Junk Mail

There is no Editor of cyberspace, and that’s too bad. The latest e-mail craze to spread like the Melissa virus through the cc: box of various e-mails is the report of a man named Joseph Farah.

Farah is an Arab-American journalist who has cashed in on some Jewish Americans’ willingness to believe exactly what they want to believe. His report, called “Myths of the Middle East” has ricocheted from e-mail to e-mail. It has arrived at our offices dozens of time, usually preceded by the sender’s imploring, “You MUST read this!” or “Bet you don’t have the GUTS to print THIS!”

Farah’s “Myths” passes itself off as a set of “courageously” told “truths,”which, taken together, purport to prove that there is no Palestinian people, no Palestinian claim on land in the Middle East and no Muslim claim on Jerusalem.

Let’s forget for a minute that no serious Israeli leader believes this hooey. Better to look at who Joseph Farah is. He is a writer for a range of garden-variety outlets of the Christian far right. As Gershom Gorenberg reported in The Jerusalem Report (12/12/00), a Columbia Journalism Review piece on Farah documented his past as a former publisher of the ultra-conservative Sacramento Union and founder of the Western Journalism Center, which promoted dark theories on the death of White House deputy counsel Vincent Foster.

On Farah’s WorldNetDaily, you can read his similarly insightful pieces on how President Bill Clinton ran an international crime syndicate from the White House, why guns reduce crime, and the evil of Steven Spielberg, whom Farah calls “a capitalist pig.” Cc that.

You can also peruse his article, “Jerusalem: The Burdensome Stone,” in which Farah cites chapter 14 of Zechariah “in the standard fashion of Christian fundamentalists who see Israel as a sign that the End is near,” writes Gorenberg. WorldNetDaily is full of links to works that envision a Middle East in which Israel rebuilds the Temple and Jews convert in vast numbers to born-again Christianity on the eve of the Second Coming.

It is sad and true that the same people who would slam the door on Farah if he came peddling his wares in person eagerly forward his Internet “scholarship.” The Palestinian problem is real, and Joseph Farah’s mythologies can only make it worse.