“Kill the cops, Kill the Jews,” screams the dpwatchdog headline, adding “The First Amendment as the Last Refuge of Scoundrels.”
The target of John Gertz’s attack, prompted by a reader commentary appearing in the Daily Planet on April 11, 2009, is Joseph Anderson, an outspoken African-American activist who says Gertz has relied on a misinterpretation of his essay and a fabricated quote.
Anderson’s commentary, “The ‘Karmic Justice’ of Lovelle Mixon’s Act,” has sparked anonymous call to advertisers falsely alleging that the Daily Planet advocates murdering police.
Harshly critical of the Oakland Police Department, Annderson’s op-ed contends that many among Oakland’s black and brown population saw the March 21 killings of four Oakland police officers following the traffic stop of wanted felon Mixon as a form of karmic payback for past police abuses of people of color.
While the essay angered some letter writers, it did not advocate killing police officers, whether to obtain good karma—as the headline of one of Gertz’s two entries on the column implies (”an article filled with pure hate”)—or otherwise.
Gertz declares that author Joseph Anderson is an anti-Semite. The entry is a submission from Dan Spitzer, who bases the anti-Semitism claim on an alleged website comment that Spitzer claims Anderson posted on March 1, 2005, appended to an article on the Indybay website.
Asked if had seen the comment himself, Gertz said, “No, but [Spitzer] has assured me he has a paper copy.”
A search of the Internet for the comment yielded only two hits, one on Gertz’s website and the other on www.targetsofopportunity.com, a site which is “devoted to fighting terrorism and the forced integration of Marxism/Socialism/Communism into the American mainstream.”
Visitors to the site find a call to action, telling them, “These anti-American liberals are dangerous people that can no longer be ignored! One person can make a difference! There are those who read about history. There are those who want to make history. Which one do you want to be? It is time to get involved. These people are Enemies of Freedom, the American people, and the American way of life!!! Each and every one should be considered a ‘Target of Opportunity.’”
Despite the American flags prominently displayed on its pages, the website is hosted on an anonymous Canadian server, outside the reach of subpoenas from state and local courts south of the Canadian border.
While Anderson’s alleged Indymedia comment is listed under “Quotations from Famous People,” the Targets of Opportunity site also carries “The Hit List” of individuals and organizations alleged to “actively and openly support those that are trying to cause the destruction of the United States from within.”
Two local entries found on this much shorter list are “Berkeley City Council” and local forest preservation activist Karen Pickett.
The alleged Anderson comment begins, “Personally I *EXULT* everytime I see an Israeli Jew bite the dust,” and declares every Jew worldwide “a just an appropriate target for anti-colonialist liberation.”
The comments ends with “’BOUT TO MEET YO MAKER, JEWBOY? HA, HA HA!!!!!!!!”
But Anderson said there’s one problem with the comment. He didn’t write it.
“As you know, at most Indymedia websites there is absolutely no verification (or attempted verification) of a comment poster’s identity,” Anderson said, charging that “some hardcore Zionists have often liked to use that fact to try to smear by impersonating others, in particular, anti-racists and thus overtly anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian activists, like myself.”
“If anyone of importance to me and in the Bay Area progressive activist community ever believed that I made that quote, then I would have expected all of my Jewish friends—including writers, book authors, human rights organization leaders, etc., all of them anti-Zionist activists, as well as their being, among others, progressive activists in general —to have abandoned me.”
They haven’t, he said.
Anderson said neither Gertz nor Spitzer contacted him to verify the quotation.
Indymedia sites for other cities, including Los Angeles and Cleveland, have carried anti-Daily Planet posts that have been copied and pasted from John Gertz’s website.