Tulsa blogger baselessly smears local Muslims, critic

Michael Bates, right-wing Tulsa blogger and writer for the local weekly rag, published a blog post titled Tulsa Muslim leaders express solidarity with Hamas terrorists on 1/3/09. 

When I criticized his description of local religious leaders as inflammatory, and his twisted description of the Israeli invasion of Gaza, he responded “If you believe that Hamas is the aggrieved party, SK, you’re either ignorant or someone who passionately hates Jews. I’m guessing it’s the latter.”

Since I did not make any statements supporting Hamas, following if/then logic, I am neither ignorant nor an anti-Semite.  Mr. Bates refused to publish my reasoned response and invitation to dialogue, so I am publishing it here.  The disinformation tactics Mr. Bates uses are a microcosm of the heavy handed repression that we see around the globe.  


On Janary 3rd, 2009, Michael Bates, writer for the Urban Tulsa weekly and BatesLine.com, published a blog post titled Tulsa Muslim leaders express solidarity with Hamas terrorists.  The post headlined with the unsupported claim against local religious leaders, who were among 150+ people protesting the ongoing Israeli invasion of Gaza

I took issue with his description of the protestors, and the conflict between Israel and Gaza (more), and submitted the following comment, which was held for approval, and approved:

Express solidarity with terrorists?! That’s inflammatory.

I believe the terrorists are the IDF, who as I write are bombing mosques and rolling tanks into one of the most densely populated areas on Earth, where there can be no bomb attacks without civilian casualties.

I believe the terrorist is the apartheid regime in Israel, which is in violation of dozens of UN resolutions, that would have resulted in invasion already were the inhabitants brown-skinned.

Although I have at times enjoyed your coverage of the local Tulsa scene, I am appalled by your twisted logic that justifies genocide. I would ask that rather than fan the flames of hatred, you use your voice to encourage those who would work towards peace.

Shortly after, Mr. Bates responded:

It’s not inflammatory. It’s the truth. It’s Hamas that seeks genocide, not only of the Jews of Israel, but of all Jews everywhere. Hamas was given everything it wanted by Israel, under pressure from the US and Europe, and instead of getting about the business of building a civil society, Hamas remained focused on killing Jews.

Israel has given peace plenty of chances. Hamas doesn’t want peace. They want millions of dead Jews. It’s time for Israel to destroy Hamas and liberate the Palestinian people from Hamas’ evil rule.

If you believe that Hamas is the aggrieved party, SK, you’re either ignorant or someone who passionately hates Jews. I’m guessing it’s the latter.

I submitted a response, twice, which he has refused to approve.  My response, below, was reasoned and calm, with an invitation to dialogue.  His decision to label me a bigot, and refusal to allow a response in the same forum, gave further support to my growing belief that Mr. Bates is a disinformation agent, uninterested in dialogue or common ground, but only in asserting his own point of view. 

Of course, Mr. Bates’ behavior is not unique, and is played out on the larger scale of worldwide repression and aggression.  I am disappointed in Mr. Bates for his choices, and have no use for his point of view or articles.  There are other, better sources for local news.

My unpublished response:

Name-calling is the first refuge of those who cannot refute an argument with facts. I do not equate the actions of the Israeli government with all Jewish people, in Israel and beyond.  That’s as ridiculous as labeling critics of US policy anti-Christian.

It is inflammatory and irresponsible to accuse local religious leaders of sympathy with terrorism in the society we live in today, where the US government retains the right to hold government critics indefinitely.  These claims are also unsupported in your blog post or elsewhere.

I did not make any statements defending Hamas, nor call them aggrieved.  I support the right of the Palestinian people, and every human in the world, to live without fear of violence.

The current administration of Israel, whose policies and actions I strongly disagree with, is invading a civilian population, using collective punishment, illegally disproportionate response, and weapons banned by many international treaties.  The state of Israel is committing war crimes denounced by people of every nation in the world, and leaders of numerous nations, and in violation of dozens of UN resolutions.  The United States stands alone in unwavering support of every Israeli war crime, vetoing numerous other condemnations of Israeli actions.

Despite differences in our perspectives and conclusions, we have more in common than not.  I would ask that you work towards engaging in dialogue rather than constant name-calling (‘terrorist sympathizer’, ‘ignorant’, ‘someone who hates Jews’.).  It is only by focusing on our common humanity and engaging in constructive dialogie that we can bring peace to the nations of the world. – SK

“This is the way of peace: overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love” – Peace Pilgrim

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

And you thought he would publish that? It’s a blog, it’s his opinion. You have your own, it’s your opinion.

Comment by rjjrdq

Publish ‘that’? Why not? There is great value in robust discussion; I only remove spam from my filters.

Bates of course has every right to publish or not publish comments as he wishes. He chose to publish my first comment, which opened discussion. He ended discussion with me as he saw fit, when unable to use any facts to support his claims.

Bates’ tactic of name-calling is a distractionary method of avoiding substantive debate and discouraging others from taking a stand for fear of the same. Bates is obviously only interested in asserting his opinion, not in any constructive dialogue. My mistake was in thinking that he was interested in other points of view, and open to new information. Unable to respond in the forum where the exchange began, I brought it here to respond to the defamation of character.

Comment by hope2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: