Jay Bennish, the Colorado teacher who told his class that the U.S. “is probably the single most violent nation on planet earth” and that President Bush’s State of the Union speech “sound[ed] a lot like the things that Adolf Hitler used to say,” was given a relatively free ride by the national news media.
Bennish’s much-ballyhooed appearance on the “Today” show amounted to a laughable attempt by host Matt Lauer to spin the controversy as one manufactured by a couple of conservative students who maliciously took their teacher’s statements out of context.
“Not only do we have Jay Bennish pretending to be a geography teacher while aiming to indoctrinate his students in radical politics,” wrote columnist Jay Ambrose, “but we have Matt Lauer…pretending to be an unbiased journalist while misleading his audience about Bennish.”
Reading a transcript of Bennish’s now famous classroom rant, recorded for the ages by an uncowed student, it becomes clear that what disturbs Bennish nearly as much as George W. Bush and U.S. foreign policy is – perceptive readers will have already surmised as much, given the bent of his political beliefs – that ole debbil Israel.
Predictably hostile to the Jewish state, Bennish also reveals himself to be an abject ignoramus on the subject of Israel and the Palestinians. Here’s some of what he had to say on the subject, historical errors and all. (Note to those who may not be all that knowledgeable about the Middle East: using reliable sources, fact-check just about everything that follows.)
“How did Israel and the modern Israeli state even come into existence in the first place?… After the Israel-Zionist movement conducted what? Terrorist acts. They assassinated the British prime minister in Palestine. They blew up buildings. They stole military equipment. Assassinated hundreds of people. Car bombings, you name it. That’s how the modern state of Israel was made. Was through violence and terrorism. Eventually we did allow them to have the land. Why? Not because we really care, but because we wanted a strategic ally. We saw a way to us to get a hook into the Middle East.
“If we create a modern nation of Israel, then, and we make them dependent on us for military aid and financial aid, then we can control a part of the Middle East. We will have a country in the Middle East that will be indebted to us….
“If you were Palestinians, who are the real terrorists? The Israelis, who fire missiles that they purchased from the United States government into Palestinian neighborhoods and refugees and maybe kill a terrorist, but also kill innocent women and children.
“The Sept. 11 attacks were, according to bin Laden, a direct response to our support of the nation of Israel, which they consider to be a terrorist regime that does not have the right to control the land that the Palestinians lived on for over 1,500 years, and they also did it because… Bill Clinton, when he launched the missile attacks into Afghanistan and Sudan and killed thousands of innocent Africans and Afghanistan people – Afghanis – that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda or anything. In fact, in Sudan, he blew up the country’s largest pharmaceutical plant, which was producing medicines, alright, um, you know, that’s as far as, in their eyes, that was retaliation for those attacks.
“And so this whole idea of who attacked who first, how far back in time do you wanna go!? This is the whole thing with the Arab-Israeli conflict. Well, who was there first? Well, if you believe the Bible, you say, well, God gave the land of Canaan to the Israelites. But who was in that land when they got there? The Canaanites, who some archeologists would argue are the ancient descendants of the Palestinians. You know.
“Other archeologists say the Hebrews didn’t really come from Egypt. They were actually a group of Canaanites who decided they didn’t like the other Canaanites and developed this story afterward to justify how they killed all their neighbors and took over the land….”