The following letter by Mitchel Cohen was published in the Linewaiters’ Gazette, the newspaper of the Park Slope Food Coop.

Let me ask a question: What do terrorists eat?

Halal? Kosher? Organic? Vegetarian?

Do they shop at the Park Slope Food Coop? A government-designated “terrorist” might be working right next to you!

One Coop member (Daniel McGowan) spent 7 years in jail for so-called “eco-terrorist” acts — attempting to save the planet. A former member of the Coop (Paul Bermanzohn) was shot by the Klan — who were assisted by the FBI — 40 years ago and was seriously wounded, for demonstrating with people maligned as “terrorists”. Five were killed. Currently, people who visit Planned Parenthood — many Coop members do! — are more and more portrayed as frequenting a “terrorist” organization, and of being complicit in that organization’s “crimes”.

The word “terrorist” — like the phrase “hate speech” used to designate the words of those opposing the state of Israel’s policies — is so imprecise as to be undefinable. Who is a terrorist? Says who? What actually is “hate speech”?

Ronald Reagan once praised the terrorist death squads in Nicaragua known as “contras”, calling them “the moral equivalent of our founding fathers.” Say what? Oliver North secretly sold TOW missiles to Iran, he testified, and channelled that cash to fund the contras.

Reagan’s equation is instructive. Most of the founding fathers were indeed terrorists. Just ask the American Indians. Or the slaves the founding fathers owned.

More and more events are portrayed as “terrorist attacks”. The last two years have recorded 350 “mass killings” in the U.S. Officially, mass killings are incidents in which 4 or more people are murdered. 300 of the perpetrators were Christian. Two were committed by people who said they were Moslems. Guess how many of the 350 mass killings are considered to be “terrorist-related”. (If you need a hint, you really should ratchet-up your critical thinking. Red Alert!)

“Terrorist” has become a word devoid of historical consistency. Why is Saddam Hussein but not Hillary Clinton seen as a terrorist, despite Clinton’s authorizing the bombing of Libya? Why isn’t Barack Obama’s targeting-by-drone considered “terrorism”, blowing up hospitals, schools, wedding parties?

The labeling of someone as “terrorist” or of being connected to a “terrorist” group is an opportunistic political ploy. Coop members who oppose Israel’s policies towards Palestinians are labeled “hate speakers” by Israel’s defenders in the Gazette; they risk being marginalized, losing their jobs and becoming targets of violent attack, so many stay quiet here.

Those maligning others as “using hate speech” are following the criminal Sheldon Adelson’s pro-Zionist playbook. Some are funded by front groups he’s set up for the purpose of casting aspersions on those (like me) who demand justice for Palestine, and for all people everywhere.

I hate the term “hate speech”. Like “terrorism”, it means whatever abusers of the language want it to mean. I like to think of Coop members as thwarters of mindless acquiescence to received doctrine. We are proud “Terra-ists”, part of the “Terra-ist International” out to save this planet. Look around the Coop. This is what terra-ists eat.

Mitchel Cohen

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