This week on Fox News, Michael J. Knowles, a writer for The Daily Wire, called 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg a “mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left.”
His rhetoric should be no surprise. Knowles has repeatedly and viciously attacked Palestinians over the past couple of years.
The difference is that talking heads can still make racist statements against Palestinians without consequence.
Knowles discovered that attacking children – at least white children – is not so readily dismissed.
Fox apologized for Knowles’ “disgraceful” comments about Thunberg and said it has “no plans” to book Knowles again.
Last year on his YouTube show Knowles made light of the Israeli military killing and maiming Palestinian “protesters” – as he put it in scare quotes – including children, demonstrating against the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem.
Knowles signaled that he would be all right with greater Israeli violence, noting that 50 protesters killed out of 40,000 suggests “it could have been a lot worse.”
In a December 2017 tweet he claimed that a UN Security Council resolution – reaffirming the illegality of Israeli settlements in occupied territory – was anti-Semitic.
Between Wakanda and Narnia
The ever-trolling Knowles indicates he doesn’t know how to find Palestine on a map.
“The country of Palestine is to the west of Wakanda and to the east of Narnia” – fictional locations – “if you’re trying to locate it on a map anywhere.”
He made the same claim in an interview on Fox News last year.
In that interview, he misogynistically dismissed Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, then a candidate for Congress, as a “girl.”
Knowles also referred to the “myth of Israeli-occupied Palestine.”
This is human erasure, the kind of talk that paves the way to war crimes of the sort Israel has committed repeatedly since its founding in 1948 with the ethnic cleansing of some 800,000 Palestinians.
Making the typical case of a supremacist, Knowles argued that there’s a cultural difference between what he clearly views as a superior Israeli culture and an inferior Palestinian one.
He said there’s “a peaceful United States ally, working democracy in Israel and people throwing Molotov cocktails and trying to detonate bombs and burning tires in the Arab territories in the Gaza Strip.”
Knowles is aware that he’s on racist terrain as he noted that 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was “pilloried” for making a similar case regarding “the difference between the Palestinian Arab culture and the Israeli Jewish culture.”
Of the Romney incident, Knowles recalled that “they said it was Islamophobic or whatever made-up word they decided to use.”
This May on his YouTube show, Knowles attacked Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, as a “lunatic” for this tweet:
He then proceeded to castigate Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib for retweeting Munayyer and adding her own thoughts.
Knowles questioned Tlaib’s national allegiance, suggesting she’s more loyal to Palestinians than the US. He also falsely alleged “she doesn’t like Jews” and accused her of engaging in “pure terrorist propaganda.”
He then claimed she has “become a mouthpiece for some of the worst terrorists in the world.”
Palestinian freedom, according to Knowles, is “a freedom that would undercut everybody else’s freedom.”
But this was all presumably known and acceptable to Fox News before they invited him on their program.
Israel’s only blame in May according to Knowles – who does not cite ethnic cleansing, occupation or discriminatory laws – is that “they haven’t just strung up every single one of those filthy terrorists, one after another.”
Including Muslims in the “West” is, he suggests, to “invite your own death” and to engage in “cultural suicide.”
Yet, within the previous few months, Knowles – a big supporter of President Donald Trump – signaled that Saudi involvement in the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was acceptable.
As for the environmental concerns raised by Thunberg in the first place, it’s difficult to know whether Knowles would be pleased at the harm climate change is expected to cause Palestinians or would dismiss the consequences as the claims of children and politicians rather than scientists.
Knowles may be off Fox News for the moment, but he’ll retain his perch at The Daily Wire where editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro shares his extreme anti-Arab animus and belief in Israeli superiority.