Iranian state run media, PressTV, may have surpassed itself this time airing the outrageous views of Michael Harris who blamed Israel for a number of mass shootings in America, including the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 26 people, including twenty children, two of whom were Jewish. Harris also blamed ‘Israeli death squads’ for other recent shootings, including the Arizona shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, the Aurora ‘Batman’ shooting, and the Breveik massacre in Norway.
Harris is the financial editor at Veterans Today (a website widely considered antisemitic) and is a person known for associating with neo-Nazis. Harris is also a former Republican candidate for governor of Arizona and GOP campaign finance chairman.
During a panel discussion Harris explained his theory:
“And now here we go, here’s a revenge killing in the US, sponsored by Israel, that killed all these innocent children. And that is something that Israelis do very, very well. They target the innocent, they target children, they target women and they avoid the issue. Because they’re angry they didn’t get their way and now Palestine has standing in the U.N. and Israel is going to be subject to the International Criminal Court and their leadership is going to be taken to task. So let’s connect the dots here about what’s going on globally, geo-politically with Israel involved.”
The other panelists dismissed Harris’ theories, saying that Israel had nothing to do with the school shooting but the PressTV host allowed Harris to continue his rant.
PressTV then followed the interview by publishing an article on Harris’ theory on its website by Gordan Duff with the headline “Israeli death squads involved in Sandy Hook bloodbath: Intelligence analyst”. The PressTV article claims that Israel staged the attack “to teach America a lesson”. Bizarrely the article also connected Harris’ ridiculous claims to the appointment of Chuck Hagel:
“Today, Israeli news gave further credence to Harris’ analysis when they issued the following statements regarding the probable nomination of Hegel:‘Chuck Hagel’s statements and actions regarding Israel have raised serious concerns for many Americans who care about Israel,’ said the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Executive Director, Matt Brooks. ‘The Jewish community and every American who supports a strong US-Israel relationship have cause for alarm if the president taps Hagel for such an important post.'”
PressTV, Iran’s 24-hour English language ‘news’ network, has a well-earned reputation for reporting anti-Israel and antisemitic stories as well as wild conspiracy theories. For example, on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Ku Klux Klan member David Duke appeared on PressTV claiming that Zionists masterminded the attacks on 9/11.
The Washington Post commented that the PressTV story while both ‘sad’ and ‘upsetting’ illustrates the ‘bankruptcy of Iranian propaganda’:
“The PressTV story is sad and upsetting, mostly for its incredible insensitivity but also, to a lesser degree, for the obvious bankruptcy of Iranian propaganda. Who, exactly, is this story supposed to convince? Iran is not North Korea; information flows in and out of the country much more freely, and though public attitudes toward the United States are not exactly warm, nor are they so twisted by hatred or ignorance that such an outlandish story as this would seem likely to convince many readers. And, beyond the Mike Harrisses of the world (he also blames last year’s Norway shooting on Israel), it doesn’t seem likely to exactly turn American opinion away from Israel or toward Iran. And yet here it is, outrageous, offensive, and clearly counterproductive, for all the world to see.”
The Anti-Defamation League responded to Harris’s statements stating:
“Veterans Today is known for promulgating some of the most outrageous anti-Israel and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and Press TV has been providing a platform for its contributors and other American anti-Semites, conspiracy theorists and Holocaust deniers for years.”