Joan Rivers and Yasser Arafat
By Alan Hart
When I heard the news that Jewish American comedienne Joan Rivers had died, I recalled the images of a passing moment I had with her in the mid 1980s when I was on a coast-to-coast public speaking tour of America to promote the message of my book Arafat Terrorist or Peacemaker? For a few moments I feared that I was going to be the cause of her death from a heart attack.
I had just left a radio studio in San Francisco after an hour-long interview (with adverts every few minutes, of course) in which I had been allowed to explain that Arafat had prepared the ground on his side for peace on terms which any rational government in Israel would accept with relief.
I was on my way out of the building through a long corridor in which two people could just about pass each other without touching. Joan Rivers, the next guest on the show, was approaching, protected by three aggressive looking minders.
As we drew level I stopped and put my book, with Arafat its cover photograph, in front of her face. (When he first saw the picture I had chosen, Arafat said: “Not very pretty”. I replied, “Abu Amar, with great respect you are not very pretty.”)
Joan Rivers stopped, shrieked, buried her head in her hands and seemed to be choking. Her legs also seemed to be close to buckling. One of her three minders pushed me away and against the wall and the other two propelled her towards the studio. No words were exchanged but if looks could kill I would have been killed.
“You deserve to be dead,” Rivers told Palestinians
It was on that tour of America that I was made completely aware of how the Zionist lobby works to make life as difficult as possible for truth-tellers if it fails by bullying and/or blackmail to persuade radio stations not to give them air time.
The usual practice of many American call-in radio shows is to trail their guests a week in advance. This is meant to give listeners who are interested in a particular topic or issue time to think about a question they might like to ask. It also gives the Zionist lobby time to get organized.
In one major American city where I was trailed (I cannot remember which one and identifying it would take research time that I do not have), I was booked for an hour. Every single call-in question was hostile to me and Arafat and everything he represented. Then came a small miracle. At the end of the hour, the host of the show looked at me and then said into the microphone: “Alan, I think we both know what has happened. Can we do another hour?”
For the second hour, which the Zionist lobby had not anticipated and could not fill with its own verbal hit men and women, every single call was from open-minded Americans who wanted to hear what I had to say and ask me sensible questions.
“The most dangerous terrorist organization in the US”
That particular tour was originally scheduled for three weeks. As it happened it was extended to three months by popular demand. It went on so long that my wife came from the UK to be with me for two weeks, and she was sitting next to me in a studio in Chicago when a caller said: “Mr Hart, you won’t leave this city alive.” The show’s host said to the caller: “Are you threatening Mr Hart’s life?” The caller said “Yes”.
That didn’t surprise me because when I arrived in America at the start of the tour an FBI officer requested a meeting with me. He wanted me to know that the most dangerous terrorist organization in the US was the Jewish Defence League (JDL). And he gave me two pieces of advice.
The first was that I should never hire a self-drive car, always go by taxi. (The obvious implication, stated, was that if I was driving myself about a bomb could be placed under the car). The second was that if I stayed more than two days in a hotel in any major city I should never return to it at night if I was walking by the same route.
In 2010 Joan Rivers tweeted a joke about her death. “With all the plastic surgery I’ve had, I’m worried when I die God won’t recognise me.” If she was still alive today, I would say to her something like: “If he does recognise you, perhaps you should worry about whether he will forgive you for saying that, because they voted for Hamas, the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip prison camp deserved what they were getting when Israel was delivering them more death and destruction.