Archive for May, 2012

Eventually, culture trumps boycott. Haters will be haters, and BDSers will be loud violent spammers who, in the end of the day, achieve nothing.

They’ll spam twitter with hundreds of tweets (all coming from the same few people), they’ll falsely claim they are trending and making the conversation their own, but when it comes to results…

Habima show took place and was recieved with applause – Another one is taking place tonight.

BDS protesters showed hardly any presence and certainly no effect, apart from being arrested.

And despite the unbalanced media coverage, where it actually means something – we all #loveculture.

Share these if you support free art and culture without borders!

 

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During  the last month London has been hosting the Shakespeare Festival, where Shakespeare is being reenacted in 37 different languages including rap and sign language 🙂 and of course Palestinian Arabic.

I brought the subject up a while ago, after BDS activists have called to ban Habima, Israel’s national theater,  from the Festival and failed. The bottom line of the answer they received from the Globe was simple-  We separate the arts from politics.

Habima shows at the festival are due this week- Monday and Tuesday nights. From what I’m hearing (they’re not exactly being secretive about it…) BDS activists are planning on interrupting  Habima shows in any way the can.
 Unfortunately,  me and fellow Pro Israel activists can’t be there by body, but we sure will support Habima actors by soul, and of course spread our digital love! Others are already campaigning big time to celebrate the #BDSfail  Culture and art #win. This is the source!
If you agree with me that Shakespeare should be played in Hebrew just like in any other language, and  that boycotting Habima isn’t just pointless- But is downright harmful, just be prepared to take action too. I’ll be online Monday and Tuesday nights from 19:30 PM, ready to receive and spread reports from the shows.
Help me tweet, post and share to support actors and crew of the Hebrew play, as well as the Globe theater for making the right choice. Share the photo in this post or make a different one – just show some love…

A bombastic title? Check!
A shockingly bloody photo? Check!
A reliable source? wait, what? What for…?

If you went through your twitter feed in the last hour, you may have bumped into a fair share of re tweets to a heart breaking twit, linking to a rough photo, supposedly showing an innocent Palestinian teenager who was brutally murdered by a Zionist soldier.

Skeptical as ever, I immediately turned to search for journalistic sources to the story. I didn’t find any. What (or whom) I did find find is who I believe is patient zero of the photo on twitter, Mr. Joseph Dana. Dana is a  journalist for Le Mond, the National, GQ Germany and other magazines, and doubtlessly a very vocal pro Palestinian, anti Zionist activist.

Mr. Dana made sure to rephrase the original tweet and have others repeat it, so in one version the boy was 18 and and in another- 14, certainly a thorough journalistic work. He twitted this violent photo over and over again, and many tweeters  mindlessly re tweeted it without bothering to ask questions.

Where did you take the photo from, Mr. Dana? What is the source to the footage dozens of tweeters now replicate?
I couldn’t find any source to this photo, nor a clear answer to questions posed to Mr. Dana by a follower.

This is how the Anti Israeli propaganda machine works- A system that spreads lies quickly, efficiently and without ever bothering to check for proof. Can anyone prove me wrong?

Israel = Baaaaaaaaaaaad, Palestine = Goooooooooood.

“Ben White is a freelance journalist, writer, and human rights activist, specialising in Palestine/Israel.” At least, that’s how The Guardian and the Electronic Intifada describe him in his profile at its site.

I think that even Ben White would reverse this description, placing activism before journalism. He is eloquent and passionate but above all, he is 100% biased to the “Palestinian” cause.

As such, most of Ben White’s views are expressed in black and white: Israel = Bad, Palestine = Good.  Israel, or any movement/act that is “pro-Israeli” is portrayed through words such as “apartheid”, “colonialist”, “ethnic cleansing” etc…

Palestine, or any movement/act that is “pro-Palestinian” is portrayed through words such as “innocent”, “freedom”, “solidarity”, “victim” etc…

The following headers of two articles published in The Guardian exemplify this black and white world view.

Is the Palestinian cause as innocent as the children in these pictures? Definitely not.

But White and his editors know that images of children help sell this black and white world view and they have no qualms about using them to attract readers beyond White’s regular choir.

When Vidal Sassoon, the famed hair dresser who happened to also have served in the Israeli army,  passed away, White hurried to post this tweet:

In White’s black and white world, anyone who was in the Israeli army, which includes all Jewish Israelis who must serve in the army, is an ethnic cleanser regardless of his or her views on the conflict.

White childishly would have us believe that all Israelis are blood thirsty Zionist while his counterparts would want us to believe that all Palestinians are blood thirsty terrorists. I write “childishly” because children tend to lean towards black and white views as well until they develop empathy for others and life and experience give them the ability to discern shades of grey.

Obviously, this conflict is a little more complicated than White would have us believe and the shades of grey are as numerous as the amount of people holding specific views concerning the conflict. The truth is neither here nor there. It is everywhere. It is in the multitudes of shades of grey.

It is the lack of empathy on both sides, that keeps this conflict alive. White should grow up a little and understand that it is his lack of empathy, just like his apartheid/colonialist/racist counterparts’ that is fueling this conflict.

Perhaps if he and his equally childish counterparts did grow up and accept the shades of grey that envelop this conflict, the children of the land of Palestine AND Israel will have a chance to grow up as well.

According to Wikipedia, Omar Barghouti is ” a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) who is currently studying for a masters degree in philosophy at Tel Aviv University. ” In general, a key figure in the BDS crowd.

But, according to a video released this week Barghouti can also be described as one holding rascist, biologically determinist opinions, who observes and analyzes problems in terms of “race”.  Racism is racism, whether it’s criticizing black, white or any other group of people and judging them solely by the color of their skin. and this is what Barghouti had to say on the matter of “white people”:

“I’m normally nice, but I will not take this from a white person, lecturing us about non-violence. I added that the white race is the most violent in the history of mankind. Just look at WWI and WWII and colonialism… You just don’t lecture us on violence and non-violence…”

What I find extremely ironic is that the very man who says that feels okay with studying philosophy in a “white” university, Tel Aviv University. So you won’t have them lecturing you on violence, but you will on philosophy? You will enjoy funds of the so called “violent” Israeli government (which funds most of the academic studies costs of the public universities) to obtain your degree?

Whatever your political views may be,  share and re-post this info to have these opinions delegitimized in public,  social and academic circles. While political stances are all legitimate, racism is not.

UPDATE: This video was previously posted by fellow bloggers on Huffington Post Monitor,  CIFWatch and Critical Analyst. I stumbled upon it first on Gilad Atzmon’s website . Please keep re-posting…

The debate around the BDS’s call to ban Habima, Israel’s leading theater, from the Shakespeare Festival raises a few questions regarding the very fine line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, and on which side of the line does BDS really stand.

Anti-Semitism is quite easy to define: suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews – it is quite simply, racism based on religion.

Anti-Zionism is a bit harder to nail down: opposition to Zionistic views and the state of Israel – it is, in the the BDS movements view, a political stance.

Let’s assume that anti-Zionism is strictly legitimate and political view and right to be held by anyone who wants to change the status quo in Israel. How does this view fit with trying to boycott the Hebrew language?

Plays at the Globe to Globe Shakespeare festival are enacted in 37 languages – From common English to Cantonese, Brazilian Portuguese, Yoruba, Hip Hop (!) and even Palestinian Arabic. But not Hebrew?

The Hebrew language belongs to the Jews through the Bible for thousands of years and is not dependent only on Jews who chose to live in Israel. It exists in religious ceremonies by Jews all over the world and has existed long before the state of Israel was established or even dreamed of.

The Globe Theater denounced early on the BDS’s call to bar Habima’s performance from the festival in an open letter  based on this simple point:

“Rather, we wished to celebrate the huge variety of languages and cultures which have encountered, learnt from and extended the reach of Shakespeare’s work, and as such we were determined to reflect as wide and as comprehensive a variety of languages as possible.”

Still, the calls to boycott or simply disrupt the Hebrew performance continue.

Is this a case of anti-Zionism or anti-Semitism or both? Or perhaps, anti-Zionism is simply anti-Semitism as was so eloquently put by the late Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King in his Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend:

And what is anti-Zionist? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews.  In short, it is anti-Semitism…The times have made it unpopular, in the West, to proclaim openly a hatred of the Jews.  This being the case, the anti-Semite must constantly seek new forms and forums for his poison.  How he must revel in the new masquerrade!  He does not hate the Jews, he is just ‘anti-Zionist’! Let my words echo in the depths of your soul:  When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews — make no mistake about it.”

I am sure that when the all the BDS supporters say “Zionist”, they are referring to all Jews living in Israel regardless of their age and political beliefs.

I am equally sure that 90% of them are simply anti-Semitic.

I am even more certain that boycotting a Hebrew version of Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” is quite simply anti-Semitism.

If you agree, support the Globe Theater’s decision on their facebook page, mention their twitter user @The_Globe and contact them here.

And if you are lucky enough to be in London on the 28th or the 29th of May, buy a ticket and experience Shakespeare in Hebrew.

May 2 update: Ian Thal wrote about this intelligently and exhaustively in his blog. Worth reading.