Archive for July, 2012


Guest post by A good friend who goes by the name of
WaldenTwo

Historically, the Olympics were a period in which people, city-states and kingdoms would set aside their differences and compete. No matter the reason or the extent of a dispute,

athletes from all city-states and kingdoms would compete against each-other. However, this is not true for the modern day olympics in which there are cases where countries use the olympics as a battering ram. Specifically, some arab countries (and a particular Persian country) instruct their athletes not to compete or even come in contact with athletes from Israel.

For example, during the 1st week of the London olympics, Judoka’s from Lebanon refused to train on the same mat as Judoka’s from Israel (even-though the Judoka’s from Israel had greeted their northern neighbors warmly). The refusal of the Lebanese delegation was so adamant that the organizers of the event had to put up a temporary wall between Judoka’s of both countries. During the Athens (2004) olympic games the Iranian 66 kg world judo champion purposefully overweighed himself in order not to compete against an Israeli judoka in the 1st round (the Iranian government later awarded him with 1 million dollars for this act).

If people, city states and kingdoms were able to put their differences aside during the ancient  olympics, why is this not possible with modern nations during the modern olympics? Why do modern nations use the olympics as a political tool to batter each other, rather than use the olympics as a bridging tool?

Image: freakingnews.com

Some would say that bridging the differences between nations (especially in the case of Israel and the arab nations) is IMPOSSIBLE. However, experts previously said that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to take more swimming gold medals in one olympic games than the legendary Mark Spitz took in Munich 1972 (7 of them), come Beijing 2008 and Michael Phelps took 8.  Furthermore, judo fans and experts thought it would be IMPOSSIBLE for a Judoka to take 3 consecutive olympic gold medals- Tadahiro Nomura achieved this feat with tittles at Atlanta (1996), Sidney (2000) and Athens (2004). Moreover, until Nadia Comaneci achieved the first perfect score on the uneven bars in the Montreal Olympics (1976) it was thought to be IMPOSSIBLE (the judges didn’t even have the score 10 on their scoreboard and instead flashed 1.00).

Paraphrasing the slogan made by Adidas: IMPOSSIBLE is a big word uttered by little people- IMPOSSIBLE is nothing. Therefore, if particular Arab countries and Iran would not boycott Israel in the olympics, it would be POSSIBLE to use the olympics as a bridging tool.

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photo: flomotions.com

Despite it’s humble dimensions, Israel is both a major consumer and a significant exporter of culture.
Only in these last few months Tel Aviv was honored by great visitors such as Madonna, Guns N Roses, Chris Cornell and Morrissey who rocked the stages;  RHCP and the Prodigy are yet to come later this summer.
Alongside the “big names”, international indie artists perform in Israel every month, one of which is the Brian Jonestown Massacre band who played in Tel Aviv last week. In an interview given before the show, singer Anton Newcombe explained that he was adressed by BDS activists who urged him to cancel the gig and boycott Israel, a request he briefly  reffered to as “bullshit”.
The concert was covered positively by fans and critiques, a fact with which the BDS crowd just can’t accept.
The one and only infamous Tali Shapiro applied her usual methods of lies and harassment of which I’ve written in the past.
Frustrated with Newcomb’s attitude and refusal to give in, Shapiro posted on her blog on July 19th, a post  in which she once again personally harassing Anton and DEMANDS that he reads her materials, change his mind and express regret and understanding that performing in Israel is in fact an “apartheid supporting” deed. On this I shall use Anton’s own words- Bullshit.
The following Saturday, a person claiming to be a Joneston Massacre fan contacted The band’s leader on Twitter and linked to Shapiro’s post. This started a chain reaction of public harassment, which you can read over at Shapiro’s Twitter Account, and lasted for three days and countless tweets.
The fact that Anton ignored the ever repeating requests to boycott Israel, ignored her repeating tweets to him on the subject, ignored her Facebook mentions and blog post all didn’t matter to Shapiro. It didn’t stop her from using her regular method of addressing an artist as a “politically aware fan”, and then call all of her web-bully friends to flood his twitter feed again and again and again.
This  discussion was doomed to escalate. Anton wrote repeatedly that he is being harassed by Shapiro and the others, asked them to stop mentioning him and eventually blocked her account – And still, the BDS crowd just wouldn’t let go.
Anton Newcomb is not the only artist who’s being spammed and bugged by the BDS network of activists. They are targeting musicians and performers in general, they systematically follow upcoming concerts in Israel, and then nag them before (and AFTER…) with Facebook pages, online petitions and twitter accounts calling them to cancel their gigs- through harassing, obsessive  Spam campaigns.
Check out their Facebook page “TAG an artist Against Apartheid”‘ which I think should have been called:  “Tag an artists and mention and message and spam him till he wants to shoot himself”.
I want to dedicate this post to brave and patient Mr. Newcombe. I don’t know him personally but I do know that if it was me being harassed like that (AFTER the goddamn show!), I’d go for massive user reports…

Yesterday, Twitter was flooded with a disturbing old photo that was taken in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem, depicting of :   Settlers make fun of the Palestinian woman after the occupation authorities force her out of her home 

.It started as a  Reddit trend and was then copied and redistributed on twitter over masses of #Palestine, #apartheid and unlabeled tweets

I will not argue the claim that the photo portrays a harsh, cruel situation. No one will. It is a horrible photo, showing horrible people. But I still have to point out a couple of facts:

1. The Photo was taken a little over two years ago! on  Jerusalem day 2010. So labeling the Palestinian woman as one that was just “forced out of her home by the occupation authorities” is arguable. It doesn’t justify the deed itself, of course, which is pointless and cruel.
2. The young men photographed are not Israeli law officers. They are not soldiers and do not represent the authorities. They are religious Jewish settlers who chose to live there due to religious reasons.
3. Whoever brought this image back to life doubtlessly knew it wasn’t fresh, it was all over the net back in 2010. The settlers and the “occupation authorities” were loudly defamed over it already then. But in 2010, the attacks could be considered justified.

Disguising an old discussion as a new one is a regular technique in use of Anti-Israeli activists. In an honest debate, it is, to say the least, a lack of integrity. Not that I find integrity a general trait of BDS and plain anti-Israeli campaigns, but this one really screams:  “Okay guys, we had nothing shocking to show you today, and we heard about global warming, so we thought we’ll recycle and hope no-one notices!”

And then it’s just the usual story of a mindless followers retweeting one another without even bothering to check the facts…

I’m doing this blog most of all to create debate and awareness.
I get all sorts of comments, some extremely hateful and some are supportive. But the best comment I could get for a post Is having the person I wrote about publishing a post himself, confirming that he fully Denounces the BDS movement.

Gilad Atzmon published a post on his website, as a reaction to my latest post, saying:
” The Zionist behind the site probably doesn’t realise that Finkelstein and myself are both subject to BDS’ harassment and I am subject to a call for disavowal by the three lesser earners on the list ”

Mr. Atzmon and Mr. Finkelstein, I am not surprised (and not really sad) to hear that other BDS activistss are giving you a hard time – I’m afraid their methods of bullying are not limited to the people fully opposing them anymore, but rather to anyone not fully agreeing with them.

Activism in no way should be about dominating fear and blinded belief.

And oh, just a blogger to blogger Tip for the road – saying your activism acts are “all free of charge” and then promoting your very profiting book in the next sentence, is just.. well.. making fun of people.

Hasbara is called illegitimate by BDSers because some people are paid to do it, but making good money from your own political opinions- without the bother of being a politician – Is okay? I don’t get this logic.

BDS leaders systematically trash-talk the “Zionist Hasbara Machine”, which they claim funds pro Israeli opinions to be voiced in an unfair way – it drives money into the so called “neutral” system of activist public debate. While these activists regularly cross the very fine line between Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism (As I observed here several times), they are generally comfortable with classic anti-Semitic metaphors that compare Hasbara to sort of “elders-of-Zion” capitalist global array, fueled by a lot of money.

I thought I’d check the financial integrity of these activists, who seem so sensitive when it comes to money. I chose 5 leading names, well-known in the Anti Israeli propaganda community, and tried to find out what do they make a living out of? Are they hardworking laborers at day who non-profitly run their voluntary activities by night?

The attached image shows some information that anyone with a little patience and basic web skills can check and see for themselves. Each one of them wrote at least one book on the subject of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Books sell at average 50$ each). All of them give lectures on the subject often, usually for money, sell CDs, and write on this sole issue. I don’t know how much Al Jazeera or the Guardian pay their writers, but I’m pretty sure it’s good money.

Is their massive online activity, as well as countless media appearances, not promoting – either specifically or indirectly – Their sales? I doubt that.

Do notice Ben white’s bio from his Super active (not to say spammy-ish) twitter account:

Writer, freelance journalist, activist. Author of ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide’ & new book ‘Palestinians in Israel’.

 www.palestiniansinisrael.com

The link will take you to his blog, where the first thing you’ll see is a promotional post regarding his (Not so) new book.

I tried to find some established sources to the exact amounts of money these people are making by selling their boycott based books and lectures, but eventually realized the specifics numbers are irrelevant to the principle. The books they’re selling get high Amazon rates and keep selling for years, and well established institutions pay them to speak and write.

Boycott, divestment and economic sanctions on Israel aren’t a political tool for these people- It’s a business and a source of profit.

What will they make money of once the conflict is over? I don’t know, maybe other conflicts. In the meanwhile, I’ll start calling them Lobbyists rather than activists…