By Tali Shapiro at Jun 27, 2009
Yesterday, on my way to the protest in Bil'in, Ronnie, a friend from Anarchists Against The Wall told us about their latest initiative, Boycott from Within (the site is still in the works, but you get the idea). I wanted to sign up and was given two options:
"If you sign up now, your name will be published. Later we'll have sign-ups for anonymous supporters."
There are two possible consequences of being identified with this movement:
- The initiative will go completely unnoticed, as "radical" Leftists usually do, down here.
- The Israeli government has been feeling the noose tighten lately, and has been acting unexpectedly, as a result. We could get persecuted.
I'm betting on the former, and I'm basing this on the peculiar case of the disappearing Naomi Klein.
What Israeli Journalists Can Learn from Naomi Klein
When award-wining and influential journalist and author, Naomi Klein, comes to Israel/Palestine, and decides her first stop is a tiny town (less than 2000 people) in the Occupied Territories, you'd think that would make headlines. I was very exited, to see her in Bil'in, yesterday. Apparently the press was less interested in the scoop. I did see an article in Ha'aretz newspaper (and very possibly managed to offend it's author- unbeknownst to me- standing right next to me), but it was all about Klein's views on the American financial crisis, and a few words about Iran. I only scanned, but I didn't find anything about Palestine. When I came back home I tried to look the article up in both Hebrew and English Ha'arez sites and guess what I didn't find. Not even in the Jewish World section (which had the title "Is Britney Spears going to star in a Holocaust movie?" at the top)!
This is a country that hails accomplished Jews. Natalie Portman and Bar Refaeli make us feel real good about ourselves. But we especially like to talk about a Jewish tradition of intelligentsia. Ironically enough, when you mention the name Noam Chomsky, most Israelis have never heard of him, and the few that did refer to him as (heard it with my own Jew-decedent ears):
"That crazy Israel-hater."
Klein's "No Logo" was a best-seller in Israel. It's not like she's completely anonymous, here. And yet that stature of celebritism did nothing to influence the Israeli mainstream media. The Shock Doctrine wasn't covered and neither was its author and her controversial political actions. It's interesting that a country so Jew-obsessed and so pro-Palestinian-opposed, would let such a huge scoop fly by unnoticed. Actually acknowledging Kleins visit and its objectives, in an intellectual manner, would have helped the Israeli public understand how "dangerously" influential Klein is, and how "harmful" she is to the Israeli-Jew-Supremacist status quo. Due to the Israeli mind-set, which is far beyond rational, I can only see this lack of reporting as part of the skewed premise which is the departure point of every Zionist analysis that is actually made in the media.
Zionists Against Klein
I did find three pieces about Klein. They were all written between the 12-17 of January. That's the height of the Gaza massacre and after word came out that Klein is calling to boycott Israel:
#1 City Mouse - Babel Vs. Andalus
City Mouse is the local Tel Aviv News paper. The articles are small, with a general left-leaning to them. City Mouse is a testament to the existence of a young, cultured and even conscious Tel Aviv, but it tends to keep it's little, pink nose clean of controversy (limited by my translation):
"Author of "No Logo" Calls for a Full Financial Boycott of Israel
Under the title "Enough. It's Time for a Boycott" Naomi Klein, the activist author, published a call to boycott Israel for it's policy in the territories, in The Guardian and The Nation. In the article, Klein writes that the best strategy to end the occupation is by turning Israel into the target of a globalization movement, similar to the one that ended the apartheid in South Africa.
The Canadian Klein that was made famous with her book "No Logo" (Babel Publishing), tells in the article about the way she herself boycotts Israel: "Eight years ago my books were published in Israel, in a publishing house called Babel," She writes. "When I published ‘The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Capitalism', I wanted to take part in the the boycott on Israel and that's why I contacted a small publishing house called Andalus. We formulated a contract that ensures all proceeds will go to Andalus and not to me."
Babel's publisher, Sharon Rotberd, said yesterday that if "the boycott of Babel Publishing will help solve the conflict in the Middle East, we are thankful to Naomi Klein for this opportunity.""
I can only guess (so feel free to correct me) that Babel's publisher was being sarcastic, as he used the words "conflict in the Middle East". It basically points out his consumption of the mainstream media, which calls the occupation a "conflict". Of course he also juxtaposed Babel with the whole Middle East, trying to imply that Klein's gesture is only that- an inconsiderate symbolic gesture that hurts a small, innocent company.
This is the most moderate piece of the three and by it's considerable objectivity, I can even guess it was written by someone who's pro-Klein. That said, we can blame City Mouse for further confusing it's readers and inducing the first comment on the article:
"Klein is ridiculous. What's the difference between Babel and Andalus"
The difference is in the rest of the Klein quote in The Guardian, which City Mouse forgot to mention:
"For eight years, my books have been published in Israel by a commercial house called Babel. But when I published The Shock Doctrine, I wanted to respect the boycott. On the advice of BDS activists, including the wonderful writer John Berger, I contacted a small publisher called Andalus. Andalus is an activist press, deeply involved in the anti-occupation movement and the only Israeli publisher devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew. We drafted a contract that guarantees that all proceeds go to Andalus's work, and none to me. I am boycotting the Israeli economy but not Israelis."
#2 Globes IL - On the Zionist High Horse
Here's the long-winded title in the Israeli Globes, a business paper (limited by my translation):
"The Jewish author Naomi Klein called for a financial boycott on Israel after the battle in Gaza; The British "Guardian" that published the call, refused to publish a letter of reaction."
The letter of reaction- an open letter to Klein- was written by Lilach Sigan, Globes IL editor and writer of this article. There is an official English version of the open letter at the English Globes IL, but apparently you need to register to read that (and they want my phone number), but I managed to find a copy, nevertheless.
When reading the confused ramblings of a crazed Zionist, one may tend to find themselves bored and slightly amused; Iran paranoia, Hamas government Paranoia, and tribalism:
"The bad lack of the Palestinian is that every time that are been lead by leaders that are thirsty for blood and money from Iran... The War in Gaza is not against the Palestinian but rather only on the Hamas!it is not a simple problem specially because that the Hamas people chose hospitals and schools as their hiding places. but since that the Hamas is shooting on Israel for years not, and killing children, women and men, the Israeli government had to agree on a very hard decision - the war on Gaza. but the Israeli government should spare on the Palestinian people more than its own people?"
Reading the original letter in English, however, sheds light on why it may have been passed over by The Guardian, other than "anti-Israelism", which Sigan implies in her title and letter. Sigan's atrocious English sometimes hinders understanding of what she's trying to say. In actuality, if The Guardian had published her letter they would have been doing her a disservice, showing an ignorant Zionism, that isn't only racist but also incapable of articulating itself:
"the answer is really sad but real. that although Israel has extremely well high-tech skills, and dozens of novel prizes, its public relation, is not getting even 1% of recognition. Israel is a failure when it has to explain it self."
Sigan's all-so-important-open-letter-that-just-had-to-be-published-in-a-finance-newspaper is not so much about journalism than a tapping into the Zionist mind. It was only two days ago that this self-acclaimed "non-Rightist-Centrist" and editor of a highly syndicated paper in Israel wrote an article excusing herself of silencing-of-Leftist-fascism and nationalism (limited by my translation, which is probably much less limited by what would have been her own translation):
"So whether you're radical or just Left-light, I have a small- not Rightist, but centrist- request. It goes something like this: It's great to open your mouth and express opinions, regardless of what they are. It's blessed to criticize, especially if you're journalists, that is after all your job. But there's thesis and there's style. Those who are quick to fill their mouthes with garbage and violently sully the state and those who side with it, as if the state were its most bitter enemy, is fanatical."
So obviously, neither Sigan nor her paper is aimed at anarchists (a.k.a "fanatics"), or anti-capitalists (it's interesting that Sigan had nothing to say about the fact that The Shock Doctrine sinks its teeth, deep into the heart of capitalism and consumerist culture). Who is it aimed at, then? Let's look at the first three comments, now displayed on the page to the Klein article:
"#154 Naomi Who? She should start taking care of herself and not her people.
Kill yourself and get 70 [male] virgins."
"#153 Dear Lilac Sigan
Congratulations for a brilliant article. Only one thing disturbed me - namely, your reference to a non existing entity called "palestinian people". For lack of a better name, please refer to them in future as "Arabs"."
"#152 I'm also half Ashkenazi response to 34
But don't offend I hate the arabs so don't generalize the Ashkenazi are Jews. My parents live beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem so no racism please"
#3 Ma'ariv - Intellectualizing Hate
Ma'ariv is the second most read newspaper in Israel. It's Mein Cumfish pieces like this (original Hebrew version) that show off the irrationality of the Zionist and his resulting inability to analyze reality correctly.
It starts off with a lie:
"Hamas violated the cease fire agreement with Israel.."
And smoothly junctures into strange Bushist claims:
"Al Hayat published that the government of Gaza is going to impose Sharia law. The Israeli operation is postponing the implementation, but very soon new punishment measures ranging from chopping of hands, lashings and executions, will be introduced in Gaza. The Taliban has made a comeback in Gaza. Hamastan is not alone in its desire of Sharia law. The chant heard in demonstrations in London and other locations is "Allah Akbar". This shouldn't come as a surprise. 40% of Muslims in Britain support the implementation of Sharia law in Britain."
You see, according to Yemini, Israel blitzed Gaza in order to stop Sharia law from being implemented in Gaza. We were doing the Gazan's a favor!
My favorite part, however, comes next:
"The big question is however, what are the likes of Robert Fisk, Naomi Klein and Gideon Levi doing with this crowd."
That's kind of funny, seeing as the mainstream media generally likes to deny these peoples existence.
""We are against Sharia law" they will tell us. That's true - they are against it. "The disagreement with Hamas should have been solved in another way" they will excuse themselves. "Israel should have accepted the results of the Palestinian people's vote" because that is democracy - accepting the Palestinian's right to elect the own leadership.
They add that "if only Israel wouldn't have blockaded Gaza. If only Israel was generous towards the Palestinians, especially those in the Gaza Strip, and allowed them free passage, work, schooling, medical treatment etc. etc. If only Israel would have done one of the above, this whole conflict would have been avoided. Hamas wouldn't be forced to fire rockets at Israel and all the bloodshed would never happen".
Global opinion seems to think in the same way, the West as a whole and especially the Zionists are the oppressors. Israel massacres Palestinians. Globalization and national statehood exploit the wretched and these oppressed people must retaliate.
These are the main claims of the lie industry and they should be exposed."
I think the above mentioned Leftist journalists are quite honest about the above statements. I don't think there's need of exposure, as these opinions are stated, very clearly, again and again, and without coercion or trickery. The most hilarious bit is that these words of humanism are written by Yemini with utter shock and indignation.
Specifically referring to Klein, Yemini exhibits the Zionist inability to step out of the victim/hero paradigm, and seems to honestly believe Israel is fighting to survive and in doing so will save the rest of the world:
"Did you read an article by Naomi Klein about boycotting Hamas or the Islamic University? Where did she get the nerve to write her article about Israel? One can only assume the Naomi Klein would demand a boycott on the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising for resisting extermination.
Klein and her kind are not moral beacons but moral criminals. The problem is that the majority of public opinion is subjected to their distorted propaganda. This majority still doesn't realize that Israel isn't fighting against the Palestinians in Gaza. Israel is fighting Iran and the global Jihad movement's which preach hatred and extermination and are a threat to the free world. Hamas and Gaza are their first line of attack. Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah are happy. Their work is being done by Naomi Klein and the other moral criminals."
I find pseudo-intellectuals like Yemini to be extremely dangerous. Of course, the whole article is riddled with Islamophobia, but all under the guise of liberalism, the likes NeoCons are now exhibiting towards Iran:
"The Arab and Muslim worlds have an array of different views. There is the dark, Jihad ideology followed by Hamas, Al Qaeda, Hizballah, the Taliban and their type. But there are many others opinions. The problem is that the moral criminals don't support them and choose to stand alongside the Islamists. They are the leaders of the lie industry which strengthens the dark forces. Any expression of pro Western views or compromise by an Arab intellectual they denounced as treason and any Hamas rocket gets them started on fabricating excuses."
Articles like Yemini's are the reason why Boycott from Within was founded. Because we Israeli humanitarians have lost all faith in Israel's ability to scrutinize itself. We are asking the international community to please help save us from ourselves. A cry that will most probably go unnoticed, here at "home", so we're hoping it will catch on, on the outside.