3 June 2012 - 12:42pm | posted by | 36 comments

SCARY: Ipads, smartphones, Channel 4Seven, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Homeland, The Undateables and boycotting Israel

SCARY: Ipads, smartphones, Channel 4Seven, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Homeland, The Undateables and boycotting IsraelSCARY: Ipads, smartphones, Channel 4Seven, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding,

Here are two frightening examples of how social media is changing our lives.

According to Robin Henry in The Sunday Times: “Parents are using iPad video calls to snoop on the lives of their estranged or former spouses.”

Apparently a lot of children whose parents had split got gifts of smartphones and iPads for Christmas last year from their dads.

The kids were then encouraged to use the new technology to help dad spy on mum.

In one case a mother walked into her living room wearing only a nightie to find her former husband staring at her from the screen of her child’s iPad.

It doesn’t say what he was wearing, but Louise Halford, a partner in Pannone Solicitors says her firm has seen a steady stream of cases in recent months.

Now courts are restricting the child’s use of parental video calls to just one room.

I wonder if we’ll soon need special court-appointed spy cameras to enforce those judgements.

Definitely shades of Big Brother there and I don’t mean the boring programme on the box.

Although, coincidently, the TV version of Big Brother could soon become a beneficiary of a new social media buzz.

The headline on Maggie Brown’s reports in The Observer is: “Coming to your screen, the TV channel with programmes chosen by Facebook”.

Channel 4 are about to launch 4Seven, a TV channel which lets viewers choose what’s on. According to the paper: “...shows that create a critical buzz in newspapers, chatter on social media through Twitter and Facebook, and reaction on the overnight log of comments kept by the broadcaster can be repeated the next day.”

The idea came from Dan Brooke, the station’s chief marketing and communications officer, who says: “Repeats used to be a dirty word, but now there is so much on viewers say they are missing the best stuff they want to see.

“People do use online catchup but viewers really want to watch on big screen, in their lounge.”

That view sounds as if it would receive approval from the estranged dads, but I’m not so sure about the whole thing.

According to The Observer “Hit shows like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Homeland and The Undateables are expected to be popular on the new channel.”

As I stated earlier, frightening.

Equally scary is an article in The Independent on Sunday entitled: “Israel is new South Africa as boycott calls increase”. If that’s the paper’s view it can hardly describe itself as independent.

The sub-heading reads: “After Madonna began her world tour there last week, campaigners urge cutting of cultural ties”.

This is misleading because the boycott has been inexistence for years so it’s a bit like the Channel 4 repeats, without the buzz.

The story calls for a cultural ban on Israel because of its oppression of Palestinians.

It fails to mention that for every minute of its short existence (formed in May 1948) Israel’s citizens have been under constant threat of attack from heavily-armed Arab hordes encamped on its borders.

Nor does the paper remind the readers that modern suicide bombing was created by Palestinians with the specific intention of wiping out Jews in Israel.

But what really got my blood boiling was the suggestion that somehow a boycott is a legitimate tactic.

I’m sure Journalist Jonathan Owen will be prouder of other stories he’s written.

He describes how Omar Barghouti, a member of a Palestinian group calling for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel, is unhappy about Madonna’s performance there.

Others who have, quite sensibly, ignored the likes of Mr Barghouti are Paul McCartney, Elton John, Rihanna and Leonard Cohen.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lenny Kravitz and Guns N’ Roses plan to play Israel this year, thus boycotting the boycott.

Good on them, I Say.

Here’s why: boycotts are illogical.

If you are going to boycott something on a principle, like I’m sure Barghouti and Co are, then you ought to be consistent. Otherwise you leave yourself open to the accusation of being a bully.

For example, those opposed to the UK’s intervention in Iraq or Afghanistan (and very many people who don’t like Israel feel this way) should boycott the UK as well.

Perhaps they could start by refusing to buy British goods, or drinking our water, using our electricity, roads, schools etc.

This would be a very good test of their principles.

I am a man of principle, that’s why I will not be boycotting The Independent on Sunday.

Despite my disgust!

COLIN GRANT is a former journalist who now runs Spectrum PR, a Glasgow-based public relations and media consultancy.


3 Jun 2012 - 19:20
gjack66409's picture

Israel is guilty of many things but it should never be forgotten that it only gets one chance. The whole surrounding region wishes only one thing; the total destruction of Israel and should the Israelis lose one war that will be achieved. The critics of Israel would do well to bear this in mind and accept that the circumstances in which they live are different from any other country on the planet,

3 Jun 2012 - 19:54
ceeja16203's picture

So called "activists" who suggest these boycotts are complete hypocrites. They're the ones who "Occupy London" and vow to camp in their tents whilst preaching to us about the big bad corporate world. And then the very same people book into the Hilton, and drink countless cups of Starbucks coffees!!! Mr Grant is bang on the button.

3 Jun 2012 - 20:49
Demosthenes's picture

Another interesting multi-topic article Colin.

With regards to the first ‘problem,’ in my experience smartphones and ipads are not all that shock resistant. A good solid thump against a wall (repeat if necessary) should resolve the problem with the added bonus of teaching the ungrateful brat a valuable lesson on the hazards of disloyalty.

A channel where the content is selected on Facebook sounds great…not. The entire seventh series of Friends followed by back to back episodes of the OC, topped off with a Glee marathon. Actually, that sounds more like a normal day’s viewing on E4 so the new channel seems a bit pointless. Oh well…

Back in the old cold war days anti-American political writers like Jonathan Owen were often described as useful idiots. In the modern era, the only thing that seems to have changed is their usefulness.

4 Jun 2012 - 09:24
alans20959's picture

The majority of music artists will give no thought to the political enviroment of the countries where they play. With internet file sharing, and supermarkets driving down prices, there is now no money to be made from record sales. These artists make their living from touring, and more and more are now visiting countries which in the past had not been considered financially viable tour stops in order to open themselves to new markets. If the demand, and therefore the money, is there then artists will play in these countries. And as Colin says, if artists started to boycott countries on political grounds, there wouldn't be very many places left to play. Besides, isn't rock n' roll all about rebelling against the people who try to tell you what to do, where to go and what to believe.

4 Jun 2012 - 11:29
mikeb51660's picture

As well as the debate on the ethics of boycotts, it would be interesting to understand how effective they actually are. The boycott against Apartheid South Africa was one of the biggest boycotts that I can remember. Has there been any serious study or investigation on how influential this was in changing the attitudes of those in power at the time.?

5 Jun 2012 - 08:29
gordo19977's picture

What a great idea on how to spy on others via iPads. I wonder how many courts will now be accepting this as evidence in divorce cases? Also it is interesting to read how social media will influence how we will view TV. Does this mean that in the next few weeks we will hear and see repeats of England's performances in the Euro's? How many times do you think the commentator will mention 1966??

8 Jun 2012 - 22:59
seans10601's picture

Colin Grant objects that The Independent on Sunday didn't mention that Israel’s citizens have been under constant threat of attack.

But Colin grant fails to mention why! Colin, if you object to people mentioning something, you should mention the relevant facts yourself.

In the 1940s, Jewish immigrants used violence and terrorism to drive hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes. The Palestinians are still in refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank to this day.

For example, in Deir Yassin, Jewish terrorists killed 107 Palestinian men, women and children. Then survivors were put in trucks and paraded as showpieces. Zionists drove round other Arab villages in trucks with loudspeakers, threatening similar violence.

As a result of this and similar atrocities, 300,000 Arabs fled their homes. The people living in Gaza today are some of those refugees, plus their children. The United Nations has passed several resolutions saying they should be allowed home. But Israel has ignored these resolutions.

More recently, Israel blockaded Gaza, turning it into a prison camp for 400,000 people. As a result, War on Want estimated that 70% of Palestinians in Gaza are living in acute poverty. That is amongst the worst levels of poverty in the world. Hundreds have died of illness and starvation.

In view of that, it's not surprising that Gazans turned to violence. They want their land back, but everything else they've tried has failed. Israel could end the violence by restoring justice, but it has not. By this, I mean justice as defined by the UN. Israel could either let Palestinians back to their homes, or pay adequate compensation.

Colin also objects to the paper not mentioning that that modern suicide bombing was created by Palestinians. Well, Colin, if suicide bombing was your only weapon against a heavily armed state, and you had suffered a huge injustice which was killing your children and depriving you of the right to earn a living, and you had no other hope - then you might well be tempted towards suicide bombing too.

Finally, Colin also fails to mention that Israel has killed many times more innocent Palestinians than Palestinians have killed Jews.

Colin, if you want to object to people not mentioning things, why do you fail to mention the facts that explain the Palestinian actions you're complaining about?

I don't suppose it could be because you were simply ignorant of the history that explains how the Palestinian ended up where they are now?

I suggest that if you knew about that history, you would certainly not be entitled to any "blood boiling" in response to their actions. You might say the Palestinians have done themselves no favours. You might also say it's wrong. But if you knew the history, you might also also understand how anyone in those circumstances could be tempted towards desperate measures.

Blood boiling strikes me as a completely inappropriate response to someone who has turned into a suicide bomber against those who deprived him of his family home and killed his children.

For anyone who wants to understand more of the background to the conflict, both ancient and modern, could I suggest the following, as it is written from a neutral standpoint and is very clear

The Palestine-Israel Conflict: A Basic Introduction - Gregory Harms

9 Jun 2012 - 10:37
ColinGrant's picture

First of all Sean thank you for taking the time to post such a lengthy and detailed comment. I welcome all comments whether they are supportive of my views or not.

While I disagree with what I believe is your selective view of history, and there are plenty of examples which tell the other side of the story, the real point of my article concerns the issue of boycotts.

In general terms they strike me as bully boy tactics.

Why don't all these outraged right-on do-gooders boycott Chinese products (human rights), Arab oil (human rights including anti-gay legislation, oppression of women and victimisation of ethnic minorities like Christians and Jews), Anything and everything from the US and UK (invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan) etc etc etc?

Why is Israel singled out?

My view is that if you believe a boycott is a legitimate weapon to attack a transgressor then it ought to be applied across the board.

That would be a principled approach, one which is clearly lacking in this case.

10 Jun 2012 - 21:38
seans10601's picture

Colin, thanks so much for taking the time to reply.

You ask why the boycotters don't chase all the other wrong-doers in the world. The short answer is that none of us can right every wrong. We have to choose which causes to pursue.

So why Israel? First and foremost, there's a lot of death and suffering going on. Thousands of innocent Palestinians killed and 4.7 million descendants of the Palestinian refugees. For me, that makes it a priority issue.

Second, there's a question of appropriate campaigning tactics. We might disagree with Saudi Arabia's anti-gay laws, but no-one disputes Saudi Arabia's right to exist as a country. Given that, the starting point for any work against their anti-gay laws should be to find allies within the local population and let them work on their conservative fellow citizens. Given that they are a legitimate state, you have to pay some respect to their autonomy. So the situation has to be more extreme before you interfere.

In contrast, Israel is oppressing people outside its own legitimate borders. In that situation, we're more entitled to interfere, because we're not infringing their autonomy.

Reason number three is the most important: We helped set Israel up. That means Westerners in general, and the UK in particular. So we have a special responsibility for what's happening in Palestine - unlike China. We have to try and correct the wrongs we set in motion.

And by the way, reason number four, those historical links mean that Palestine has always produced more headlines than events in China. So we know more about what's going on. In addition, a lot of Israeli families came from Western nations in Europe and America, so we have a better intuitive grasp of the culture.

If you know very little about a situation, you ought to be careful about interfering. But if you know plenty, then you're entitled to have a strong opinion and to take action. We know a lot about Israel, but less about China. It's like at home - you know your brother, so you're entitled to criticise him if he does wrong. But if a complete stranger does the same thing, you might not be entitled to criticise him, because you don't know the ins and outs of it. South Africa was a priority issue for the same reason. Without this connection, we would not feel the same way about Israel.

11 Jun 2012 - 00:19
ColinGrant's picture

Sean, I think you have conjured up some pretty poor reasons why you're picking solely on Israel. There are always two sides to every story and the Middle East is no different.

You don't seem to find it possible to lay even a fraction of the blame on the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world who have been attempting to destroy Israel from the moment it was born.

It, like Saudi Arabia, is a legitimate state with a right to exist free from threats of destruction. Unlike Saudi Arabia Israel faces these threats on a daily basis.

As I have already explained to you, I believe the Israelis have a duty to try to solve this problem. But every suicide bomber provides them with another excuse to do nothing.

There is no question in my mind that the Palestinians deserve their own state. But so do the Jews.

I agree with you about the issue of compensation for those Palestinians who have lost everything. Of course many more Jews were forced to flee Arab land when Israel was established and they also ought to be compensated.

Finally, I think it is important to remember that it wasn't Israel which created the Palestinian refugee camps with their miserable conditions. It was the unelected, undemocratic regimes in Jordan and Egypt.

If they had simply welcomed their Palestinian brothers and sisters with open arms and absorbed them into their own populations we might have enjoyed a better world.

You might ask why should they have done that.

Well, that's what Israel did for the Jewish refugees from Arab persecution.

11 Jun 2012 - 08:55
seans10601's picture

Colin, we both agree that the Palestinians have a right to a state and we agree they've had stuff wrongly taken from them so they're entitled to compensation. Can I say we also agree that Palestinians have done wrong - though for me, at least that was in pursuit of justice.

Most important, you're no longer saying that the boycotters are "illogical" just because they've chosen one issue rather than trying to right every single wrong in China and the rest of the world. So I hope we agree on that.

Maybe the only thing we disagree about now is the question of whether there's symmetry between Israel and its neighbours over the Palestinians refugees. You say Israel's neighbours should accept millions of new people as their citizens. Well, here's an analogy. Suppose that in some unlikely future, Scotland becomes independent from the UK and then Ireland annexes Liverpool on the grounds that lots of Irish people have lived there for centuries. Ireland terrorises Liverpool's existing citizens so they flee to the rest of the UK including Scotland. In addition, many Irish flee the rest of the UK to Liverpool.

Is Scotland required to accept a million displaced Liverpudlians as citizens? Well, of course Scotland would welcome them - but we would also see them as refugees and we would campaign for their right to return home. That’s what the Liverpudlians themselves would want. And that’s what the boycotters want for the displaced Palestinians. It's also what Palestinians want for themselves. So I can't see that there's any requirement on Israel's neighbours to make citizens of those refugees.

11 Jun 2012 - 02:34
silve10823's picture

@seans10601 But you want to talk about Israel !

YOU SAID "We have to choose which causes to pursue."

Pull the other one it's got bells on.

What makes over focussing on Israel wrong is precisely the thing you think makes it right - namely the bias on Israeli racism, occupation and killing and the obvious less attention given to racism, occupation and killing elsewhere.

It's like the well known phenomenon of media bias "Missing White Woman Syndrome" - giving extensive coverage to the disappearance of a white middle class blond girl on TV and in the Press and yet all but ignoring the disappearance of a black woman.

You perform that bias perfectly.

In its struggle to survive all-out war and continuous terror from anti liberal, anti Jewish, anti democratic enemies - a Western democracy - Israel - has killed more or less 70,000 during 63 years of never ending bloody conflict against a huge non democratic, brutal, murderous Arab world.

By contrast Muslim fanatics and their leaders have murdered millions in a few short decades.

But I'm sorry you want to talk about Israel.

Janjawid Darfur murdered 300,000 Idi Amin murdered 500,000 in 8 years Saddam murdered 300,000 Hama Syria 30,000 Palestinians murdered in 3 weeks in 1981 Black September murdered 10,000 in a month, 1970 Bashir 500,000 murdered since 2005 and counting every today Creation of Pakistan 1 MILLION deaths Algeria 1954-62 1 MILLION deaths

Good on you for talking about Israel so much.

Presumably you have written about these other issues.

Can you direct me to your writing on these issues please ?

I would love to read them.

11 Jun 2012 - 08:53
seans10601's picture

I agree with you that the other murders you mention are huge wrongs. But like I said, I haven't got time to chase every wrongdoer in the world. So it's no use just listing all the other wrongs in the world. I can't chase them all. I have to choose which issue to focus on.

You say that in focusing on Israel, I am being racist. But I gave you four good reasons for focusing on Israel. So your accusations of racism are unfair. If an employer rejects a black candidate in favour of a white candidate, because the white candidate has the right qualifications and the black candidate doesn't, is the employer being racist? Not necessarily. The employer has to show they had good reasons for their decision. So do I, and I think I have.

So, until you show me that those four statements are false, you haven't shown that I'm racist to focus on Israel.

11 Jun 2012 - 13:27
silve10823's picture

@seans10601 Firstly I never said you were a racist and never intended to say or imply you were a racist.

However by your own admission you can't be bothered with the rest of the world because you are too busy bashing one country ---- the Jewish one.

The blood thirsty violence and hatred of the Palestinians comes from their ideology and religion not from occupation.

Proof - 40% of Cyprus is illegally occupied with a massive refugee and missing persons problem, daily humiliation and violation of human rights of the population by Turkey who stole their land.

The Greek Cypriot community, true to its beliefs of respect for democracy and human beings has not bombed, rocketed and murdered in response.

For that evil you need Jew-hating Muslims spouting hatred from the Koran.

Aggression by a large Muslim foreign power against its smaller Christian neighbour for 30 years has kept Cyprus and its people divided.

Turkey continues to commit international crimes like illegal settlement of the occupied land, destruction of religious and cultural heritage of an area under military control and ethnic cleansing of the Greek Cypriot population of the Karpasia area.

Oh never mind, you are there for the Palestinians.

But are you there for Cyprus ?

After all you can't be there for everyone......Right ?

11 Jun 2012 - 15:40
seans10601's picture

Yes, any discrimination against Greek Cypriots is wrong (as is Greek discrimination against Turks, of which Cypriot history provides plenty of examples).

But is what's happening in northern Cyprus is as bad as what's happening in Palestine? Sorry, but I don't think it is. You haven't got thousands of deaths over recent years, and although you've got a displaced population, you haven't got a people deprived of their right to autonomy.

11 Jun 2012 - 02:39
silve10823's picture

@seans10601 I will always be suspicious of Islam until they allow a church or synagogue in Saudi Arabia. And, Saudi Arabia is the spiritual home of Islam where it’s a duty for 1.5 billion Muslims to make a pilgrimage too.

Jews being the dominant force in this tiny sliver of land (their ancient homeland) instead of Muslims guarantees PLURALITY, LIBERAL FREEDOMS and DEMOCRACY on a scale only seen in Western Europe, USA, Canada and Australia.

Proof - Just compare Israeli Arab freedoms with the horrific situation in Islamic dominated lands in the rest of the Middle East.

Why does a specifically Jewish Israel guarantee freedoms ?

Because Judaism's main doctrine and long tradition is - not - one of conversion. Judaism doesn't say "It's my way or the highway" like Islam does.

Oh and for the record, if you didn't already know........ for 1400 years Muslims have enforced their "special" doctrine of supremacy with the sword.

I'm talking about Israel being a Jewish homeland.

If that's not what you want then why don't you be honest and come out and say that ? - rather than hiding behind comments about boycotts and suicide bombers.

Now I'm off to buy some juicy succulent Israeli olives in Morrisons. You can do what the hell you like.

11 Jun 2012 - 07:43
seans10601's picture

You talk as if being a democracy gives Israel the right to do what they like to their undemocratic neighbours. You need to have a rethink. Yes, Israel is a democracy - but that does not mean they can kill innocent children or steal Palestinian homes.

When you say Palestine is the Jews' "homeland", you talk like it's their property. I suspect that’s because you think there was a time in ancient history when this region was an exclusively Jewish territory, and then it got taken from them.

This is false. Before Israel was set up, this region was never exclusively Jewish. Not even in ancient times. Palestine was always shared by a variety of peoples. This goes right back to the times before countries were invented. At no point before the 20th century were Jews even the majority in Palestine.

The tone of your final comment reminds me what an emotional issue this is. But bear in mind, this is a complex issue. If you're in an emotional state, you're not in the best place to judge right and wrong.

I realise why Israel arouses sympathies. The Jews had the worst possible time in World War II. Now we see them subject to terrorism. So we think the others must be wrong. So we think Israel must be right.

In truth, there's wrong on both sides. But at least you can say for the Palestinians that their wrongdoing was committed in pursuit of their rights. That can't be said for most Israeli actions.

I don't believe in destroying Israel. But I do believe they should make reparation for their past wrongs. They should restore land to the Palestinians and/or pay compensation for everything they have taken wrongly. The demands of the UN are reasonable.

11 Jun 2012 - 10:34
ColinGrant's picture

Sean, just to confirm for the last time I am against boycotts as a weapon because if you were to boycott everything you didn't like you would end up with nothing.

11 Jun 2012 - 15:22
seans10601's picture

OK can't resist ... Don't boycott everything. Choose priority cases. Israel is a special case for the reasons I gave. For example, of the world's 190 countries, only very few are systematically killing thousands of innocent people. So boycotting Israel does not commit us to boycotting "everything".

One other thing that sets Israel apart. There's an existing boycott campaign with international support. It would be pointless starting loads of new boycotts. Without international support, there's no chance of them having an impact. You've got to be pragmatic. That means being selective.

11 Jun 2012 - 19:00
silve10823's picture

@seans10601 You are not so naive to think this boycott exists in splendid isolation.

You can choose to ignore it but you can’t get away from the fact that a boycott of Israel is part of a wider war effort to destroy the Jewish state because - it IS a Jewish state – and not because of what it gets up to which is a mixture of good and bad.

And, no matter how well meaning you think you are, you are playing into the hands of the most sinister of Muslims, the ones wanting to destroy infidel civilisation and make Europe and the USA like Iran or Saudi Arabia.

Continue boycotting this democracy in the Middle East if it gives you a good self image of yourself but when confronted with critics of the boycott don’t act naive about this and pretend you don’t understand the bigger political picture because that is an obvious cynical move and full of deceit.

If Islamists and Jihadists lose this war there is hope for a two-state solution.

If Islamists (and boycotters who undermine Israel) win this war Israel will be destroyed.

Oh........ who to support ? choices choices.

The world created Israel as a homeland for the Jewish People.

If we now give in to demands from the Islamic world to destroy Israel (and give in to the boycotters to weaken and harm Israel making this destruction more likely) what does that say about the rest of the World's ability to stand up to Islamic extremism ?

If you feel Israel has committed war crimes then congratulations.

First thing to note is you accept that Israel is at war - good - that's a start.

The next thing to say is that one of the biggest war crimes Israel could commit....is to lose the war.

Goody-two-shoes folk with your well meaning boycotts are contributing to this global Islamic war effort.

Although some well meaning enablers in the West are too naive to know they are being played like a fiddle...... I doubt you are naive.

If your rage was proportionate to where countries were on UN lists of the most oppressive, violent and murderous regimes - you wouldn't waste any time on Israel.

So there has to be another reason why you are so so keen to pick on the Jewish country.

11 Jun 2012 - 19:20
seans10601's picture

You say you don't mean to imply I'm racist. But then you say "there has to be another reason why you are so so keen to pick on the Jewish country". If that's not an implication of anti-Semitism I don't know what is! I was going to drop this debate, but I won't let that implication stand.

Your argument is that I should focus on the most oppressive and murderous regimes. If I don't, my motives are suspect.

But if that was true, no-one could campaign against race discrimination in the UK, or gender discrimination in India. Or, lets be frank, stray dogs. Why is it OK for people to campaign on those issues when there are issues involving massive numbers of deaths and massive amounts of pain, such as the issues you are talking about?

I suggest the reason it's OK is because we all have to choose the issues that happen to motivate us. And motivations vary - for one person it's issues in their own back yard, for another it's issues involving people they empathise with, and for another it just issues that somehow get them riled.

So I suppose I need to talk about me. In my case, the issues that get me riled are where a people (a distinctive cultural group) are deprived of their autonomy. And Israel in particular gets me riled because it was set up to give Jews a safe space where they could exercise their autonomy. But now they are using that space to oppress another people and deprive them of their autonomy!

I find that hypocrisy in support of oppression really aggravating.

So I disagree with you. I don't think I have to show there are more deaths in Palestine than anywhere else before I'm allowed to campaign on it.

However, I agree with you that Israel is a special case. What makes it special is that it was set up specifically for Jews, and Jews have suffered terrible discrimination in the past. So anyone who campaigns on the Palestine issue has to show they are not motivated by anti-Semitism.

Now that’s quite a tough call. You can always question someone's motives, so in my defence, all I can offer you is circumstantial evidence. Basically it's evidence based on other issues I feel strongly about which do not involve Jews.

One comparison is South Africa. South Africa under apartheid was a motivating issue for me. I think that was because of the historical connections I'm talking about in reasons 3 and 4, ie the fact that the UK had a special role in South Africa's history and the fact that I felt I understood the people who were responsible for the oppression - therefore I understood the oppression. But there was no grounds for accusing me of being racist against the white supremacists in South Africa.

Returning to the present case, if Israel had been established by an extremist group of evangelical Christians, instead of Jews, I would feel just as strongly about it - maybe even more strongly.

Also, going back to the autonomy thing, I feel very strongly about certain other issues where one country is oppressing another people outside its legitimate borders and depriving them of autonomy. I am thinking of China in Tibet and Russia in Chechnya. I would support any boycott campaign that was set up over those issues.

So going back to the Jews in Israel, I think I can show I am not motivated by anti-Semitism. Like Palestine, none of the above comparator issues are the most serious of world issues in terms of the amounts of death and pain they involve. But they also don't involve Jews. So I don't think you can claim that in Israel's case, anti-Semitism has blinded me to all the other world issues where there is more death and pain - because that would not explain why I'm also passionate about South Africa, Tibet, Chechnya etc. In fact, I can point to other factors to explain why those issues rile me. And the same factors can explain why Israel riles me.

So again, it's always possible to question people's motives. But I think I could convince any neutral judge that I am not anti-Semitic.

My final word!

11 Jun 2012 - 22:50
silve10823's picture


The difference between legitimate criticism of Israel and war propaganda is crystal clear.

Legitimate criticism of Israel sounds like criticism of any other country, war propaganda demonises Israel paving the way for her destruction whether that’s your intention or not.

No, you have not shown yourself to be anti Semitic.

Just one of those goody-two-shoes folk with a well meaning boycott you can be proud of. A boycott which just so happens to have the unintended consequence of aiding the global Islamist war effort to destroy Israel.

But you can’t possibly be held responsible for that little annoying coincidence. Right ?

Enjoy checking the Olives in Morrisons for any sign they might come from the evil country.

I’m off to get a Chinese takeaway.

Can I do that..... in your world ?

13 Jun 2012 - 14:37
silve10823's picture

The boycott is anti Semitic.

It's not about Israel it's about Jews, that's what's wrong with the anti Israel movement.

Israel's enemies don't want peace they want victory, that's an entirely different thing and unreasonable at any level.

So making concessions to an enemy who wants to kill you just makes it easier for them to kill you. Right ?

Killing Jews is the name of the game here.

A Jewish country has no right to exist for anti Semites regardless of what that state gets up to.

Boycotts won't stop Israel fighting in the back streets of Gaza because Israel's enemy in the back streets of Gaza won't call a halt in order to talk to filthy Jews.

But there's a new weapon !

The Arabs have discovered that they are no good at conventional wars with Israel, they always lose, so let's try unconventional warfare like boycotts, with hapless infidel enablers to do our bidding.

So they say to themselves "All we have to do is show these useful idiots some pictures of killed babies and we will have these fine upstanding Westerners who all think they are morally superior crying in their morning cornflakes and eating out of our hands."


Then hey presto something magical happens.

Two thousand years of anti Semitism kicks-in making these moralisers with dark hearts think that Israel is evil.... in fact, beyond evil because there are other states that are evil.But Israel, that's something different in their eyes.

They say "We may come from a two thousand year tradition and culture of anti Semitism but that's nothing to do with hating Israel.

"We just feel closer to this issue for some strange emotional reason we can't quite put our finger on, it's just this issue tugs at our heart strings more than any other. Who knows why.

"But we are not anti Semitic - oh no - we are good MORAL people, don tcha know."

So they march with banners, have stalls in the high street, protest outside supermarkets and before you know it Israel's anti Semitic enemies in the Muslim world have opened up a new front in their struggle to kill Jews, (all Jews) which is what they wanted all along. Just listen to them.

And what's the response from our fine upstanding anti Israel moralisers ? Are they aware of these anti Semitic aims?

"Ermm Yes....Well.... we did know about them actually, ehm ? whatever, "Death to Israel" "Death to Israel" "Islam will rule the world" ...come on - you're not chanting loud enough!!!!

The Israeli boycott doesn't feel quite right, does it ?

It feels like something else..... sadly, something all too familiar to Jews down the centuries.

14 Jun 2012 - 17:33
onehu15306's picture


Yet another interesting article.

I partly agree with you. Nothing good will come of only targeting one side in the Israel/Palestine conflict. However I supported the boycott of the South African Apartheid regime because that regime was racist, Israeli actions and policies are driven by security not racial matters.

It's also worth noting what boycotters are denying the world.

Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity.

Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.

Israel has the world's second highest per capita of new books published per year.

Israel has more Nobel Prizes per capita than any other country. It has more laureates, in real numbers, than Spain, Mexico and China.

An Israeli company has developed sensors that pick up signs of stress in plants.

The mobile phone was developed in Israel by Motorola

Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.

The first PC anti-virus software was developed in Israel in 1979.

Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin - 109 per 10,000 people - as well as one of the highest per-capita rates of patents filed.

Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds behind the US.

Israel has more museums per capita than any other country.

Jerusalem the holiest place for Jews and the religious centre of Judaism for more than 3000 years hosted an international World Pride gay rights parade.

Israel has the third largest number of companies trading on Wall Street after the US and Canada.

On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech start-ups.

Israel hosts IBM's, Microsoft's, Intel's and Motorola's largest R&D facilities outside the United States.

The Weizmann Institute of Science has been voted the best university in the world for life scientists to conduct research.

Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology was pioneered in Israel.

Intel's double-core processor, MMX Chip and Centrino technology was completely developed in Israel.

In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of start-up companies in the world. In absolute terms, Israel is second only to the U.S. in the total number of startup companies.

24% of Israel's workforce holds university degrees - ranking third in the industrialized world, after the U.S. and Holland and 12% hold advanced degrees.

Israel is one of only 8 countries in the world capable of launching their own satellites into space.

Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship - and the highest rate among women and among people over 55 -in the world.

Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as "conflict free."

Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees.

Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.

Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U.S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany.

Over 25% of the country's work force is employed in technical professions - first in this category as well.

Most of the Windows NT operating system was developed by Microsoft-Israel.

Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel.

The technology for AOL Instant Messenger (ICQ) was developed in 1996 by four Israelis.

An Israeli company M-Systems was the first to patent and introduce key chain storage (computer memory sticks).

Tel Aviv has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

16 Jun 2012 - 13:19
seans10601's picture

These achievements are admirable, but I don't see how they've meant to change our minds about a boycott. If a boycott would be right in the absence of these achievements, then it's still right even with these achievements.

Put it this way. Imagine two guys are accused of murdering innocent children, and both are found guilty. One of them runs a successful business based on a bit of technology he invented which is now used around the world. The other does not. Would it be OK for the judge to give the first guy a more lenient sentence based on his contributions to technology? I don't think so - there would be widespread outrage if he did, and rightly so.

So the only relevant question is whether the Israelis have been murdering innocent men, women and children in order to keep the Palestinians away from their original homes. Whether you think they have or they haven't, our response to their actions shouldn't be at all influenced by whether they have invented some useful bits of technology.

16 Jun 2012 - 14:43
ColinGrant's picture

Sean, I wasn't planning to come back to this but...

Have you ever wondered why the organisers of this boycott chose to target academics and culture.

Why not something that might make a difference and hurt the Israelis, like Israeli technology products?

The reason is simple. They would be cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

If you were to boycott Israeli technology products you (and those who dreamt up this ridiculous idea) would have to shut up shop and go home.

You couldn't survive without Israeli know-how.

That would be too inconvenient.

So all concerned express this outrage while still buying and using Israeli products and pat themselves on the back because they are supporting the cause.

As for your analogy about two men being accused of killing children, I have to admit I agree with it entirely.

Presumably those who are enraged by Israel killing innocent men women and children would express the same emotions when suicide bombers murder innocent men women and children in this country under the guise of supporting the Palestinians.

Would you do that for me Sean?

18 Jun 2012 - 17:17
onehu15306's picture

Sean, Thank you for commenting on my post.

For me the overriding question in the Israel/Palestine conflict is the self determination of nationalities.

Allowing the Palestinian national identity to express itself and preserving Israeli or Jewish national identity.

Can you tell me how the boycott helps to further

(1) the expression of Palestinain national identity


(2) preserves Jewish national identity ?

Because I am only interested in public actions that do both of these things.

I think I am taking a principled stance.

Thank You.

18 Jun 2012 - 19:27
seans10601's picture

Many thanks for that comment. To answer your question, the principle I support is the idea of a two state solution based on pre-1967 borders. I believe that’s also what the UN wants. I would also find land-swaps acceptable if necessary - so the border needn't run exactly where it was prior to 1967.

Problem: Israel has consistently resisted this principle.

Solution: Politicians are keen on GDP growth, since they perceive a connection with votes. If enough people join in the boycott to affect Israel's GDP, and if this is supported by other action (eg the rest of the world moves this issue up the priority list), then Israel's politicians can be brought to the negotiating table on the basis of the above principle.

Result: Israel has a nation and the Palestinians have a nation. Because they have reached an agreement, they stop threatening to annihilate each other.

In other words, to use your terms, an agreement on the basis of the above principle would allow the national identity of both sides to fully express itself.

Of course, there's no guarantees that a boycott will work. But very few of our plans for the future can offer that.

I think the above summarises the objectives and strategy of most boycotters.

19 Jun 2012 - 11:09
silve10823's picture


If you make a special case of Israel you really ought to be consistent.

So what is UNIQUE to Israel?

Interestingly, it's not the bad things you mention.

Your stance is that Israel's crimes are "UNIQUE” and therefore merit particular attention. But taking over land, population transfers, occupation, crimes against minorities and civilian deaths during war are not only happening but run-of-the-mill in other parts of the world ............and most certainly not UNIQUE to Israel. Israel isn't even the worst offender.

This is unique.

The only society in the Middle East with extensive human rights laws and freedoms for all citizens, Arab and Jew.

It's the only Jewish state.

The only Western democracy in the Middle East.

Where else in the Middle East do you find all that?

Answer -- Nowhere.

The bad things Israel does are not UNIQUE.

If you are trying to single out Israel for its uniqueness then I will support you.

If you don't single out Israel for its uniqueness......... then you are being prejudice.

Anti Israel bias is driven by culture and psychology not objective ethics, ethics which I bet you find easy to employ in the rest of your life.

In your heart the Palestinians, (no matter how genocidally murderous they can be) are your "brothers." Israelis clearly are lower down than that. Israel isn't even your friend - just someone you see walking on the street.

Naturally you treat you "brothers" better than you would treat a stranger.

Although, why Israel with the same Western values and society as you are the strangers yet those with a very different value system, ethics and society to both of us are your friends, only you can explain.

Playing favourites is no way to treat Israel.

20 Jun 2012 - 21:37
onehu15306's picture

@seans10601 Hello again Sean, Thank you for your comment.

I believe this is a fairly straightforward, honest way of looking at things.

Israel's two options are not,

1) Blockade Gaza and keep military control of the West Bank, building settlements on it, (3%) of it.

2) A two state solution.

Israel’s real options are,

1) Continue the struggle against its enemies which might mean continuing to blockade Gaza and keeping military control of the West Bank even building settlements on it, (3%) of it, and not only that, but push forward with even more strategic and security policies which you might not like, to ensure survival.

2) Be annihilated.

Again, how does a boycott address this issue ?

Because I'm sure this is the one issue Israel will want you to address.

One other thing.

A majority of Israelis have consistently expressed the view favouring a two-state solution. So chances are the innocent civilian victims murdered in suicide attacks in cafes and on busses where overwhelmingly in favour of a two-state solution just like you.

The people and groups involved in suicide bombings are most definitely not in favour of a two-state solution. They are the enemies of the boycotters like you.

You and I stand shoulder to shoulder with most ordinary Israeli's on this issue. All of us on one side against a determined terrorist enemy which by their own admission is not seeking a just peace under any circumstances.

Just something else for you to mull over.


19 Jun 2012 - 12:30
silve10823's picture


Oh dear,

Yet another revolutionary who has to put round pegs in square holes to make sense of the world.

You say, "Jewish immigrants used violence and terrorism to drive hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes."

Half truth !

You mention the Deir Yassin massacre but not the massacre of Jews in Hebron in 1929.

Naughty !

You mention 300000 refugees left because of violence but not also because of their call to arms to come and join the Arabs to drive Israel into the sea nor the larger Jewish refugee problem at the time.

What cheek !

You mention the blockade on Gaza but not the thousands of rockets from Gaza and the war from Gaza to annihilate Israel which has cost thousands of Israeli civilian lives.

Typical !

You mention suicide bombing as weapon of the oppressed but don't mention the 72 virgins waiting in paradise or that dying in defence of the faith is not suicide but actually the most glorious way to die if you are a Muslim anywhere in the world - or that Christian Palestinians subjected to the same oppression don’t carry out these religious hate crimes.

Outrageous !

and here's a cracker

You say, "Put it this way. Imagine two guys are accused of murdering innocent children, and both are found guilty. One of them runs a successful business based on a bit of technology he invented which is now used around the world. The other does not. Would it be OK for the judge to give the first guy a more lenient sentence based on his contributions to technology?I don't think so - there would be widespread outrage if he did, and rightly so."

Oh Sean you're so silly, would it be OK to boycott and ostracise just one of the murderers and leave the other alone just because you built his home and helped him move in and now you feel guilty about it ?

I don't think so - there would be widespread outrage if you did, and rightly so.

In every step of the way Sean you show yourself up.

16 Jun 2012 - 16:16
seans10601's picture

Hi Colin, Good to hear from you again! Here and before, you attribute a wide range of attitudes to boycotters without offering any evidence for those attributions. I for one would support boycotting just about all Israeli products, technology and otherwise. I believe most other boycott campaigners are like me (eg try Googling Palestine Solidarity Campaign "Boycott Divestment and Sanctions").

On the other hand, if someone's life depended on an Israeli product, I would not deny it to them. The boycott is a tool to deliver change, not a sniffy thing where Israeli products are treated as somehow tainted. We just need the boycott to be across enough product categories to act as an economic spur to Israel's leaders.

To answer your final question, yes, I agree that killing innocent people is wrong. The victims of terrorist bombings outside Israel have been innocent. The terrorists should therefore be treated as murderers.

In contrast, I don't think an Israeli who knowingly lives on the site of a Palestinian home is innocent. That makes a difference.

However, even if an Israeli victim of a bombing was knowingly occupying the site of someone else's home, and was relying on state terrorism to stay there, that doesn't mean the Palestinian was entitled to bomb them. In fact, if terrorist bombings can ever be justified (something I am not sure about), then I believe at least three conditions must be satisfied (and maybe other conditions too):

1. The victims must be complicit in an extreme injustice.

2. The bombing must stand a chance of ending the injustice.

2. All other methods of ending the injustice have been exhausted.

There is a lot of room to question whether the Palestinian bombings in Israel have satisfied conditions 2 and 3.

But that doesn't mean the Palestinians don't deserve justice. In their situation, we would probably be desperate too. And it's maybe some kind of mitigation for their Israeli bombings that they were motivated by a desire to restore justice (justice as defined by most neutral observers such as the UN). This is not something which can be said for Israeli terrorism, which has been on a much larger scale, and which is motivated by the desire to maintain an injustice (as defined by neutral observers such as the UN).

To repeat, I do not defend killing innocent people, and the victims of terrorism outside Israel have been innocent.

17 Jun 2012 - 11:30
silve10823's picture


South African apartheid and the anti-Semitic jihad death cult (Hamas, Al Qaeda etc) are like smoking.

Israel is like drinking.

There is no good level of smoking, it's all bad.

Drinking (Israel) is a mixture of good and bad AND smoking kills vastly greater numbers than drinking.

If you were a health professional concerned about the overall health of the community what would be your priority no.1, getting people to quit smoking or decreasing drinking ?

Would you share a platform and go on marches with the pro smoking lobby (anti-Semitic jihadi death cult) and would you join their call for a ban on drinking but not call for a ban on smoking ?

It seams you already have. Maybe you are not the best person to talk to about the overall health of the community.

17 Jun 2012 - 11:50
silve10823's picture


I have no idea if you are an anti Zionist or not.

You have said you are pro the existence of Israel.

But would you agree with me that anti Zionism comes under the general heading of anti-Semitism ?

Anti Zionism is like a rash but it comes under the general heading of an allergy to Jews.

A rash - an extreme reaction to a certain food.

Some people get it others don’t.

But its well understood where it comes from.

If one has an allergy to Jews one will get the rash of Israel.

And it will be an extreme reaction.

It's also well understood where that comes from.

I suggest Anti Zionists get help with this ailment.

Why not try the cooling soothing cream of anti prejudice.

You will feel much healthier - and you won't have that aggressive and persistent itch of hate driving you nuts all day.

Would you not agree ?

17 Jun 2012 - 12:04
silve10823's picture


There are Jewish murderers , rapist and torturers.

Anti Semites single out Jews for special consideration.

Ant Zionists single out Israel for special consideration.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.......

Would you not agree ?

17 Jun 2012 - 22:38
silve10823's picture


You're so innocent and sweet butter wouldn't melt in your mouth.

All you've ever wanted was equality and democracy.


And millions of hostile people who once lived there and still want to annihilate the Jewish country to go back there and swamp it. Because as you say they have some sort of right to go back to where they once lived and destroy something which they first tried to destroy in 1948.

Eh, don't think so !

Arabs voting on the future of Israel is like a pack of wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.

Zionism is the well-armed lamb contesting that vote.


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