Internet censorship – the ballad of Gilad and PePa

racism.jpg from the divine Machetera. At the bottom, a small commentary by me.

Not long after posting an article about Tony Greenstein’s obsessive and unsuccessful efforts to shut down the peacepalestine blog, the blog’s editor Mary Rizzo reported that her blog access (though not Machetera’s) had been shut down once more, this time on the basis of the false accusation that she was running a “spam blog.” Rather than delve into definitions of what constitutes a spam blog and why someone would run one, for now Machetera will simply make the following observations:

1. peacepalestine is not a spam blog,

2. Blogger does appear to have a shoot first, ask questions later approach;

3. Machetera does not have enough information at the present time to say whether WordPress has a less trigger-happy temper, although being somewhat self-interested she will hope for the best;

4. The timing of the latest shutdown for peacepalestine is certainly curious, coming as it did on the heels of Machetera’s recent post on the subject, although Machetera does not claim credit nor would she want to, and finally,

5. Something very curious is going on in what Gilad Atzmon would call the Zionist/crypto-Zionist world. Translation (since that is Machetera’s specialty): the opinions expressed by Gilad Atzmon and Mary Rizzo are upsetting enough to certain people, to try to block their internet publishing.

It won’t work. The example of peacepalestine demonstrates pretty clearly that this form of internet silencing is at best, a short term endeavor, because the internet is like water; by design it is meant to follow the path of least resistance, and it’s impossible to plug all the leaks all the time. As Machetera has already pointed out, for really effective internet censorship you need to operate with an iron hand, preferably through the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control. Even then it’s a slippery beast, even for those who invented it. Shut down peacepalestine in one manifestation, and it will flower in a thousand other places.

What is it that disturbs these particular censors so? Well, nobody likes thinking of themselves as a racist, but Atzmon posits that secular Jewishness is a form of racism, so settling for being an anti-Zionist is not enough – Manuel Talens spoke to him about it some years back:

Talens: Now tell me why you argue that secular Jewishness is a mere form of racism. There are so many millions of honest people of Jewish extraction who are not religious at all and nevertheless feel and consider themselves Jews that such an assertion surprises me. Could you explain it? And by the same token do not forget to put in plain words what Zionism is: keep in mind that you are dialoguing with Western Gentiles, whose cultural genes – the so-called memes – are Christian and who quite often feel baffled when confronted with notions such as Zionism, Semitism or their antonyms anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

Atzmon: OK a clarification is needed here. It is not the Jewish origin that makes one into a racist but rather the endorsement of a Jewish secular identity that “may” do so. As I mentioned before, once you remove the religious content from Jewishness you are left with the concept of Jewish blood. Zionism is in fact a nationalist perception that connotes Jewishness to race rather than to a religious belief. As such, Zionism is the belief that Zion (Palestine) is the national homeland of the Jewish people. This strange belief is basically grounded on a Biblical promise. In other words, the Zionists transform the spiritual text (the Bible) into a mere land registry. But then one may ask, who are the Jewish people? From a Zionist perspective, Jews are those who happen to be racially Jewish. In fact, Zionism predates Nazism. Early Zionists spoke about Jewish blood and racial eugenics when Hitler was still in nappies. The problem is that while Zionism started as a marginal esoteric political movement and was highly criticised by most Jewish ideological and religious schools of thought, it is now touted as the official voice of the Jewish people. I tend to argue that many Jews, and this would include even the so called “Jewish anti-Zionists”, are in fact nothing but crypto-Zionists.

In one of my latest papers I contend that those who call themselves Jews could be divided into three main categories: 1. Those who follow Judaism; 2. Those who regard themselves as human beings that happen to be of Jewish origin; and 3. Those who put their Jewishness over and above all of their other traits. Obviously, I have no problem with the two first categories, but the 3rd one is rather problematic. The 3rd category Jew is for instance: a Jew who lives in America (rather than an American who happens to be of Jewish descent), a Jew who plays the saxophone (rather than a saxophonist who happens to be Jewish), a Jewish anti-Zionist (rather than an anti-Zionist who happens to be Jewish). For the 3rd category Jew, the racial belonging is a primary qulity and this is, in fact, the very essence of Zionism. Thus, to be born a Jew is innocent indeed, but to be a Jew isn’t necessarily innocent. It all depends on the category one happens to endorse. Unless one falls into the first 2 categories, one isn’t necessarily innocent.

MT: Excuse my doggedness, but I want you to be extremely precise. To me this “one isn’t necessarily innocent” you have just mentioned suggests that it is still possible to belong to the 3rd category without being a racist. Is that what you mean?

GA: This is just because I am really trying to be polite.

MT: I insist: Are you ready to accept that these Jewish anti-Zionists who according to you are nothing but crypto-Zionists could still be wonderful human beings, not racists after all?

GA: You see, we are all “racially aware” but then being a “racist” is a different condition altogether. I will be very clear about the subject. To be a secular Jew and yet to make your Jewishness into a primary quality is a clear manifestation of a racist tendency. Many amongst the anti-Zionist Jews are simply unaware of the problems entangled with their racial approach. This is the reason why I have attempted to dialogue with them and try to push them towards a further realisation of their mistaken racial agenda. I call them to leave behind their racially exclusive anti-Zionist approach and to join a universal call instead. Needless to say, many Jews realise it by themselves. I argue that if Zionism is categorically wrong, then to those fighting it, one’s racial or ethnic belonging is irrelevant.

As Atzmon himself admits, this is “a serious challenge of the Jewish identity.” But he also points out, “I have seen many things written about me and yet I have never come across a sufficient counter argument. I start to wonder whether there is any argument as such.”

Atzmon’s thought provoking views are amply published (for now) at peacepalestine here or here, at his own website, and Machetera looks forward to publishing excerpts here in future as well.

And that was Machetera’s post. I’d like to advise those who have been faithful readers of Peacepalestine for 3 and a half years now, to understand that while it may look as if we are defeated into believing that the story ends here, it hasn’t. WordPress at the moment is “a parking space”… It may remain the main blog (If someone thought they were going to stop me from blogging, they were wrong), but then again, things are still in motion. YET… there are some things that must be said. Blogger acted fine once regarding me. This time, NO! And, more than that, they have blocked other political blogs for no reason. That should have been a red flag, but moving a blog with 800 posts is not something one really looks forward to doing, so the signs were not taken into due consideration and now we see a stream of attempts to close down Peacepalestine. Who is really responsible? I think we know the answer to that one, but as the Wicked Witch of the West might say…”All in due time, my pretty, all in DUE time!”

The red flag: Blogger spammed Steve of Desert Peace off. That should have been a warning to me as clear as this screen in front of me. Not only Steve a VERY popular blogger, he endorses a two-State solution, he is someone who, living in Israel, actually engages in fruitful dialogue and is an example of THE blog to salvage. Blogger didn’t care. I have no real illusions that it will be different this time, however… in the meantime, a few friends have been advised, and Blogger is being monitored as to how it will act. Not only that, but a few wrote letters. This one from Edna really says it all:

Dear Blogger
I am writing to complain in the strongest possible terms about what seems to be a targeting of pro-Palestinian sites by Blogger, one in particular:
This blog was closed down unfairly about a month ago, and then reinstated, and has in the last few days been shut down again, the lastest reason given is that it is being regarded as SPAM.  This is insane!!
Are you aware of the huge readership this blog has, and how many people use it as a resource every day??  There is no SPAM there at all, only thought-provoking posts and very good quality writing about Palestine, which is also published at many other sites on the net.
What is Blogger’s real agenda here, one has to ask? Why is Peacepalestine being repeatedly targeted, while sites which are truly LIBELLOUS continue to be hosted by Blogger?
I find this one extremely offensive, with no real content except for the endless smearing of 2 well-known Palestinian activists:  Why is this site being hosted at all by Blogger?
Would very much appreciate a letter back from Blogger.  If you are targeting Palestinian sites and anything anti-Israel, then wouldn’t it make more sense to stipulate that very clearly in your guidelines, so that progresive blogs can simply AVOID using Blogger at ALL, and instead rather be hosted by servers who genuinely support freedom of speech, such as WordPress.  The only freedom of speech Blogger seems to support is LIBEL.
Will appreciate an answer please.
Thanks (signed) 

I thank Edna for this, and I encourage others who are against censorship and who have supported Pepa to write to blogger and to let them know we are watching and we aren’t going to take it sitting down. Not only are some bloggers and sites ready to expose the whole messy story, just as Machetera and Haitham have done, which isn’t going to leave Blogger looking too good at least in some sectors of activism, but it might just be time to leave the blog format (which I love) and go the route of a domain site. At any rate, just as much as we fight racism, we fight censorship, and we aren’t going to be silenced.

NEW! the letter Ma Chetera wrote to Blogger:
I am a journalist who reads the peacepalestine blog on a regular basis 
and who has become aware that the blog’s editor has been denied access 
to her own blog because it has been flagged as a spam blog.
I can assure you that peacepalestine is not a spam blog, and surely 
all you have to do is look at the site to understand that immediately.
Fortunately, although the editor cannot post to her blog, I can still 
access its content, but if the lockout continues it would appear that 
Blogger means to encourage peacepalestine’s editor to move her blog 
elsewhere, since a blog which cannot accept new content is of limited 
Is this indeed Blogger’s aim?
What procedure does Blogger follow when a site is flagged, as 
peacepalestine appears to have been?  Do you investigate and determine 
whether it is a malicious flagging or simply shut the site down 
immediately no matter what, pending an internal investigation? If blog 
access is denied pending such an investigation, how long might one 
reasonably expect such an investigation to take?
I would be very interested in Blogger’s response to these questions.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Ma. Chetera

9 responses to “Internet censorship – the ballad of Gilad and PePa

  1. I just posted this comment on Greenslime’s site under the post attacking Gilad’s Swindler’s List piece…. but no doubt it will be deleted very soon, so it’s being posted here too….

    Anonymous said…
    This Tony is such a creepy clown! He has the temerity to write: “No guess as to who the swindlers are!”
    Is this petty criminal with a list of convictions as long as your arm really serious????

    Tony Greenstein, the qualified swindler, a man who has been convicted for credit card fraud, shoplifting, 12 convictions in total at the last count, and going up….

    This is the man who follows Moses’ call to loot the Goyim to the letter, and should be the last one to preach to others about morality!

    Listen Greenstein, when I read Atzmon’s Swindler’s List, it was you who came to mind!

    Swindler’s List incidentally has now been published on 250 sites, including this one which gets 700 000 readers in one day alone, where it is translated into Spanish:

    It’s an expose about people who live in houses they didn’t build and drink from wells they didn’t dig, just as you spent money you did not earn (stealing a credit card from another worker) and vandalised a church you did not build.

    You quote Atzmon saying “Robbing involves a categorical dismissal of the other” . Atzmon is right. Tell us Mr. Greenstein, what did you have in mind when you robbed someone of their credit card, when you nicked a toy, did you not categorically dismiss the shopkeeper and his livelihood when you stole that chicken from his shop?

    Or is this what you mean by wealth redistribution???

    Greenstein, you are the ultimate swindler and your swindles could form a list of their own. There’s enough material there for a book, let alone a list!!!

    10 April 2008 03:11

  2. Just posted this at Greenie’s dreadful little piece on the 35 JAOJs who turned up at Windsor castle… it will be deleted with shaking hands, no doubt, so it’s being posted here too!

    When Greenstein talks about the “minority voice in the solidarity campaign”, what exactly does he mean? Is he referring to the hundreds of Palestinian activists who asked him via the petition to stop smearing and haranguing Atzmon and Rizzo on a daily basis, and allow them to get on with their real work, fighting Zionist brutality….or is this in fact a projection and he’s actually talking about himself and his 3 cohorts???

    When was the last time Greenstein, Elf, Rosen or Rance were translated into Arabic? In fact, when is the last time that Greenstein and his tribe were actually even published outside of the Judeosphere?

    PeacePalestine’s publications have been circulated to literally MILLIONS of READERS around the world. Has this ever happened before with a pro-Palestinian blog?

    Greenstein should come to terms with his wound and think about the 300 Palestinian activists who told him to f*ck off…because it’s becoming clear that we may have to do so again, and next time in less polite terms!

    When just 35 people come to an Atzmon gig, it’s probable that Gilad will have the humility to retire from the stage and write his memoirs…. but 35 elders and their “kosher” signs and chickens seems to be all that the PSC has managed to achieve. With all due respect, it makes Palestionian Solidarity looks like a dispute between 2 Yeshivas!

    Honestly, if only 35 people is what the PSC and JAOJ (Jews Against Other Jews), with all their screaming and shouting, were able to gather, then it’s beginning to look as though they are indeed a “minority voice” and that Gilad Atzmon on his own is a thousand times bigger than the entire solidarity movement in Britain.

    10 April 2008 03:30

  3. Pingback: Censorship and Press Freedom: at home and away « peacepalestine

  4. Pingback: Censorship and Press Freedom, Google & Blogger play dirty | Palestine Think Tank

  5. Esra:Racism
    The Bible+Tora:Racism
    Martin Luther+Jesus+Kant+Hegel=Racism
    Michel Onfray+Richard Dawkins=Atheism
    Atheism+Peace=Fucking the Bibles War!
    Atheism+Peace=Fucking Bible+Genocide

  6. In my opinion, the blog should just be ignored.
    Anyone who goes that far to shut it down is a big cry-baby and needs to get off the computer.

  7. The Bible+Jesus+Genocide+War+Hitler+David+
    Mengele+George W. Bush+Joshua+Holocaust+
    Gazaghetto+War+Olmert+Luther Martin+ The
    Thora+Jesus+Hitler+Martin Luther King+Joseph
    sus+Barack Obama+Iran+Olmert+The Bible+War.


  8. Black Watter+Jesus-Special Force+Iraq+Iran+
    Barack Obama+Olmert+Angela Merkel+The
    Bible+Genocide+Martin Luther+Racism+Mar
    tin Luther King+Racism+The Bible+Gazaghetto.

  9. Pingback: Another political site blocked by Google/Blogger | Palestine Think Tank

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