Internet censorship, Part 3: An inconvenient mirror

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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.

3 responses to “Internet censorship, Part 3: An inconvenient mirror

  1. Pingback: Internet censorship - the ballad of Gilad and PePa « peacepalestine

  2. Pingback: ZIOSTERIA « Desertpeace

  3. The Palestine Chronicle’s forum was also hacked out of existence in 2004.

    puckatawk

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