I thought I was going to take a break from this now, but there is one more thing I need to state more clearly, and thanks to all who have reminded me of this (and I’m not being sarcastic here):

Everything I’ve said about truth, propaganda, and predetermined morals could and should be used against the Hamas, as well as against simplistic, populist slogan truths from the Left. I’ve always been uncomfortable — to say the least — with banners and flags, of any colour or political orientation, because they by nature simplify a message and transform it into the same kind of Truth as I polemicize against in my previous post. I prefer a reasoned discussion where arguments are allowed to meet, and in this respect, the Left in the west are just as culpable as anyone else. I happen to think that the underlying analysis is stronger on the left side, but when it comes to presenting it, there is still a lot to be desired.

If I appear to be insensitive to fact, or even to censor it through unfair moderation of comments, this is again for the same reason: I simply don’t have time to respond to all the comments in the way I would like (and I’ve learned over these past days that I have to weigh my words very carefully — more carefully than I’ve done so far — and weighing words takes a helluvalotof time). I don’t either have time to read all the links and watch all the youtube videos I’ve been sent. That doesn’t mean I don’t care. The character of the comments as a whole is still of such a kind that it requires moderation, and for the time being, it is on hold — my apologies to those who feel they have been silenced.

What I polemicize against is not fact and the willingness to work towards finding out what actually happened, but against the uncritical acceptance of one truth as the only possible. This was the overwhelming and unexpected impression I got from all the mails I received in the first few days, but my criticism goes just as much in the other direction.

I’m deeply concerned with the islamist elements in the IHH and the ties to the BBP. I’m also aware that the events are being used and abused in destructive ways e.g. in Turkey. I’m disillusioned by the uncritical willingness of the Left to embrace elements and actions that should have been opposed; just because they too are against the common Greater Enemy doesn’t make them more acceptable. This was the case in the events surrounding the Cartoon crisis, and I also think the various leftist and humanitarian organizations that took part in the flotilla ought to have chosen their friends more wisely. Even the Left — or rather: especially the left — should be more clear and outspoken against islamist tendencies: they are not just uneasy but bad bed-fellows.

All this weakens the efficaciousness of the Flotilla. However, it does not lessen the need to do something about the situation in Gaza and the responsibility of Israel in this matter.  Lifting the naval blockade entirely may not be the solution at the moment; if Mahmoud Abbas says that this would play into the hands of Hamas and strengthen them, that’s an opinion I respect. What he is saying is not that everything is fine as it is, though. The siege should be eased, border crossings should be opened, more goods should be allowed in, etc., everyting in ways which can’t be construed as a victory for Hamas.

Edit: According to Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Ereket, who accompanied Abbas on his US visit, the report that Abbas was in favour of a continued blockade is “yet another disinformation attempt aimed at distorting facts and deflecting Israel’s responsibility to end the illegal and inhuman siege on Gaza.” I don’t know what game Abbas is playing; I don’t know what was actually said during that meeting.

This should be the main objective: to get to a situation where Gaza is controlled neither by Hamas nor by Israel, so that living conditions can be improved for the inhabitants of Gaza.

My stance still remains, that Israel, as the stronger power, has the greater responsibility, and that the current policy is not the way to honour that responsibility. As Desmond Tutu has said: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” This is equally true whether one sees Hamas or Israel in the oppressor’s position.


The comments to this post are being moderated. I will not let through posts with the sole or main purpose (1) to tell me that I’m an idiot (no need to restate the obvious), or (2) to duplicate any of the “facts” in the comments to the previous post.

10 thoughts on “Anti-Hamas

  1. Eyolf – since you are anti-Hamas will you attempt to make a reciprocal effort to block any users whose IP addresses emanate from Gaza, the government of which is Hamas. Seems that if you are going to punish both Jewish and Arab Israelis for the actions of their government you should punish Gazans for the actions of their government. Also – in the interests of consistency – you might consider punishing other citizens for the actions of their governments and block them from your site. I can think of many examples ; e.g, blocking US citizens from accessing your site in response to the Obama Administration’s habit of raining bombs down on Afghan wedding parties and killing hundreds of Afghans/Pakistanis extra-judiciously via drone attacks; blocking users from Zimbabwe from accessing this site as a protest against their meglomaniacal leader/gov’t who has for years starved and murdered their citizens; or blocking access for any users with IP addresses emanating from the Sudan, in response for their genocidal efforts in Darfur. The list could go on and on as many gov’ts in the world do very bad things.

    Thanks for the hard work you do with this site btw. It is a wonderful resource and much appreciated. As a personal request I’d ask you to tab “All American Boy” from “A Tree With Roots”. Am pretty sure it is C, F, G7 but am not sure.

  2. I can offer no one truth.
    However, Israel has now agreed to an int involvement in the investigation of the flotilla event.
    would you consider this a step in the right direction?
    if so, please consider avoiding extreme acts such as this website blockade. it only plays into the hands of extremists; Martians or those from Atlantis.

  3. Unfortunately, they are right, Mr. Østrem. By condemning every radical movement, your original boycott lost its meaning. You cannot be universally righteous and effective at the same time. By the article above, you just dumped your well minded idea.

    1. I’m not condemning every radical movement — on the contrary — but I’m voicing a concern with tendencies even there to resort to simplistic slogans. I happen to think that if one does not try to be “universally righteous”, it doesn’t matter how effective one is. The best way to beat the Israeli propaganda machine is not to produce better propaganda, but to expose the lies and rhetoric.

  4. I feel sometimes that powers such as Hamas, Israeli government, US military and many others are together in a sort of “conspiracy”– not a true conspiracy, but they are cooperating to advocate for violence as a means to solve problems.
    It seems to me reasonable that there are people in the Israeli government who actually like having Hamas around, that it gives them the excuse they need to be brutal, which is their preferred way to run things. I know this sounds very jaded, and perhaps a bit paranoid, but it occured to me that this may just be the case.

  5. Oh, and (for the sake of “fairness”) I definitely will reverse the situation: I’m sure there are a great many of angry, brutal people in Hamas who would be lost if there wasn’t an Israel to violently hate.
    Of course, we can always start to examine the why’s and the how’s this came to be…

  6. I’m sure your intentions are good, and I’m almost sure that you’d agree that criminals should be stopped, by punishment if necessary. That’s the principle. But determining who is the criminal to be punished and to what extent, can be subjective and uncertain, and it would be wrong to apply the principle, the punishment, to the wrong agent — even by mistake.
    Israel’s actions can certainly be debated, but it is quite presumptuous to assume the expertise (military, political, etc.) to know that it’s actions were wrong, or that it is truly analogous to apartheid in former South Africa, or that the boycott of South Africa was justified, unless you were already predisposed to believe that. By contrast, there are unquestionable abuses, including real genocides, on larger scales, elsewhere.
    Any wrong that Israel does as a country is not justified by other countries acting worse. But one wonders why there is such criticisms and calls for action, down to some Dylan fan website, focused on Israel? Israel is considerably more benign, both internally and externally, than many of it’s neighbors. The attention to Israel’s wrong-doing is completely out of proportion from its actual level of activity.
    One wonders why.

  7. It is difficult to debate such a broad topic in a quick statement on the internet.

    In short, Israel has a right to defend itself. My country, Canada, has participated in the current Afghanistan war, the Korean War and WW2 though we have never been attacked. We have yet to face an international boycott because of our war record. We killed more civillians in one bombing raid over Dresden then Israel has in 62 years.

    If you are sitting there saying, “He just doesn’t get it,” I am afraid I do.

  8. Israel does have a right to defend itself, in fact, very little criticism of Israel arises due to situations where Israel is actually defending itself. To say that Mr. Ostrem’s boycott has lost it’s original meaning by denouncing organizations like Hamas or to ask that he also boycott Gaza users is to misunderstand the purpose of the cultural boycott. The racist, state-sanctioned crimes of Israel have been ignored by too many for too long, and this is a way of raising awareness. The people of Gaza have no choice but to be obedient to Hamas. The communities in Israel, artistic or otherwise, do have a choice.

  9. Dear Eyolf

    My name is Oded.
    I live in Israel, and as a human being, also a father of 2, i disrespect politics.
    We’re living in a political world.. as Bob suggests.. “Love don’t have any place”..?
    I think your works a place, where love exists.

    I love what you do, not only the chords stuff (best ever), but also the insightful article you write, where you tackle exactly what i am delaying with in Bob’s work. (e.g. the Lonnie Johnson’s lesson).

    I wish you will open the gates to all people… your audience is about musicians.. those are not, normally, into violation of human rights.
    Reminding the quote, attributed to Bob..
    “This land is your land and this land is my land, sure, but the world is run by those that never listen to music anyway”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *