“Why don’t you also block …?”

I receive a lot of suggestions of other countries to boycott. Turkey, North Korea, Sudan, etc. So why don’t I also block them?
1. This is not a crusade against every injustice in the world. It is a contribution to the cultural boycott of Israel because of its treatment of Gaza and the Palestinians, as explained previously. That other regimes are also corrupt, racist, and oppressive should not be used as an argument against such a reaction, or to alleviate the burden of guilt of the Israeli regime.
2. Different issues call for different means. I have very few visitors from any of the countries that have been suggested. I have severe doubts that anyone in Somalia would even notice it if they were blocked from a site about Bob Dylan.
3. Quite a few have voiced concern for the many Dylan fans in Israel who are against the current state of affairs and who are now said — erroneously, it should be added — to be deprieved of the opportunity to sing Masters of War in protest against Netanyahu, and quite a few Israeli Dylan fans have called me a hypocritical asshole, but none, as far as I remember, have combined the two: the outcries of injustice towards the good Israeli Dylan fans have come from people who have no interest whatsover in Dylan and his music, not from those who want to use Dylan songs against the regime.
It is my hope that for those unfortunate few, the solidarity with the oppressed will be greater than the inconvenience of being barred from the site, just as it was for the few white anti-apartheid authors in South Africa who because of the boycott were deprieved of the contact with the western culture to which they felt themselves to belong.

Update: I came across this article by Lawrence Davidson, Professor of history at West Chester University, who lines up the arguments for and against a boycott much better than I could ever do.


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.

74 thoughts on ““Why don’t you also block …?”

  1. I’m a fan of your work for years.
    I would consider that there are no blocks in music.
    Music is one of the few things that would in fact unite Israel and Palestine.
    The people affected by the block are most likely the less involved in the bloodshed.
    I’m against the block.
    I know I don’t have a vote.
    You do what you want.
    Anybody can copy your site.
    Your actions have no effect unless creating a useless discussion.
    I don’t even know why I’m typing here anymore.
    Guess I’ve been smokin’ too much listenin’ to Self Portrait.
    Got nuthin’ to do with it. I’m not affected anyway.

  2. You blocked Israel from accessing the site!! You have just made my entire week with this news.

    Thank you so much.

    PS. Just seeing these ridiculous meandering essay type replies full of drivel from the Israeli sympathizers above makes it even more satisfying. Not to mention laugh out loud funny.

  3. I notice that you didn’t have the courage to post my quotation from Martin Luther King: “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism.”

    The commenter above, Mr. Ireland, talks about “drivel from the Israeli sympathizers.” Martin Luther King would have translated Ireland’s comment, correctly, as: “drivel from the Jew sympathizers.”

    And these are the people you are enabling.

    1. @Douglas Cooper: I originally refrained from posting it, yes, because it is a hoax. There is no direct evidence of such a statement from King, only second- or third-hand reports, with mysteriously changing source attributions every time one source is searched and nothing is found. The earliest mention of such a letter is from 1999.
      So, if an Israeli who also happens to be a Jew talks rubbish, repeats dubious “facts” or well-known lies as the truth and the standard against which all other statements should be measured, without bothering or wanting to check his sources — is one, then, an anti-semite if one calls that “drivel”?

  4. EREZ CROSSING, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) – Crossing through the metal-caged tunnel that leads from the Israeli side of the boundary into northern Gaza towards the Palestinian checkpoint, several groups of young Palestinian men and boys can be seen scavenging through piles of rubble.

    The twisted metal and shattered concrete are all that remain of Palestinian homes bombed and shelled by the Israel military during its invasion of Gaza from December 2008 to January 2009 dubbed “Operation Cast Lead.”

    Suddenly several shots ring out. The fire comes from Israeli military guard towers and is aimed at the youngsters about a hundred meters away. Israel has declared a 300-meter security zone between the Gaza boundary fence and northern Gaza.

    Since the end of Cast Lead at least 25 Gazans, six of them children, have been killed by Israeli gunfire in the buffer zone. Another 146 have been wounded.

    Defence for Children International reports that ten young Palestinians have been shot in the past three months. The youngest was 13 and the oldest 17. Three horses and a donkey were also shot dead.

    According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) “uncertainty and lack of clarity are high regarding the precise boundaries of the restricted areas, the conditions under which access to these areas may be allowed or denied, and the consequences of a prohibited entry.

    “Regarding the boundaries, the Israeli military has failed to physically demarcate the restricted areas in any meaningful way, even though it carries out land incursions into the restricted areas three to four times every week.”

    Karl Shembri from Oxfam in Gaza tells IPS, “besides farmers who are banned from working on their land accounting for more than 30 percent of Gaza’s highly fertile soil, Israeli soldiers also shoot at Palestinians collecting rubble to be recycled for reconstruction from up to 1,500 meters from the fence, at times fatally.

    “Not only are Palestinians denied construction material, they are shot at when trying to make up for the devastating shortage by recycling what’s left of their destroyed houses and factories,” adds Schembri. The Israeli rights group Gisha reports that the amount of reconstruction material currently allowed into Gaza at present amounts to only four percent of what is needed. This has allowed some international aid projects such as sewage plants, water wells and community centers to be built. But most Palestinian homes and businesses remain either damaged or destroyed.

    The UN agency for Palestine refuges, UNWRA has been forced to turn away 40,000 Gaza children eligible to enroll in its schools for this academic year because it has been unable to build 100 new schools to meet enrollment demands. The shortage of classrooms has forced most of Gaza’s schools to hold double shifts in classes accommodating up to fifty students.

    OCHA reports that since June 2009, a total of 46 percent of agricultural land in the Gaza Strip was assessed to be inaccessible or out of production owing to destruction of land during “Cast Lead” and inaccessible areas lying within the “security buffer zone.”

    The area inside the buffer zone along the northern and eastern boundary with Israel contains nearly a third of the Gaza Strip’s arable land, and is inaccessible to farmers and herders.

    IPS has regularly witnessed the boys working near the border. Many of those shot in this belt were wounded in the legs or arms in what appeared to be a warning.

    Such is the grinding poverty and unemployment in Gaza, with 80 percent of the population dependent on food aid, that these youngsters regularly risk life and limb to earn what by Gaza standards is a good income.

    A day’s backbreaking work from dawn until sunset salvaging through rubble can net about $40. Both scrap metal and rubble are collected. Some of the collection sites are in the buffer zone.

    Most commonly, chunks of concrete rubble are unearthed and ground down, and then remixed to make poor grade bricks which are then sold to contractors and factories. Because rubble-collecting is relatively lucrative, an increasingly large number of Palestinians in Gaza are venturing into buffer zones.

  5. Do you really think that this boycott will help the people of Palestine in any degree? I really don’t think that many Israeli generals and/or politicians really see the need to play Dylan songs. The only people whom this boycott targets are the musicians in Israel who might be able to change some minds with the verse of Dylan, rather than the “warmongers” that you want to target. Lift the ban, so that those local musicians can change the world guided by Dylan’s music, or continue your boycott and make that reality that much more difficult. If you want Dylan’s music to change minds, then you have to make it available, rather than depriving the minds that need to be changed.
    This boycott solves nothing.

  6. @Reality: Problem is, I haven’t heard from any single one of those conscientious musicians who want to change the world. The only slightly music-related complaints have been those quoting Neighbourhood Bully to prove me wrong.

  7. I think you’re awesome.

    Its obvious to me that the goverments in the West, no more so than in my own country, the USA, have allowed the Israeli govt to forestall either withdrawing from Palestenian land or giving the peoples whose lives they control completley any political rights.

    Because our goverments have failed us, the people from the ground up must ennact our policies for what we believe in.

    Today its Israel. And as an American I would fully understand if the same actions were taken agaisnt people in the US to call attention to the flagrant disregard we’ve had towards international law and the 100K+ people who have been killed in our ill planned wars of ‘freedom’. Justice ought to be blind to nationality

    bully for you for taking this brave stand

  8. Greetings, Eyolf!

    I have previously posted here under my usual web pseudonym (raggedclown), but thought perhaps I ought to do so under my real name.

    I am sorry to see that you are continuing to act as a useful idiot for an organization like Hamas. That is more distressing than your attempted collective punishment of Israeli fans of Bob Dylan.

    I am sure you realize just what you are supporting, and have reconciled it with your conscience. But in case anyone else is still unclear, here is a recent statement by Mohammed Al Zahar, co-founder of Hamas and member of the Gaza Strip government.

    “Our plan for this stage is to liberate any inch of Palestinian land, and to establish a state on it. Our ultimate plan is [to have] Palestine in its entirety. I say this loud and clear so that nobody will accuse me of employing political tactics.”

    Just so nobody can say afterwards, as the Germans did in 1945: We didn’t know, how could we have known.

    Best regards,

    Clive Wilshin

  9. Your decision to boycott ip addresses from Israel is greatly appreciated by the forces of peace and justice in the world. Israelis have unfortunately fallen into two main camps. One remains firmly entrenched in the occupation, settlement expansion and the exclusion of the Palestinain people from the inalienable rights and freedoms we all cherish.
    The other camp simply doesn’t care what Israel does in the territories so long as their lives are unaffected.
    I hope your boycott enlightens at least a few from this second camp and encourages to voice opposition to the sad direction Israel is leading that region.
    Shalom Salaam Peace

  10. Dear Eyolf,

    Don’t you believe like me that Bob’s songs are a stronger force for peace when and where they can be heard and played?

    1. Actually, no, I think that’s an almost dangerously naïve view on the mechanics of peace and war.
      Besides, I can’t recall ever having prevented anyone from hearing or playing Dylan’s songs.

  11. First of all I’d like to offer a big thanks for all of the Dylan chords and tabs you’ve published. I can (and do) spend hours here. It gives me added pleasure knowing that the site is blocked in Israel. I’m fed up to the back teeth of listening to the tiresome pro Israeli arguments which we are presented with in our daily news programmes. The accusations of anti semitism are rather pathetic. The same old accusation which seeks to aviod a confrontation with the truth. Keep up the good work.

  12. i think the boycott is unfair you are only afecting the people who want to learn songs from your website you taking away valued information about other countries stances on the actions taking place as a person who once care deeply of your opinions i care very little about this one and i think you should reconsider you boycott i do not think that it will have any positive affect on any person it does not inconvince any wrong doings and you have seemed to forgot what peace is.

  13. This is my first time reading this blog post, having stumbled upon it on your website, a truly wonderful website, sir, that I frequent often.

    I respect your view, even if I don’t agree with it, and I would agree with the phrase, one that Barack Obama was so fond of saying a while back, “you can disagree, without being disagreeable”.

    I, while not the biggest advocator for Israel, became enarmored of the character, or as Yiddish people would say, chutzpah, of Golda Meir, after seeing her in an play entitled Golda’s Balcony. (For those who would fear that I saw it because of Zionist tendencies, let it be known that (a) I am just a big fan of broadway and saw it because it was recommended to me (b) it is actually the longest running one-woman show in broadway history and was nominated for a Tony, indicating that it had a sort of universal, objective and powerful quality to it, as opposed to being just a piece of hackwork Zionism) So I hope you don’t mind if I quote her famous utterance, and I might be slightly paraphrasing, “Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us [the Jews/Zionists/Israel]”. (This might seem a little biased now, but I shall elaborate on it, objectively, further down)

    My sympathy goes out to everyone who lives in Gaza. It is a sad state of affairs there and no one should have to live through that sort of dystopia. And I would imagine that some of the people of Gaza would have a feeling of, as the French say, dépaysement.

    I was lucky to have visited the Middle East (before the valorous Arab Spring uprising), visiting Israel, Jordan, and Egypt; countries which I would call relatively safe for the region, given the volatile state of many the countries there. Regardless, on this trip, I spoke to a good amount (roughly 20-30) of both Arabs and Jews about the state of affairs in their respective countries. I will discuss those comments later.

    First, I want to bring to your attention an exceptional movie I saw called Precious Life. It is a truly remarkable documentary that really is able to capture the complex emotions of Gazans and Israelis, through the story of a Gaza woman trying to save her child. Just for the sake of full disclosure, it is a Israeli film from a journalist who works at Channel 10 news in Israel, which is sort of a rough equivalent of ABC News in America. Yet, that fact is almost irrelevant to the very human story at the center at the film. For a good review, look at this review from Thomas Friedman, a man who probably knows more about the Middle East that anyone here (he holds a M.Phil. in Middle Eastern studies from Oxford, along with three Pulitzer Prizes stemming from his work in the Middle East, including one for covering the 1982 Israeli Invasion of Lebanon):

    The reason for quoting Golda Meir, is because, in fact, in the movie, the woman straight-up and candidly tells the interviewer that she would be glad to have her son, who was receiving care in an Israeli hospital for a rare immune disease after being told in Gaza that he was a lost cause, grow up to be a martyr, a suicide bomber, to liberate Jerusalem (she later slightly recants this statement). There is no editing when she speaks. Just a hurt, fearful, but tough, woman speaking her heart. It is impossible to convey the emotion running through this film, and it is an emotion that might seem very foreign to someone who is unfamiliar with the, for lack of a better word, rugged manner in which both Israelis and Arabs express themselves.

    Yet, the odd thing, is that, in a sense, I got the same vibe from a lot of Arabs I saw on my tour. Not to the extent of martyrdom, mind you, but a overwhelming desire for Israel, Jerusalem. That’s the overriding issue, Jerusalem. The Arabs feel like they have to fight for it, and ditto with the Israelis.

    When in Israel, one Israeli pointed out to me, that on the side of one highway going to Jerusalem, there are archaic, burnt-out and rusted army tanks from the 1948 Israeli Independence War. He said that these old, rustic tasks serve as almost a daily reminder of the sacrifice Israelis had to endure for Jerusalem.

    The odd thing is, it is this commonality, this almost ancient yearning, that creates this dichotomy between Israelis and Palestinians. It is almost irrelevant that Muslims and Arabs and Jews are welcome into Jerusalem to pray at their mosque (Jerusalem is divided into four quarters, which is open to everyone: the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter and the Armenian Quarter).

    The point is that there is a fundamental distrust of the other. The two concessions I will make to the Israelis is that more than a few suicide bombers and rockets have come from Gaza into Israel to harm civilians directly, which in any other country would unacceptable (re: response in retaliation to 9/11), and that they are dealing with a terrorist organization (Hamas).

    Israel is not excused for all it’s actions. Every civilian life lost is a tragedy, and Israel, whether intentional or not (not judging), should do everything at their disposal to not allow civilian deaths, particularly at such an inordinate rate.

    But I don’t believe that blocking access to information is the proper way to foster any sense of understanding between two disparate factions or quell any malaise. This is after all, a niche site for musicians first and foremost, and not a political or religious forum (Undoubtedly, most of the 5 million plus visitors came for Dylan, not necessarily for you or your dogmas). Alas, it is your decision, and your decision only, as it is your content and hard work that is put forth on the site, and none of ours.

    Just a side note, as I was browsing the internet I came across some key points that I thought where important to address about a Hamas-run government. For the record, my sympathies lies with the civilians in Gaza, and I think that it is abysmal that they are under the jurisdiction of a violent and turbulent government in Hamas. Also in the sprit of full disclosure, I am working on my Master’s in Journalism, and the truth, above all, is important to me, so if I am wrong or inaccurate about something, please let me know, but none of this vague generalities shit I’ve been seeing in the comments above. The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

    1. When Hamas was elected government, both the United States and the European Union withdrew direct aid to the government there.
    2. Later, Egypt, along with Israel, closed off their border crossings with Gaza, indicating a huge distrust in the Gaza government.
    3. Egypt, in 2007, found approximately 60 pipelines that we created as a secret entrance into Gaza. It is alleged to have been used to sneak in explosives and the like.
    4. Since January 2009, 1,068,400 tons of aid, 139,118,433 liters of fuel and 52,580 tons of cooking gas have been delivered to the Gaza Strip.

    It also should be noted that your website can still be accessed by anyone in Israel, through a proxy…

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