An Open Letter to the Yes Men: Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno


Say NO! to meaningless sloganeering and empty gestures!

Say NO! to meaningless sloganeering and empty gestures!

From Amazon.com: Multinational corporations have many enemies but few as creative and funny as the Yes Men. In 1993, Mike Bonanno made news by switching the voice boxes of Barbie and G.I. Joe dolls and returning them to store shelves. In 1996, Andy Bichlbaum made a splash by programming kissing, swimsuit-clad men into 80,000 copies of an action video game. When the two met, a collaboration was born. In 1999, they created a Web site parodying that of the World Trade Organization (WTO).Though the WTO denounced the spoof site, and though its creators felt the satire was self-evident, legitimate speaking invitations began arriving by e-mail. Undaunted, the Yes Men donned thrift-store suits and went where they’d been asked, posing as WTO spokemen and making outrageously callous statements. Their audiences were unfazed, prompting the Yes Men to raise the stakes again and again.

In 2008, the Yes Men premiered The Yes Men Fix the World at Sundance, a movie which follows the two as they infiltrate the world of big business and pull off outrageous pranks that highlight the ways that corporate greed is destroying the planet. Invited to present their film at the Jerusalem Film Festival, they originally agreed and then pulled out, citing their adherence to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. Asked why they don’t boycott the Congo or the US, Andy Bichlbaum said that “we haven’t been invited to the Kinshasa Film Festival (and we wouldn’t have been able to afford the private security force if we had been). More importantly, changing U.S. policy (and the direct and indirect results of that policy, e.g. in the Congo) is going to take a lot more than a boycott—whereas in Israel, a boycott could actually work.” Given that the bulk of their revenue comes from the US, one can’t help note that that sure is a convenient answer.

The duo then wrote an open letter to the organizers of the Jerusalem Film Festival articulating the reasons for their decision not to present their film there. I in turn decided to write an open letter to Andy and Mike expressing why I will no longer pay to see their films or buy their books. Read it after the bump!

Dear Yes Men,
I regret to say that I have taken the hard decision to not pay to watch your film “The Yes Men Fix the World,” in solidarity with intelligent and caring people who recognize that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (http://www.bdsmovement.net/), in whose name you withdrew from the Jerusalem Film Festival, is a misguided and malicious effort whose aim is more to harm and libel Israel than it is to actually further peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians.

This decision does not come easily as for years I have enjoyed and felt a strong affinity with your antics aimed at exposing greed, stupidity and corruption, in both the corporate and governmental sectors. I’ve lived in New Orleans and even returned last year for two weeks of volunteer humanitarian work. While rebuilding homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina, I couldn’t help but recall your HUD prank that highlighted the destruction of 500 undamaged public housing units in New Orleans. I too am horrified by the actions of corporations like Exxon and Dow who cause death and destruction with relative impunity.

But despite the appreciation I have for your work, I cannot abandon my common sense and decency. Your comparison of Apartheid era South Africa to Israel is simply false and totally inaccurate. Palestinian civil society has had ample opportunity to live in peace with Israel, but these opportunities have been continuously stymied by their government’s rejectionism. If peace and compliance with International norms of conduct is what you want, you’d have more success boycotting the Palestine Authority and Hamas.

It is painful to do this, but I am left with no choice when you lend credence to marginal ignoramuses in Israel and around the world who revoltingly use the term “fascist” to describe Israeli policies. In doing so you trivialize the crimes committed by actual fascists and dishonor the memories of their many, many victims. More importantly, you do nothing to advance the cause of peace. I know what I’m talking about and it’s painful to think about just how wrong you are in this case.

Of course things in Israel are less than ideal, when are they ever ideal when one lives in a perpetual state of conflict? When rockets rain on your countrymen? When the possibility of random terrorist attacks against civilians is a daily reality? When world leaders wish you and yours to be wiped off the face of the earth? When your country is singled out as the worst abuser of human rights truly while genocidal maniacs defiantly visit world capitals unhindered?

Is it Anti-Zionism or merely age old Antisemitism rearing its ugly head again less than 70 years after the fires of Auschwitz were finally put out? And what of the Jews that lend succor and support to our enemies? Is it self hatred or merely survival instinct that motivates their deeds? Whatever words are applied to such actions, our entertainment dollars mustn’t help lend an aura of normalcy to individuals that make these decisions. For me, that’s the bottom line.

There is certainly another way to do things in Israel/Palestine, and that is what we must fight for, however difficult our task. We must eschew the otherwise well intentioned simple minded sloganeering and empty gestures of the Yes Men and the self righteous fools behind the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. We must appeal to the Palestinians to seek the way of a negotiated peace and to elevate new leaders that will unite them for a better future for them, for us and for all our children.

As for the Yes Men film, there is another way for it to be seen in Israel… and in Palestine, and anywhere else, so that the people most in need of comic relief, who would never have been able to see it at the Jerusalem Film Festival anyhow, will be able to see it too, and for free. It’s called Bit Torrent and the film is already available there, free of charge for anyone with a Bit Torrent client like uTorrent. Why reward a bad decision with your hard earned money? Folks like you have to learn that there are repercussions to their decisions. I’m not suggesting a boycott of the Yes Men, let each be guided by his or her conscience. But I’ll be damned if you see a nickel of my hard earned money. Unless you eventually reconsider and figure out more productive ways to advance peace in the Middle East.

L’shanah haba’ah beyerushalayim Andy and Mike you shmendricks!

wendy in furs

I live and blog anonymously from New York. If my boss knew this was me, I'd be fired in a nano-second. Ha ha! Screw you boss man!

40 Comments

  1. harvey stein

    7/4/2009 at 3:11 pm

    We cannnot control the behavior of anyone else besides ourselves. We Jews have huge blind spots, wondering again and again why our “appeals to the Palestinians” don’t work. We don’t see that our daily actions (uh, the immense suffering caused by the Occupation, for one, our merciless siege of Gaza for another) help cause daily hatred towards us by many Palestinians.
    Our military is 1000s of times as big as the Palestinians, it is our responsibility to lead the way towards peace, not the Palestinians.
    Check out my documentary about an amazing Palestinian man who opened a Holocaust museum – heartoftheothe... – that’s the kind of courageous out-of-the-box thinking that almost all Israeli politicans lack. Where is the Israeli Obama??!! What Israeli will talk with such honor and respect to a Palestinian, the way Obama did in Cairo?

  2. DK

    7/4/2009 at 4:20 pm

    Is it Anti-Zionism or merely age old Antisemitism rearing its ugly head again less than 70 years after the fires of Auschwitz were finally put out?

    You aren’t helping your cause with that kind of inappropriate reference and comparison. I know for myself that when I am tempted to back my Zionist friends, I lose interest when they start screaming from Holocaust entitlement. So I will sit this one out. Let me know if you decide to calm down.

  3. ck

    7/4/2009 at 4:43 pm

    Great post Wendy! As for DK’s comment, all I can say is that the Yes Men brought up Fascism first and Wendy’s referal to Auschwitz was merely a response to that. And it was phrased as a question, not a statement. Hers was an almost paragraph by paragraph response to the Yes Men’s open letter to the Jerusalem Film Festival. They outlined the reason why they chose to boycott Israel and she outlined the reasons why she was no longer going to pay for their products. Cute!

  4. themiddle

    7/4/2009 at 9:10 pm

    We cannnot control the behavior of anyone else besides ourselves. We Jews have huge blind spots, wondering again and again why our “appeals to the Palestinians” don’t work. We don’t see that our daily actions (uh, the immense suffering caused by the Occupation, for one, our merciless siege of Gaza for another) help cause daily hatred towards us by many Palestinians.

    Actually, the murderous nature of the behavior of the Arabs towards the Jews long before there was a substantial Jewish population in mandatory Palestine tells us that occupation isn’t the problem and neither is the blockade of Gaza.

    There would be no blockade of Gaza if the Palestinians of Gaza would build parks and playgrounds instead of weapon-smuggling tunnels. Or if they would teach their children peace instead of hate. Or if they didn’t rain down thousands of rockets upon civilians AFTER they were left without a single Jew in their midst and with the right to govern themselves.

    The occupation exists because the security situation exists. The security situation precedes 1967 by several decades.

    Our military is 1000s of times as big as the Palestinians, it is our responsibility to lead the way towards peace, not the Palestinians.

    The IDF is constructed to face threats from other states.

    Check out my documentary about an amazing Palestinian man who opened a Holocaust museum – heartoftheothe… – that’s the kind of courageous out-of-the-box thinking that almost all Israeli politicans lack. Where is the Israeli Obama??!! What Israeli will talk with such honor and respect to a Palestinian, the way Obama did in Cairo?

    Olmert offered the Palestinians a Jerusalem ruled by an international government. Isn’t that creative enough for you?

    Why should any Israeli offer the Palestinians respect beyond what they provide Israel? They actually deny any Jewish connection to this place called Israel. They deny any link to the Temple in Jerusalem. That is what drives their negotiations with the Jewish people; with Israel. What kind of out of the box thinking by Israelis will rectify that? Should they agree with this lie? Should they pretend that we don’t have a millenia-old link to this place?

    Why don’t you use your considerable talents to convince the Palestinians to think outside the box? They could begin by simply acknowledging that the Jewish people have historical, cultural and religious links to the Land of Israel.

  5. Rabbi Yonah

    7/5/2009 at 3:10 am

    I thought they were more sophisticated than to be suckered in my the boycott folks. Guess not.

  6. harvey stein

    7/5/2009 at 12:39 pm

    …because if we’re going to be “a light unto the nations”, a “nation of priests,” then we can’t wait for the other side to make the first move. “But we offered them this and they refused”, “There’s no partner for peace”…etc etc – it’s all Victimspeak, which we know we’re pretty darn good at sometimes….

  7. ck

    7/5/2009 at 3:06 pm

    harvey stein: You say “Victimspeak” I say “historical record.”

  8. themiddle

    7/5/2009 at 9:11 pm

    Who said anything about being “a light unto the nations?”

    What victimspeak?

    I brought you concrete examples of serious offers made by Israel and rejected by the Palestinians. I brought you out of the box thinking. It is a fact that Abbas and his government reject a Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, and the PLO charter explicitly rejects a Jewish connection to the Land of Israel.

    Do you have a substantive response or more silliness?

    It is extraordinary that a state has been offered to the Palestinians on 4 occasions including 2 in the past decade and they continue to stall. Not only do they stall, but even as they stall they and shills of theirs continue to demand more from the Israelis without any quid pro quo.

    Stop being a shill for unreasonable demands and expectations and use your skills and contacts to talk to the Palestinians about compromise. You can tell them to “think outside the box” and show some “honor and respect” for Israel and the Jewish people.

    You wouldn’t dare.

  9. DK

    7/5/2009 at 11:33 pm

    harvey stein,

    Explain this to a simple Diaspora Jew. What do the Palestianians want? Please don’t give me platitudes, or examples of what they don’t want. I get that.

    What do they want, harvey?

  10. Kung Fu Jew 18

    7/6/2009 at 1:47 pm

    themiddle, if I offered you a candy bar for your computer four times but you turned it down four times, then I should beat you into a pulp as intrasigent? That’s YOUR fault or MY fault?

    Similarly, Israel has not yet made an offer that the Palestinians SHOULD ACCEPT. It doesn’t matter if 95% of the land is offered unless we talk about WHICH 5% isn’t offered, does it?

    We should want Israel to make an offer that the Palestinian people will see as addressing their claims, not one that is technically an agreement but will continue the fighting for years later.

  11. Kung Fu Jew 18

    7/6/2009 at 1:57 pm

    More to the content of the post, I thought the Yes Men’s letter was among the most principled and intelligent boycott letters I’ve ever read. There was no ranting about genocide, imperialism or the Israel lobby. It was simple principles: they don’t support the occupation and they want that known. Hardly an earth shattering statement.

  12. themiddle

    7/6/2009 at 2:49 pm

    Oh what BS, KFJ.

    Their claims are that Jews have no historic, physical or religious claim to the Land of Israel. That is a fundamental claim of theirs. From there they proceed to claim that the Temple Mount is actually theirs. From there they proceed to claim the Old City is theirs. From there they proceed to claim that all of Israel is theirs.

    What claims should Israel accept? It has offered 100% of Gaza and 97% of the West Bank. It offered to replace the additional land with land from within Israel. It has offered to share Jerusalem and the holy places. It has offered to permit real refugees – first generation refugees – to come into Israel within the same proportions as other countries have accepted them. It has offered reparations. It has offered peace, recognition and economic partnership.

    What they want, however, is Judaism’s holiest site; to overrun Israel with Palestinians; and, to be rewarded for the wars they and their Arab brothers began and lost. Why on earth should Israel give up any such things? Is the blood of its sons and daughters that has been lost in these wars and in the incessant terror attacks of the past century insufficient price to secure the right to our holy places and to self-determination?

    Are the historic or religious connections of the Jewish people to this land so meaningless to you that the Palestinians are permitted to modify history to suit their objectives?

    Is there any reason to think that a “right of return” as demanded by the Palestinians would lead to anything but another non-Jewish, Muslim-oriented Arab state or do you think that the political models we can see in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Emirates, Sudan, Yemen, etc. are desirable in Israel as well? Maybe you’re a fan of the Hamas political model where they throw opponents from rooftops?

    Is there a reason that they refuse to acknowledge the Jewish refugees from Arab lands, in some cases their allies in wars on Israel, that had to lose their homes and possessions and modify the course of their lives?

    Are you so blinded by your sympathy for the Palestinians and your guilt that Israel has won its wars that you actually believe there is any justice or good that comes from Palestinian stubbornness and inability to come to peace?

  13. Kung Fu Jew 18

    7/6/2009 at 3:09 pm

    middle, I think it would be even better if an Israeli government offered all those things at once, instead of trying to get a peace deal at a bargain.

    Also, I’ve said it elsewhere many times but I’ll say it directly to you here:

    A very unfortunate chunk of what you just wrote is hateful prejudice. Claiming things like “they want to overrun Israel with Palestinians” is like saying 99.9% of Jews think they’re chosen over non-Jews. To say that a people suffers an “inability to come to peace” is like saying the Elders of Zion exist. This is hatred, simple. It’s promoting a worldview in Palestinians aren’t decent people. You can bicker over the adjective if you want — Arab hatred, Islamophobia, anti-Muslim sentiment, bigotry — but it’s not honorable political discourse. Except of course for the no-negotations-at-any-cost crowd.

    The fact is, if you fail at negotiations, you keep trying. Bad offers, missed opportunities, weak negotiating stances, none of these are reasons to STOP making offers. Olmert did the right thing to continue negotiations. It’s a shame that Bibi doesn’t even believe in their premise — since we settled two states for two peoples about twenty years ago.

  14. AlexK

    7/6/2009 at 3:52 pm

    There are either a lot of people pretending to be Jews in this thread or there are a lot of dumb Jews in here.

  15. themiddle

    7/6/2009 at 5:38 pm

    middle, I think it would be even better if an Israeli government offered all those things at once, instead of trying to get a peace deal at a bargain.

    They did. In fact, everything I listed except the international city which was first offered last year was offered in 2001.

    So where exactly is the “bargain?” Whose talking points are those?

    Seriously, where is the bargain? What are you talking about?

    Also, I’ve said it elsewhere many times but I’ll say it directly to you here:

    A very unfortunate chunk of what you just wrote is hateful prejudice. Claiming things like “they want to overrun Israel with Palestinians” is like saying 99.9% of Jews think they’re chosen over non-Jews.

    Um, you may wish to disagree with my statement but calling it “prejudice” in light of the past 90 years of conflict is outrageous.

    To say that a people suffers an “inability to come to peace” is like saying the Elders of Zion exist. This is hatred, simple. It’s promoting a worldview in Palestinians aren’t decent people.

    What bullshit. What utter bullshit. Their leadership has stymied every deal offered to them. Go back to the Peel Commission, the Partition Plan, the Camp David offer, the Taba negotiations and Olmert’s offer last year and you will see a clear pattern of behavior. It isn’t, by the way, a pattern of negotiation that follows these offers but a pattern of attacks and further violence. That is factual history. You’ve got the 1936-1939 revolt, the 1948 war, the 2000 war which became even more extreme in 2001 and the breaking of the truce from Gaza last year.

    Facts. Cold hard facts.

    Show me one example of the Palestinians exhibiting the type of flexibility required for a compromise. Go ahead and read Shlomo Ben Ami’s account of the negotiations between Camp David and Taba and what the Palestinians compromised on (hint: virtually nothing!) after Israel went from a position of “no division of Jerusalem” to offers of a division of Jerusalem and even of shared sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Arafat’s reposte was that there never was a Temple there.

    Maybe the Palestinians are very decent people and really tough negotiators. I’ll let you decide that. All I said was “Are you so blinded by your sympathy for the Palestinians and your guilt that Israel has won its wars that you actually believe there is any justice or good that comes from Palestinian stubbornness and inability to come to peace?”

    If they are able to come to peace then you can show me examples. So please present examples. I can point to Israel making peace with Egypt and Jordan. Please don’t confuse facts with bigotry.

    You can bicker over the adjective if you want — Arab hatred, Islamophobia, anti-Muslim sentiment, bigotry — but it’s not honorable political discourse. Except of course for the no-negotations-at-any-cost crowd.

    But I support the Taba offer and I actually even support Olmert’s offer.

    And it isn’t Arab hatred, Islamophobia, anti-Muslim sentiment or bigotry to point out facts. I’ve just provided you with facts. If you like, I can add the 1920 and 1929 riots against Jews. I can add the Fedayeen attacks of the early 1950s. I can point to the international and anti-Israel terror campaigns of the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. I can point to the brutal war of 2000 which targeted Israeli civilians with suicide bombings – a campaign whose growth was in inverse proportion to the authority gained by the Palestinian leadership over areas of the West Bank and Gaza thanks to the Wye agreement.

    I mean, are you so bereft of data and actual facts that you’ve resorted to calling me a bigot? You’ve got to be joking.

    The fact is, if you fail at negotiations, you keep trying. Bad offers, missed opportunities, weak negotiating stances, none of these are reasons to STOP making offers.

    That’s actually false. The Palestinians stall and refuse the deals, then they wait some time and when the negotiations begin again they demand that the new baseline become the last offer made by Israel. Over time, that undermines Israel’s negotiating position and every time they do so, they offer additional concessions but the Palestinians do not. Their position is unchanged since 2000.

    Olmert did the right thing to continue negotiations.

    Actually, he was wrong to continue to talk after receiving a “no.” Instead, he should have gone on an international tour of every leader of any significant country in the world to update them about the generous offer he had made and the Palestinian refusal to accept the deal or to modify their positions. Why should Israel continue to offer without any reciprocity? That’s insane and it’s a very stupid negotiating stance. Remind me not to go into business with you.

    It’s a shame that Bibi doesn’t even believe in their premise — since we settled two states for two peoples about twenty years ago.

    By “we” you mean you and I, right? You don’t mean the Palestinians because as long as they do not acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state, they do not accept the concept of two states for two peoples. They accept the concept of two states.

  16. harvey stein

    7/7/2009 at 8:15 am

    I blew it – I made the mistake of starting my comments off with blame (of course, what do we want, this is the blogosphere!!??) But once we go down that road, there’s no end. Too much bloodshed, on both sides. Let’s just ask: do we want for us (& our children’s children, etc.) to have to live in a walled off country forever – suspiciously like a ghetto, with similar undelicious relations with the neighbors outside the walls?

    Do we want a country that experiences devastating wars every two years or so? If we bomb Iran, most Israeli generals (who will of course be deep in their bomb shelters) estimate that incoming Iranian missiles will kill from 1000-10,000 Israeli civilians (no problem for Brooklyn bloggers). We’ll maybe stall the Iranian nuclear program a few years, during which time they’ll be even more hellbent on making it a success.

    Or – do we want to bring as much PROACTIVE creativity to peacemaking, as we do to all our other jewlicous activities?

    On all levels – ethical, economic, and even zionist – pursuing peace is the only solution. BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. Don’t just complain, do something about it!!! A major war would be devastating economically. Peace would help bring back in the fold the hundreds of thousands of unaffiliated American Jews who are so ashamed and frustrated by Israeli behavior (even moreso after the Gaza war). Enterprising Jewish bloggers could post from Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad, Tehran….

    It’s cool to be proudly Jewish. It’s 10 times as cool to be proudly Jewish AND a peaceseeker….I kiss you Jewliciously on both cheeks (like the Arab men do).

  17. Tom Morrissey

    7/7/2009 at 10:16 am

    Middle’s criticism of Palestinian negotiating tactics is getting less convincing every day, now that Abbas has a good friend in the White House. It’s hard to fault a strategy that’s working: there’s a better, more enforceable deal to be had with Obama than with Bush/Olmert.

    You might respond that Palestinians have paid a price for their delay in more suffering. But the quiescence of the West Bank during the Gaza campaign, and the success of Fatah’s security cooperation with the US, suggest that at long last the Palestinians are making smart decisions in their own interest. A neutral observer would surely counsel further patience, as a future deal, if it comes, is quite likely to be better than anything Israel has offered to date.

  18. ck

    7/7/2009 at 10:17 am

    The Mizrachi men kiss on both cheeks too Harvey. Just sayin…

    I think one of the major issues I have with the BDS movement is that it is one sided, positing all the blame on Israel when in reality that is just not the case. Given that, the movement is actually a hindrance to peace. I’m all for peace. I was ready for it for a long time. But I can’t make peace with myself and no amount of creative contortionism is going to change that fact. I wish it wasn’t so though. But I remian hopeful and I wait…

  19. themiddle

    7/7/2009 at 1:28 pm

    Be patient, Tom. Obama is getting an education from the Iranians and from Arab states. His positions down the road will change because the Israelis will back down and Palestinians will keep stalling.

    As for your suggestion that the Palestinian position has improved, don’t forget that no deal has been signed yet. No deal, no improvement in their situation…

  20. Ephraim

    7/7/2009 at 5:08 pm

    Peace would help bring back in the fold the hundreds of thousands of unaffiliated American Jews who are so ashamed and frustrated by Israeli behavior (even more so after the Gaza war).

    What a bunch of utter shit.

    Israel and the Jewish people do not need Jews who are ashamed to be Jewish because Israel defends itself. Good riddance to them. It only saps the will and morale of the Jewish nation to be burdened with fair-weather “Jews” who do nothing but worry about what the goyim think of them and who are the first to shriek “not in my name” (read “it wasn’t me! It was them!”) every time Israel does something that they think will make it embarrassing for them to go to some dinner party with the bien pensants.

    And what Israeli behavior in Gaza should they be ashamed of, Harvey? Israel did everything it could, short of refusing to defend itself at all, to prevent the civilian casualties in Gaza that Hamas deliberately engineered. No army has ever done more than the IDF to minimize civilian casualties, even immorally risking its own troops to do so; and no enemy has done more than the Pseudostinians to maximize them. You should be ashamed of yourself for blaming Israel for the crimes perpetrated by Hamas against its own population.

    His positions down the road will change because the Israelis will back down and Palestinians will keep stalling.

    This doesn’t make sense, Middle. Judging from Banana’s behavior so far, this will only induce him to lean on Israel even more.

  21. LB

    7/7/2009 at 9:45 pm

    “Is it Anti-Zionism or merely age old Antisemitism rearing its ugly head again less than 70 years after the fires of Auschwitz were finally put out?”

    You aren’t helping your cause with that kind of inappropriate reference and comparison. I know for myself that when I am tempted to back my Zionist friends, I lose interest when they start screaming from Holocaust entitlement. So I will sit this one out. Let me know if you decide to calm down.

    I’m sorry, but instead of just saying the comparison/reference is inappropriate – explain why Israel is consistently singled out for behavior exhibited dozens of other countries (including the U.S.) and why it is subjected to a double standard (imagine if mobs routinely marched in Tel Aviv yelling “death to the Arabs,” or if Channel 1 allowed a major party in Israel had a cartoon an Arab cartoon character that had to be killed because he was Arab?).

    Peace would help bring back in the fold the hundreds of thousands of unaffiliated American Jews who are so ashamed and frustrated by Israeli behavior (even more so after the Gaza war).

    As Ephraim said, BS indeed. These are assimilationist Jews who are simply afraid of sticking out – as they do when Israel dares defend itself. These are people of the same ilk who opposed the creation of the state for fear of drawing negative attention, and people who claim Judaism is a religion like Christianity, and don’t understand it cannot be put in a box – it is more than a nationality – sui generis. Besides, if they want to remain outside the fold – then let them. Committing suicide to let a bunch of Jews who have disengaged from the Jewish people feel better about themselves is not a good idea.

  22. Kung Fu Jew 18

    7/8/2009 at 10:02 am

    No army has ever done more than the IDF to minimize civilian casualties, even immorally risking its own troops to do so; and no enemy has done more than the Pseudostinians to maximize them.

    I presume this is hyperbole, because there’s just no way to look at recent memory and not snort a little. The Israeli press has widely publicized the testimonials of soldiers in Gaza who were ordered to gun down women and children, targeted ambulances, etc. I mean, at the least, the best way to minimalize civilian casualties is by not going to war in the first place, which Israel chose to do instead of continuting ceasefire talks with Hamas in late 2008. So let’s give our moral pride a direly needed reality check.

    These are assimilationist Jews who are simply afraid of sticking out – as they do when Israel dares defend itself.

    There are also MORAL Jews who believe Jewish values don’t support the occupation nor Israel’s military behavior, and have no problem saying so. I think you guys are mastrubating a little bit overexcitedly on this one.

  23. themiddle

    7/8/2009 at 10:29 am

    “The Israeli press has widely publicized the testimonials of soldiers in Gaza who were ordered to gun down women and children”

    ?????

    Where?

  24. ck

    7/8/2009 at 10:56 am

    TM: I’m thinking KFJ was talking about those articles in Haaretz where soldiers’ testimonies that were later shown to be based on hearsay. Remember? Here are the links: 1st Article,2nd Article, 3rd Article. Here’s a link to the IDF’s conclusions.

    I love broken telephone!

    Also the Spectator just published a piece quoting Colonel Richard Kemp, formerly both commander of British forces in Afghanistan and the intelligence co-ordinator for the British government.

    He said about the IDF’s behavior in Gaza, amongst other things, that:

    I don’t think there’s ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza.

    So while Ephraim used some kinda coarse language, he kinda had a supportable point.

  25. Kung Fu Jew 18

    7/8/2009 at 11:08 am

    Ha, anybody here publishing the statements by the coalition of home-grown Israeli human rights groups who say the opposite? There’s been a storm of criticism over the IDF’s investigation, which lacked any independent oversight or verification. Israel is not particpating with the UN’s investigation because it has much to hide.

    Or familiar with the publication Breaking the Silence is putting out later this month with verified testimonials from Gaza soldiers?

    I find it amusing that Israel apologists like to say that these things don’t happen, whereas Israeli vets generally say they do happen all the time but that they couldn’t care less.

  26. Ephraim

    7/8/2009 at 2:15 pm

    Man, KFJ, I wish I had you for an enemy. I could just walk in and take all your shit and you would just sit there and whine “let’s talk” while I raped your sister and killed your parents.

    Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. It is in a constant process of upgrading its military potential and it attacks Israel at every opportunity. Israel has every right to attack Hamas at any time and in any way it chooses, regardless of what Hamas may or may not do on any given day.

    What “ceasefire” talks? You mean talks about”ceasefires” where Israel ceases fire and Hamas doesn’t? Or the ones where Israel agrees to a hudna that will last a maximum of 10 years, at the end of which Hamas will attack Israel with a hugely upgraded military capacity?

    Hamas wanted war and they got it. The only thing Israel did wrong in Gaza was to not kill a few more thousand of them.

    And I don’t believe this “most of the dead in Gaza were civilians” shit for a second. The Pseudostinians lie through their teeth about everything. Most of those killed were terrorists. Not wearing a uniform doesn’t make you a civilian.

    People get killed in wars. It’s a drag, but that’s what happens. If Hamas doesn’t want its civilians killed, they should stop shooting rockets at Israel every chance they get.

  27. Kung Fu Jew 18

    7/8/2009 at 2:48 pm

    The only thing Israel did wrong in Gaza was to not kill a few more thousand of them.

    Wow.

    Just…wow.

  28. ck

    7/8/2009 at 3:18 pm

    Oy. Ephraim, seriously man. You’re not helping your cause. I know you’re angry and all but you should specify “not kill a few more thousand Hamas fighters” so that it doesn’t sound like you are advocating civilian death. Israel couldn’t kill more fighters because most of them were pretty much ordered to sit out the battle. Hamas knew that Israel wasn’t planning a long incursion and once the IDF left, in order for Hamas to retain control in Gaza, they needed their thugs security apparatus intact.

    KFJ: No one reasonable claims that every single member of the IDF always behaves perfectly every time. But I am content with the knowledge that ours is not an army of homicidal maniacs who take pride in killing. Ever notice that there are never military parades in Israel?

  29. Ephraim

    7/8/2009 at 4:21 pm

    Dude, get a grip. I’m talking about killing Hamas terrorists, not indiscriminately murdering children. Does anyone seriously have a problem with that?

    Seriously, KFJ: do you think that Israel should not defend itself from the people who bomb Sderot every day? A simple yes or no will suffice.

    Hamas believes that Israel should be destroyed and that all of the Jews should be kicked out. They do their best to kill any Jew they can get their hands on. They are Nazis, plain and simple.

    Would anyone complain if I said Nazis should be killed? Or that somehow we should try to understand the Nazis’ “legitimate demands” and come to some sort of modus vivendi with them? Of course not. Everyone knows that Nazis exist to kill Jews, that it is their rasion d’etre How is Hamas any different? Just the fact that they have cheap homemade rockets instead of Panzers?

  30. themiddle

    7/8/2009 at 4:44 pm

    KFJ says:

    “Israel is not particpating with the UN’s investigation because it has much to hide.”

    No, Israel isn’t participating in the UN Human Rights Commission’s investigation because the Commission is a biased body, the investigation’s parameters were biased and unfair in the first place, the dates that they are supposed to cover are purposely timed to avoid the history of Hamas attacks, etc.

    Seriously KFJ, you are so far gone that you’ve lost all measure of objectivity. You start by calling somebody who supports and supported the peace process a bigot, you publish lies about Israeli targeting “women and children” which are precisely opposite the truth, you give a biased UN body conducting a biased investigation high marks and you criticize supporters of Israel as if we’re making things up because “vets say things happen all the time.” Did you think that some of us actually know and talk to “vets?” That not all vets agree and in fact most vets do agree on one thing and that is they go out of their way to fight in a manner that harms the smallest number of civilians possible.

  31. Ephraim

    7/8/2009 at 4:53 pm

    Oh, yeah: KFJ, learn to fucking read, OK? (emphasis added so that those with low comprehension skills can understand):

    Hamas wanted war and they got it. The only thing Israel did wrong in Gaza was to not kill a few more thousand of them.

    OK. for those of you who are vaguely familiar with English grammar: to what do you think “they” and “them” in the two previous sentences refer?

    You have 10 seconds. Ready, set, go!

    (KFJ, for you, I’ll give you a hint so even you should understand. It starts with the letters “Hama…”. Do you think you can figure it out now?)

  32. themiddle

    7/8/2009 at 5:01 pm

    By the way ck, you didn’t have to go to all the trouble of pulling up those links. Jewlicious covered the story. :)

    jewlicious.com...

  33. jaba

    7/12/2009 at 9:51 pm

    Maybe the world needs to remove all of both sides to an island.

  34. Rabbi Yonah

    7/21/2009 at 9:31 pm

    They are screening their film at the SF Jewish Film Fest – I guess that they are not boycotting America.

  35. steve jarvis

    7/24/2009 at 1:09 am

    We as jews must recognize it’s time to move past the past and no longer occupy others. If you have ever had a friendship with a former member of the IDF, you will know that we can not continue to live in a state of war due to religious fanatics and rich jews in the U.S. like Sheldon Adelson that fund and lobby the military industrial complex of israel.

  36. themiddle

    7/24/2009 at 12:35 pm

    “Military industrial complex.”

    Yes, yes, who needs anti-missile technology, advanced aircraft or an economy guided by technological innovations?

    How could we all be so stupid as to miss that this is the reason for “the occupation.” That and “religious fanatics” and “rich Jews.”

    :roll:

  37. AlexK

    9/11/2009 at 12:29 pm

    I have family in the IDF, and they’d think you Steve, are a fucking idiot.

  38. Pingback: Meet the Change: The Yes Men | Jewschool

  39. mariana ortega

    10/17/2009 at 4:24 am

    Your open letter is misguided and imperialist. Unfortunately, the boycott made you react in the opposite way it was intended to. Please do not make excuses for occupation!

    • froylein

      10/17/2009 at 5:03 am

      You mean the occupation of Northern Africa? Or America? Or Australia?

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