13 February 2010

Muzzle Watch - watching what?

I've discovered recently a hit coming from a post titled Notorious Masada2000 site taken down, time to call the FBI? in a blog named Muzzle Watch. Apparently some commentator linked one of the posts on Simply Jews for some reason. Anyway, I was in a hurry and assumed that this Muzzle Watch blog is geared to be gleeful about some other blogs being taken down. Since this time the post was about Massada2000, which is a nest of some mentally challenged folks indeed, I shrugged the incident off and resumed the usual Elders' mayhem.

Today, though, I have found that I left the page open in one of the tabs and decided to give it another look. The masthead says: "Tracking efforts to stifle open debate about US-Israeli foreign policy." It sounds interesting: after all, stifling debate is all we, the bloggers, are notoriously against. Although one may want to inquire what kind of animal is "US-Israeli foreign policy", when it roams free and unfettered? Or is this expression some kind of a hint?

So I've looked into "About Us" tab of the blog:

MuzzleWatch is dedicated to creating an open atmosphere for debate about US-Israeli foreign policy by:
  • shining a light on incidents that involve pressure, intimidation, and outright censorship of critics of US-Israeli policy
  • showing that there is a real environment of intimidation that keeps people from speaking honestly and openly
  • making groups that use silencing tactics accountable
While the site encourages people from across the political spectrum to debate freely and vigorously, personal or excessively abusive attacks will not be tolerated. Repeat offenders may be banned from the board.
Oh, and the blog is affiliated with Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization that displays on its Facebook profile this strange picture:

Refusing to occupy is perfectly fine with me, but why would a nice Jooish meidaleh paint half of her face blue? Is it some kind of Braveheart disguise? Strange, that...

Anyway, starting with that strange gleeful post about Massada2000, something didn't seem quite right with this blog. If it is concerned with open unmuzzled debate, why so much happiness about some folks, wacky as they are, being muzzled? So I have started to page through the blog, trying to understand what it is about and to find where it uncovers cases of "pressure, intimidation, and outright censorship", "real environment of intimidation" and "groups that use silencing tactics".

To start with, a long, muddled and unpersuasive explanation of why Muzzle Watch doesn't allow comments. Sounds even stranger, does it? Muzzle Watch that doesn't allow comments... mmm... there is an internal something in this sentence, something that doesn't jibe...

And you know what: after paging through few tens of posts on that blog, I have found everything you want, especially sharp criticism or pro-Israeli that or pro-Israeli another, refusal of this or another (obviously pro-Zionist in a sinister way) organization to host this or another anti-Israeli speaker (no explanation why it does constitute "muzzling"), a lot of names that made my poor head dizzy. But no proof of muzzling. Accidentally, no mention of why many a Israeli (or pro-Israeli) speaker is being heckled off the scene in some choice universities in US - which, in my book, does constitute muzzling - but let's leave it alone. And all in all - a lot of anti-Israely hooey mixed with some real facts and lots of propaganda.

But then, I have stumbled on something even more amazing in this post, where the author, Cecilie Surasky is explaining about the "battle of language and images":
This battle is actually global, though the stakes in the US are obvious- unconditional diplomatic and financial support for Israel while it pursues its dream of a Greater Israel [emphasis mine].
Uh-uh... that's not cool, Cecilie. It's year 2010 when you have written this, and hardly a right-wing dreamer still pursues that specific dream. It's five years since that Israel, which in your description is akin to a single-minded monolith that pursues that or another dream, left a part of that "Greater Israel" called Gaza, it's more than 30 years since it left another part called Sinai, and the list is not final, I suspect. You know what I mean, Cecilie?

Another point or two, Cecilie: besides being somewhat libelous and somewhat absurd, that statement a) displays your, how to say it gently, innocence re the term "Greater Israel" - look it up at an opportunity; and b) is very well in tune with one of the Hamas chief propaganda masters, one Mahmoud Al-Zahar, who still blames Israel in designs to get it all between Nile and Euphrates. And Mr Al-Zahar is not a nice bloke, Cecilie.

And how does that misleading, libelous and hate-promoting statement match what you say about yourself here:
...within Jewish Voice for Peace, we strive to use a language that does not dehumanize or promote hate, but rather illuminates complex moral issues.
Well, striving is good, but in that case, Cecilie, you clearly gave in to your desires without striving. Unless I am confused. And I readily confess that Muzzle Watch is very confusing...

Or is it?

P.S. Time to air and display that confusion sign again. Aha, here it is:


Dvar Dea said...

<p><span>You never heard of this blog before?</span>
<span>I came across this blog a few years ago, they are not Anti Semites as far as I recall, but they are so far to the left I would strongly recommend not using them as educators on anti Semitism. </span></p>

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Nope, I didn't hear about them until two or three days ago. As for them being left or right - it's hard for me to detect, beyond their apparently anti-Israeli stance and fairly low intelligence level.

Abd you are right - I wouldn't use them for any education.

Dvar Dea said...

<span>For education they are useful, as educators – absolutely not.</span>

Rebecca said...

I just clicked on the link you provided for Muzzle Watch, and there were about 30 comments to the posting. Maybe they've changed their commenting policy. Not all of the comments were complimentary to MW, so perhaps they've become more accustomed to criticism.

Whoever ran the Masada 2000 site also added my name to it several years ago. He kept sending me unpleasant emails about his website and its right-wing views, and I e-mailed him back and said that I didn't want to receive them anymore. After that, my name showed up on the site. I've recently gotten a couple of e-mails from other people who were apparently named on the site, wanting me to get involved in some kind of effort to take it down. I responded to one saying that I thought the First Amendment protected the free speech rights of whoever put it up. But of course, an ISP is always free to talk down a site if they want to. There was also an article in the Berkeley Planet about the site, which was forwarded to me by its author who also appeared on the site: http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2010-02-04/article/34605?headline=The-Upside-of-Hell.
All very strange. But despite what the Masada 2000 people thought, I actually am a Zionist, have lived in Israel at various times, and support Israel's right to exist. (I am often very critical of the government and its actions, however - Danny Ayalon's latest effort did not inspire me, to say the least, and for once I agreed with Ahmed Tibi).

Rebecca said...

Hmm, this is very strange. I just looked for the Masada 2000 site, and it's still up - see for yourself at http://www.masada2000.org/. Even stranger. Did the Muzzle Watch people not check out and make sure that it was actually taken down?

Rebecca said...

I just looked at again at the date on the Muzzle Watch post - it's from March 2007, so i guess the taking down of Masada 2000 didn't last for very long...

Dick Stanley said...

All the stifling is going the other way, if you count Oren's reception in Irvine, CA.

SnoopyTheGoon said...


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Right, that story dates back to 2007, when Massada200 may have been down for some period of time.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Right, I've just replied same on your next comment, this here Echo shows me the comments in descending time sequence.

There is no argument (on my side) about Massada200 being what they are. I wouldn't pay them attention, that is the only advice I am able to provide.

And yeah, Danny Ayalon most probably got bitten by his current boss - Yvett/Avigdor L., and it's very contagious ;)

David All said...

Guess muzzle watch is really not about people being muzzled after all.

OT: Have you seen Danny Ayalon's latest accomplishment in the field of diplomacy: "U.S. lawmakers in Israel 'puzzled' by Ayalon boycott" at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1150484.html

Apparently Ayalon refused to meet with a US Congressional delegation that was touring Israel because they were being hosted by J Street.
Way to go Danny!
(Apologize if you have already posted about this, Snoopy.)

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Yeah, now you know how to relate to Danny A. Putz.

TNC said...

I found it rather telling that they complained about being muzzled and then banned comments at their website.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Yeah, muzzling nowadays is complicated.

Jon said...

The full story behind Muzzlewatch (including why they decided to nix their comments section) can be found here: http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2009/05/muzzlewatch-watch/index.shtml

And you and your readers may be interested in a little blog someone started that I contribute to occasionally called Muzzlewatch Watch: http://muzzlewatch-watch.blogspot.com/

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Thanks Jon, I shall visit your place now from time to time.