Note: This is the last week where I’ll be republishing pieces written in the 2000s regarding my first encounter with the BDS “Movement” in Somerville, MA. The web site for the Somerville Divestment Project mentioned below still exists as a cobweb, with many of the items referenced in this piece departed, but not forgotten.
Well it looks as though the So-Called Somerville Divestment Project (SC-SDP) Web site (www.divestmentproject.org) has gone through a substantial clean up recently. Gone without a trace are their original links to the bigoted race-rantings of Joachim Martillo and the work of Israel Shamir.
One wonders if it is their upcoming petition campaign, or pressure from donors that has caused them to bury their previous showcasing of the outlandish bigotry of Mertillo and Shamir with the innocence of those who have never heard of an Internet “cache” (or Internet Explorer’s File -> Save As command) which means previous versions of their Web site remain available for all to see and appreciate.
Note to the SDP Webmaster: You missed one! Your Thinkpiece section contains Lasse Wilhelmson’s delightful essay “Anti-semitism as a Political Weapon,” available from the Marwen Media Web site. This is what one commentator had to say about Marwen:
“I have now had a chance to take a closer look at this site and consult Jewish friends on their views of it. There was nothing anti-semitic on the home page, which was all I was linking to; but buried in other pages on this site is some pretty nasty stuff which borders on Holocaust denial and further nasty stuff which crosses the border from anti-Zionism into anti-semitism. I’m happy to pull the plug on it.”
Lest anyone think this criticism of Marwen comes from a member of the Zionist Cabal ™ or associated sympathizers, this quote comes from Sue Blackwell, one of Europe’s most deranged Israel-hating fanatics who earlier this year dragged her academic organization, the UK Association of University Teachers (AUT), down the same divestment black hole where her American equivalents want to yank Somerville. Apparently, hate-filled ravings too extreme for one of Britain’s most extreme extremists (which, given British attitudes towards the Jewish state, is saying a lot) are still just fine for the Somerville Divestment Project.
Even with its recent disinfection, the SDP Web site is still quite a piece of work. Looking over it’s many pages and links, you would never have the slightest idea that over 1000 Jews have been murdered in the Middle East in recent years, and that the actions they decry in page after page, commentary after commentary, might have something to do with Israel choosing not to allow another thousand citizens to perish under the relentless attack of the suicide bomb.
I understand that militant activists are not required to present both sides of any argument, but for a movement which claims its mission is one of “educating the public,” their Web site, indeed their entire campaign, is predicated on finding a population ignorant of the fact that the Middle East consists of anyone other than Israeli brutes and pristine, innocents Arab victims. Given that Somerville’s aldermen almost bought the SDP’s unbelievably lopsided view of the world last year, it’s entirely possible that their strategy to dump every piece of information that counters their propaganda down the memory hole will bear fruit. However, I continue to maintain confidence that the citizens of Somerville at least know enough to know when they are being played for fools.
The divestmentproject.org Web site’s links page provides a particularly hilarious example of the level of concern the SDP has for “the other side.” Buried at the end of a long list of links to dozens of organizations that share their agenda (what was that about divestment proponents being tiny, unsupported “voices in the wilderness?”) is a link to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI – link to www.memri.org) which provides unedited translations of the Arabic press to the public. Just to make sure this one dissenting opinion (which just provides access to the Arab media in their own words) does not “infect” their visitors, SDP lists it under “Curiosities” with the following description:
“News organization run by former (?) Israeli intelligence officers with a Zionist agenda.”
As my mom might say: “Why do they even bother?”
As a final note, when the aforementioned Sue Blackwell removed the work of Marwen, Israel Shamir and others from her own Web site, she announced their removal on her site’s Home page and in a special section called “Nazi Alert,” informing her readers that those she removed, while posing as simply Israel haters were actually right-wing bigots. In quietly eradicating embarrassing views they previously championed, and hoping they left no footprints, the SC-SDP fails to show even Blackwell’s shred of integrity, not to mention shame.