Friday, December 20, 2013

The Man in Me

I hadn't posted this article about a month ago due to believing it would be posted on another web source. However, that did not happen, so here are my thoughts on hypocrisy, hatred, and bias in the internet age. Well, in one particular regard, at least.... (issue of Bob Dylan, Israel, and internet banning, or whatever you call it...)


Thousands of years ago, the Jewish people were forced into slavery and tormented like animals, treated like chewing gum on the bottom of one’s shoes. In the millennia that followed, society tried its hardest to scrape them off of the bottom, from the inquisitions of Spain and the pogroms of Eastern Europe to the confinement to medieval ghettos and, most infamously, the Holocaust. The anti-Semites did not win, however; they did not rid of the mess. What they did instead was strengthen a people, who continue to this day to face hatred, discrimination, and the desire of many to see an end to their existence.

Sixty-Five years ago, Israel achieved its independence. From there it harvested doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, philanthropists, and people of all beliefs, professions, and passions. Nonetheless, there are an astounding number of people who wish to see the end of Israel. The Jews in particular, of course, but also there are individuals of various backgrounds whom call Israel home, including Christians, Muslims, Druze, Ethiopians, Indians, Japanese... the list goes on.

Moving to Israel is referred to as making “Aliyah”. This word means ‘moving up’. Not because Israelis think Israelis are superior, but because Israelis think Israel is superior. Which is fair to say, considering the number of people who desire to own it and think of it as the holiest place on Earth. The reason Israeli immigrants’ migration is referred to as Aliyah is because no immigrant is seen as an immigrant, but as an individual who has joined the higher rank. A better person, now a citizen. Israel has always been the land for refugees, for people running away for the sake of a better life. The many Sudanese refugees can attest to this, as can many Palestinians who fled their own country searching for a safe haven.

I don’t claim that Israel is a perfect country. They are run by a government, a leader with motives of his own, prejudices of his own, and poor judgment of his own…. However, I recently came across a website that was created in order to share with the world the song lyrics and guitar chords of many of Bob Dylan’s songs. For those of you not familiar with Dylan, he is a singer/songwriter who has been active since 1961 when his name became big in the New York City, Greenwich Village folk scene. Dylan was born Jewish and converted once as a born-again Christian. He has found Judaism once again and has showed his support various times, most famously when he visited the Western Wall and described his feelings towards Israel in the song, “Neighborhood Bully” in 1983 (  

Despite Dylan’s clear support for the Nation of Israel, the individual who shared his lyrics and chords on this website has decided to block Israeli citizens from viewing his website. He refers to this as a “Cultural boycott of Israel”. He explains this action as, “…a long overdue reaction to the absurd inhumanity that is demonstrated in its actions and that goes against everything that I and this site stands for. Access to --------- has been blocked for visitors from Israel.”

                This individual goes on to explain that it is not an act against Jewish people, but against the state of Israel and its actions. Without going into the entire situation and explanation, let me just ask, why the Hell does the state of Israel care about Bob Dylan lyrics? He also provides links which answer why he doesn’t block other countries, he explains that it would be inconsequential. I bequeath thee to put aside any anti-Zionist beliefs and think about the sentiment here. This man is at one point claiming to have no qualms with the Jews, by religion or descent, but he blocks these people, these people alone from viewing his website. His reasoning being that he wishes to… punish the state of Israel? According to, “In Kenya, authorities violated international refugee law when they closed the border to thousands of people fleeing armed conflict in Somalia. Asylum-seekers were illegally detained at the Kenyan border without charge or trial and forcibly returned to Somalia… In Uganda, 1,500 people die each week in the internally displaced person camps. According to the World Health Organization, 500,000 have died in these camps... Vietnamese authorities forced at least 75,000 drug addicts and prostitutes into 71 overpopulated “rehab” camps, labeling the detainees at “high risk” of contracting HIV/AIDS but providing no treatment.” continues the long list of countries violating human rights laws. On the website they explain a particular situation in Egypt, “Egypt’s treatment of refugees from Syria is a violation of international law. Hundreds of women, men and children have fled conflict only to be subjected to abuse and discrimination. For some, prolonged arbitrary detention has ended with forced deportation – in some cases back to Syria….” (October 17, 2013)

Cases like these occur all over the world at the hands of nations’ governments and police forces. The creator of the Dylan chord website does not block his website from Kenya or Uganda or Vietnam, nor any other country. This block has been exclusively created against the access of Israelis to Dylan’s lyrics. Lyrics which could uplift, enlighten, and entertain children, soldiers, and the average bloke. This is Bob Dylan we are talking about here; a man of peace and justice and lyrical brilliance. Robert Allan Zimmerman is a Zionist Jew by any definition of the word.

What distinguishes Israel from these other countries? What do you suppose that special trait is?

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