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Banned from Boing Boing for Pro-Israel Comments?

banned from Boing Boing oh the humanityBoing Boing's editors are totally committed to free speech and fighting online censorship except when it comes to debunking lies about Palestinians or promoting Israel's right to self-defense, apparently.

I'm banned from commenting on the site.

Darn it. I really liked that site -- the "blog of interesting things". It's my default site for strange, funny, nerdy stuff. It's too bad the site moderator Antinous appears to have little patience for, you know, other opinions besides those that still believe (against all evidence) that Palestinians live in an open-air prison or that Israelis are acting like Nazis. This is often what happens when science nerds pretend to also be politics nerds.

Banned. Wow. Sorry if I'm dwelling on this. I know it's a great example of a First World Problem. But I'm a nerd. I feel comfortable in the company of other nerds, even online (OK, especially online). Now I feel like I've been rejected from a popular island of nerddom and can't go back (Oh sure, I can visit -- they just don't want me messing up their nice online beach).

But now Woody Allen's quote about any club that would have him as a member is coming back to me...

Anyway, it started with this Boing Boing post, Israel live-tweets Gaza offensive.

Some anonymous guy (aren't they always) named zombiebob posts this comment:

You forgot to mention how the people doing the rocketing were displaced from their homes and moved into a ghetto (much like the ones the Nazi's set up in WW2) by the people they are doing the rocketing towards.

An astute commenter named rigs responds (in part):

The only slight differences are that in the Nazi ghettos population growth was -20% a year (-40% in the Warsaw ghetto) while in Gaza it's one of the highest in the world at around 7%, that in the Nazi ghettos tens of thousands of people died of hunger, while Gaza has one of the highest obesity levels in the Arab world, and the really insignificant fact that it took the Nazis less than 4 months from the time an uprising started until they completely liquidated (as in killed everyone in) the ghetto, while the population of Gaza has more than doubled since the first intifada. 

Yup. That's what I keep telling people.

Antinous (the moderator) responds:

Well, if it's not actually as bad as the holocaust, then taking people's property and herding them into camps is just hunky dory.

Pro tip: talking about how Gazans are fat and breed too much doesn't do your argument any favors.

Hmmm. Methinks rigs needs a wingman to handle the flak. I leave my two cents:

1. "if it's not actually as bad as the holocaust..."

It's not. If what was happening in Gaza was even remotely "as bad as the holocaust" there would be no Palestinian Arabs left in Gaza. They'd all be dead, plus or minus a few living in basements or sewers. Instead, they've got double-digit population growth and economic conditions that are better than in Egypt and Turkey -- and are not even remotely as bad as places like Haiti or Afghanistan. http://www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=105003

Naturally, the main reason Gazans don't live as well as they'd like is because their territory is run by Hamas. If your neighborhood was run by jihadist terrorists, you'd have lots to complain about, too.

2. "Pro tip: talking about how Gazans are fat and breed too much doesn't do your argument any favors." That seems to be a deliberate misreading of what rigs is saying.

It's common among "human rights activists" to talk about a "humanitarian catastrophe" and "starvation" that simply does not exist. There are problems in Gaza but malnutrition is not one of them. And it's not like Israeli soldiers are force-feeding Palestinians into an obesity epidemic any more than Taco Bell employees are force-feeding Americans into their own "lifestyle choice. So rigs was simply refuting a pervasive lie.

Later in the comment stream, Linkman notes:

1) There are no settlers in Gaza.  Israel forcibly removed every last settler.  And the blockade (as problematic as it is) only began after Hamas took over Gaza and started the rocket campaign post-withdrawal.  It's a game of chicken and somebody needs to give, because innocents on both sides are suffering.  But if your next door neighbor has repeatedly tried to kill you in the past and continues to swear he's going to kill you, wouldn't you do everything in your power to stop him from getting better weapons? 

Heeeyyyy, right. How are Hamas fighting against an occupation if there are no occupiers left in Gaza and haven't been since 2005? Controling the border (particularly when Egypt does the same thing with Gaza) isn't occupation; otherwise, America would be occupying Mexico, Mexico would be occupying America and Switzerland would be occuping the great powers of Europe.

But Antinous ain't having any of that. The Palestinians are downtrodden, damnit.

They take land from Palestinians, bulldoze the buildings and give the land to ultra-orthodox Jewish nutjobs to build settlements. There's not really any nuance in any of this.

Sooooo... even if none of that is precisely true, if Palestinians want to shoot at Israelis, they've got all the justification in the world. Right? That's what that means, right? Aw hell. I wish he'd just come out and say it. But who knows what he was thinking.

A little while later, I notice a new dumb line being trotted out by SomeGuyNamedMark, about Ahmed Jabari (the Hamas terror mastermind who got blowed up real good by the IDF):

If they knew where exactly this guy was (and obviously they did) and he was such a criminal then why didn't they make any attempt to arrest him?  Don't tell me Israel couldn't have.

I wasn't going to let that one go. Here's where I jump in:

Why arrest a terrorist when you can kill him?

I'm not being sarcastic. No point in fighting these wars with one hand tied behind your back.

Jabari had a lot of blood on his hands. He was a killer and a leader of killers.

Re: "Don't tell me Israel couldn't have".

Yes, Israel could have gone in with ground forces to arrest a known terrorist, which would have begun a wider war with more casualties -- not an ideal outcome if it can be avoided.

I take it you're also against US drone attacks on Al Qaeda terrorists?

("But, but, but, they're all innocent farmers with no connection to jihad or terrorism and don't you know that all Pakistanis are armed with grenade launchers and mortars to protect their poor little dirt farm that's in a cave in the middle of a mountain range?)

Aaaaaand... that's it. I got banned from commenting. They didn't tell me why. It just happened.

Not sure if it was necessarily for pointing out that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza (well, not one caused by Israel. Hamas on the other hand...).

Maybe it was because I advocated killing terrorists -- something that really ought to be kosher in any forum that decides to discuss, you know, terrorists raining rockets on innocent civilians. Or maybe it was because I prescribed the same treatment for jihadist terrorists in Afghanistan?

Killing terrorists who threaten your citizens; Yeeesss, that highly controversial policy that seems to have been adopted by every government in the world.

Was that why I got banned? Who knows. If you want to chat in the comments in this post, I can say that I wouldn't ban anyone for taking such a position.

That said, if you want to argue the moral case for shooting missiles at schoolchildren (as long as they're Israeli), it seems your comments may be welcome over at Boing Boing. Cheers.

Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist

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