Sunday, January 24, 2010

HuffPoWatch: Shahar Peer, Tennis Star, Target of Anti-Israel Protests

There were a short series of new Israel-related articles on the Huffington Post these past few days, and it took me a little bit of time to catch up with them. To start off with, here is one story about a tennis star who has been hit with anti-Israel protests at her matches. The fully moderated thread has around 170 comments, with more pending as a write this, so there will be more to read if you are so inclined.

What I like about this thread is that, as many blatantly anti-Israel comments as there (and there are a lot), there are also many HuffPosters who felt that attacking Ms. Peer was not an appropriate way of protesting. There were even a couple who recognized that singling out Israel for attacks of this nature is anti-Semitism. Both are included in the link below.

Richard Pearce
Yes, the spectre of a non-NNPT member, who has never been inspected by the IAEA, and faced zero penalties for developing a nuclear weapon, attacking the most inspected nuclear facilities in the world, the ones that have no weapons grade material, and no weapons program, would definitely drive the talk about tennis players history catching up with them off the front pages for a while.
But the Israel Defense Forces Spokesman's Office Internet and Social Media division would be working overtime to jam commentary on the stories about that, too.

Richard Pearce
Well, I see the volunteers and workers for the (dis)Information and Diaspora Ministery have continued to post the talking points they've been given, so I'm just going to repost my responses to them on a regular basis. If they can't be bothered to do anything but post the same thing again and again, why should I?
What's that phrase I keep hearing about a people being allowed to defend themselves? Surely the missiles, shells, and bullets that Israel was pouring down on Palestinians long before any rockets flew should excuse those rockets.
(Oh, wait, isn't the argument supposed to be made the other way? It gets so confusing keeping track of things. Let's see, the first rocket flew in 2001, and yet on December 31, 2000, we see the IDF shooting unarmed civilians lined up waiting as they had been instructed to do, and then shooting the ambulance attendant who tried to offer first aid to the wounded. We also find them shelling dowtown Hebron. No, I think I have the argument going the right way)
 [He repeats the last two paragraphs word for word in a later post.]

Peter Noble 2
I think Americans should suffer the same fury as we support Israel with tax dollars and discounts on weapons meant for war but used on civilians. We are just as guilty.
Saying that this Israeli is no innocent. If she wants to be seen as having no political agenda then a clear statement denouncing the occupation and siege of Gaza, which denies medical treatment, should do the trick. She could also renounce her citizenship in protest at the treatment of Israeli Arabs and laws that discriminate against a Palestinian spouse of an Israeli citizen. [Is any other athlete expected to do this?]
Peer claims politics has nothing to do with sport but her country is overtly supporting her as do Americans support their stars. Imagine a Palestinian and Israeli tennis match?

[deleted] There is a difference between Israel and the many other human rights violators (of which the US is one of the worst in the last 10 years - killing of millions of Iraquis during the sanctions and the invasion and occupation)
Only Isrel is based on a discriminatory "principle". And pretending to a higher moral quality. Zionism is racism.
Sure many countries use ethnicity and racism to achieve their all too secular goals but few if any today enshrine it as their raison d'etre.
Now you've done it.
You are about to be reviled as a left wing extremist.
Let the revisionism begin.

Shafiq Pandor
I'll tell you why people single out Israel - Israel is the only country whose human rights violations are actually condoned by our nations.
Imagine Congress passing a resolution affirming China's right to 'defend' itself against Tibetans or indeed Uighurs - not going to happen.
So why did Congress do the same with Israel? Why does it get billions of aid, when a) it clearly doesn't need it, b) it clearly doesn't appreciate it and c) commonly abuses human rights.
I disagree with the protests against the Tennis Star unless she served in the occupied territories, which would partially justify the protests. But claiming critics of Israel are anti-Semitic for singling it out are ridiculous. Even more so when most of the time they don't single out Israel.

[deleted] A bogus and stale argument - repeated ad nauseam by the hasbara gang - designed to:
• deflect attention away from Israel to what other nations are doing. [Hypocrisy]
• silence the critic of Israel's human rights abuses by intimidation - attack them as anti-semitic rather than address their criticism.

Okay, I stand corrected on that detail. However, what these protesters did, pales in comparison to what an entire stadium of Israeli soccer fans and Israeli soccer players did to the Arab-Israeli soccer player, Salim Toama, who was playing for the Belgium league at the time and is now with the Greek soccer club, Larissa FC. [The only difference is that you will defend the protests, and no one defends what the Israeli soccer fans did.]

The real story here is how corporate media focus on the comfort level of one I*sraeli while refusing to report on the daily suffering of millions of Pal*stinians.

The Israeli government has no one to blame but themselves for the rise of anti-semitism in the world. It is their hateful, racist, and cowardly practices that have cause people to turn against them. Sadly, even innocent tennis players get caught up in the mix, which is an unavoidable consequence of their actions.

LOL - don't you mean this tiny pseudo democracy?!!

Nothing Anti-Semetic about it, it is a comment on the POLICIES of the government of Israel. It isn't fair that she is having to endure this, why is it happening??? Because it can. There is little opportunity to express dissent at the appalling treatment of the Israeli Government to the Palestinian people and if this makes people angry, maybe they will wake up to the facts.
If this serves(no pun intended!) to highlight the illegal occupation and its' injustices, so be it.
Life is not fair.

Look who’s doing the heckling at this sports event….
“Ben-Shushan, who plays on the Israel national team, was caught on camera chanting the words,….” [Article about Israeli players saying racist things.]
People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. [Racism: Seeing Israelis as all the same.]

Is this supposed to cancel out the 1200 slaughtered in Gaza?

"Israel's antagonistic neighbors are governed by various degrees of dictatorships, some of which chop off people's hands and heads in public as forms of criminal punishment. "
Thanks to the wonderful support that they have gotten and continue to get from the world's 1st world countries.
"Where are the protests against that?"
I have seen them all the time on the various university campuses I have been on and in the street s of NY and other major cities.
The reason there is a difference in expectations of Israel versus it's neighbors is that Israel is a country founded by European migrants and one that tries to pretend it is a Western style democracy.

There is a small but growing culture in Israel of conscientious objectors who condemn Israel's appalling oppression of the Palestinians, and who refuse to do their national service in the IDF:
There are also serving IDF soldiers who have spoken out about atrocities they have witnessed eg the Breaking the Silence solcierd who came forward after the Gaza Massace and spoke about the IDF targeting civilians. [All claims of which turned out to be false.]
These are Israel's real heroes and as far as I know she belongs to neither group.
A sports boycott played a role in bringing South Africa to end their apartheid era and this protest (which is outside the stadium) is about creating public awareness about Israel's oppression of the Palestinians, and a stepping stone to organised sporting boycotts. Their have been similar protests in New Zealand and Sweden recently.

greatscot I'm a Fan of greatscot I'm a fan of this user 41 fans permalink
And the Israeli army commits genocide on Palestinian women & children and stops Palestinians from traveling, even to the next town, not to mention to Australia. Why should this woman be gallivanting around the world free as bird while the Palestinians are locked in ghettos?
In my opinion, Israelis should be barred from all international travel until Palestinians are also allowed to travel freely!

Richard Pearce
[To a pro-Israel poster] Are you going to back that claim that greatscot is lieing in any way, or do you feel you've done your bit for the Information and Diaspora Ministry?

Any venue is a proper forum to advocate for the civil rights of oppressed people.

Thanks for this link. It's just shameful that Israel even prohibits Palestinians from building sports facilities.
They just don't want Palestinians to have anything positive in their lives since hosting soccer games there would be so beneficial and uplifting for Palestinian children and youth.
Palestinians just can't escape Israeli oppression.
Richard Pearce
And nobody can escape encountering the work of the PR of the Israel Defense Forces Spokesman's Office and the Israeli Information and Diaspora Ministry.

I know what I'd do to anyone who stole MY land in 1948 and more and more of it EVERY YEAR since! It wouldn't be polite, so I won't say it here, but if you want to contact me I'd LOVE to demonstrate!. You sir are a deluded fool. It's as plain as the nose on your face who's been doing the killing, and the land expropriation and the denial of humanity, and the daily humiliations. You and your type are garnering up a mighty opposition and eventually (sooner, hopefully, than later) the Palestinians will be restored to their land and to their rights and freedom. I know where I's stand if I were Palestinian, and its where every FREEDOM-LOVING human being stands!
You can pretend all you want. Reality is reality, and soon enough, it will hit you in the face!

Considering the kill-ratio is around 100:1 in Israel's favor and suicide bombing is an incredibly rare event, I don't think you guys have much to prevent in the first place besides your own killing urges. [Claiming Israel shouldn't defend itself against suicide bombers.]

Richard Pearce
What's that phrase I keep hearing about a people being allowed to defend themselves? Surely the missiles, shells, and bullets that Israel was pouring down on Palestinians long before any rockets flew should excuse those rockets. [Defending terrorism.]
(Oh, wait, isn't the argument supposed to be made the other way? It gets so confusing keeping track of things. Let's see, the first rocket flew in 2001, and yet on December 31, 2000, we see the IDF shooting unarmed civilians lined up waiting as they had been instructed to do, and then shooting the ambulance attendant who tried to offer first aid to the wounded. [Unsubstantiated slander.] We also find them shelling dowtown Hebron. No, I think I have the argument going the right way)

Richard Pearce
Well, there is the little fact that Israel controls that border crossing too. [The Egyptian one.] And the Egyptians have to keep in mind the possibility of a vist from the IDF like the ones Lebanon has had, if it doesn't pretty much toe the Israeli line where Palestine is concerned.

Are you sure??????
All the Israel supporters on this site, habitually deflect to other countries...such as China and other muslim countries. [See what I mean?]
Aren't people funny?

As other posters have pointed out the Australian Government has issued a formal apology for what was done to the indigenous population by our ancestors - and a reconciliation process is underway.
What is occurring is Israel has some equivalency of course, a colonial power grabbing land and resources, and putting down the indigenous population in the process. Meanwhile dismiss the resistance as terrorism, and cry victim while killing the Palestinians at a ratio of greater than 100:1.
"Look what they're doing" is not a moral defence for 60+ years of injustice and oppression against the Palestinians.

That's a ridiculous comment to make - nobody is talking about killing the woman - it's a political protest which, unlike Israel... tolerated, even appreciated in Australia. [A slander. The article he links to in no way proves that Israel doesn't welcome political protests.]

Arafat and the PLO recognised Israels right to exist in 1993, missed that did ya?
Can you give me just one example of Israel helping the Palestinians BTW? From where i sit I see 60+ year of oppression and subjugation. [Israel's existence is "oppression and subjugation."]

Richard Pearce
Actually, it is more a case of 60 years of oppressing people that justifies singling you out for extra opprobrium.
That Palestinians have fought back for 60 years, despite all the trouble it has caused them, rather than accept second class status, is no reason to hate them the way you do.

"The suggestion that having high aspirations despite being the target of war for 60 years justifies anyone singling you out for extra opprobrium is about as absurd as it gets."
Considering Israel started half the wars it was engaged in, I would say the feeling is mutual between Israelis and Palestinians.

Richard Pearce
Straight out the IDF handbook. Of course, Israel has been in control of Palestinian land for 60 years, Palestinians existed for a lot longer than that (in fact, when the Zionists decided to press their claim to the area at the Paris 1919 peace conference, they didn't label it Israel, they labelled it Palestine, and those who were already living there, Christian, Jew, and Muslim alike, called themselves Palestinians)

This article stated that she was a former militant with the IDF. So, in my eyes, she is fair game for criticism of crimes committed by the IDF.

Richard Pearce
'Politics and sports should never mix' is always the cry when an athlete is paying the price, but never when an athlete is receiving support from their government, or when athletes walk into the Olympics behind their flagbearer, when the anthem is played and flag raised.
But Israel makes sports a political issue when it takes actions like the one detailed in this Haaretz story , or makes it almost impossible for the Palestinian national Football team to make its FIFA games (they have to schedule several extra days of travel time, just so they might have a chance of getting enough players out. Getting back in is even more fun, seeing as they could end up running afoul of a Shin Bet agent posing as an IAA officer, which could see them ending up in hospital, and being on the injured list for years).
[It's interesting how Richard seems to forget about the Munich massacre in the '70s in which an Israeli Olympic team was targeted to murder by Palestinians. That's far worse than anything Israel has done to the Palestinian FIFA team.]

And here are the comments defending Peer and/or her home country. Many of them were "HuffPost Picks" by the way, which was quite encouraging, even I don't know exactly what it means.

I hope she wins every tournament this year.

Luke Lieberman
Wow, the number of people who want to pick on a 20 year old girl for having the audacity of being born in a country they don't like is stunning -
see how mature, how enlightened the anti-Israel crowd is. Making yourself feel important by screaming hatred at a young girl playing tennis - impressive.
It has already been said that focusing all protest on one country to the exclusion of all others demonstrates at best rank hypo.crisy and cowar.dice, at worst big.otry. I think it is a mixture of all three
Peer is now my new favorite player. [A HuffPost Pick]

Peer is right. Minto and the GPJA are wrong. Simple as that.

Stupid and ridiculous. If these people want to protest let them do it with a boycott or in some manner that does not harm one person. Do they expect her to defect?

I don't think it matters that much. Everyone knows it's just anti-semitism, and a way for other nations to distract attention from the real war crimes and human rights abuses. It just makes the anti-semites look like laughingstocks. [Responses: "Agree" and "You are absolutely correct."]

I strongly disagree with Israel's actions in the region, but taking it out on this girl is ridiculous.
Let her play tennis.

alysheba 3
This is so wrong.

Those who think that Israel's actions regarding the Palestinians are more objectionable than Australia's actions regarding the Aboriginals have no sense of objective history.
While there is plenty to criticize regarding Israeli policies, to single Israel out (and even more so, to single out this athlete) one has to have an animosity that is not balanced or reality based.

I do not see any reference to "IDF" or the word "militant" in the article.
Have I missed it?
If so, show me where it says this.

alysheba 3
This young lady met the requirement of her citizenship in her home country (mandatory military service) and served time as a secretary. Exactly how is that being militant?
She had no decision in any tactical movements, nor, at a very junior rank, would she have issued any orders to ground troops regarding how they treated Palestinians. If you can prove that she was on the ground, or in the air, and personally responsible for killing or ordering the killing of civilians then please provide the proof for the rest of us.

I'm curious, what article did you read? The one on HuffPo said that Peer was a secretary while serving her MANDATORY military service. Where did you read that she was a militant?
Hyperbole inflames, it doesn't inform.

"This article stated that she was a former militant with the IDF. So, in my eyes, she is fair game for criticism of crimes committed by the IDF".
A former militant. Talk about spin. She didn't have a choice.... all Israelis have to serve in the military.

Given the outrageous abundance of countries with miserable human rights records (including ones with more brutal repression that affects more people than does Israel's), focusing *exclusively* on Peer and Israel can ONLY be viewed as anti-Semitic.
If concern for human rights -- and not animus toward Israel -- were the true motivation, protesters would be at every sporting event at which there were participants from North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, etc. [A HuffPost Pick]

Leave her the h3ll alone - she's a tennis player, not a politician. Give your self-righteous anti-semitism a rest.

There is scarcely a country or a people on earth who have not been unjust toward other peoples at one time.
Vent or protest or act all you want.
But protesting a tennis player?
You look like fools, far as I am concerned

Oh, leave her alone, this is a cowardly, infantile form of protest.

to all of the hypocrites commenting that peer and israel are the bad guys....
what about the atrocities that native americans had to suffer because of all of the "new americans" that came in to r a p e, pillage, and k i L L everything in their path?
everyone here is so quick to judge (as they hide behind their computers)

The last paragraph of this article sums up the situation accurately, IMO.
Israel's antagonistic neighbors are governed by various degrees of dictatorships, some of which chop off people's hands and heads in public as forms of criminal punishment. Some of these countries treat their women worse than they treat their goats. Where are the protests against that?
Within hours of the Haiti earthquake, Israel came from the other side of the globe to set up a field hospital of 200 people, including surgeons and operating rooms, an ICU, medicines, anesthesia and antibiotics, and modern equipment. They were treating people days before the US or any other countries were. So maybe the clueless loudmouths who single out Israel for special hostility would like to protest that their own countries have done relatively little. Or that Israel's antagonists, who always get a free pass from said loudmouths, have contributed nothing.

Miss Peer should be left alone. She is in the Israeli army because it is mandatory duty for citizens of her age group. These protests have no place at tennis tournaments.


  1. Found another post. Gee, I am popular aint I?

    Campaigning against human rights abuses in one nation does not make you bigoted against the people of that country. Abuses take place all over the world and everyone has to pick and choose the battles they fight.

    It becomes bigoted when you hold one country to a standard you don't hold other countries to.

    Progressivism except for Palestine by so-called left-wingers is much more common than people singling out Israel.

    I personally campaign in a couple of areas. The first one being Britain - as a Brit I expect my country to abide by the principles it claims to be run by - liberalism, freedom and democracy. As an extension of this, I criticise Israel and many Arab regimes for their human rights abuses against their own people and other peoples, which I feel is done with the complicity of my own government. Apartheid South Africa did what it did for a long time with the diplomatic support of Britain and the US - that was one of the primary factors for the worldwide campaign against it. It was by no means the worst country when it came to the lack of democracy, but people targeted it nonetheless.

    I also campaign against the Mugabe government of Zimbabwe and in favour of the return of the land stolen from white farmers in Zimbabwe. Why? Because I've been there and seen what happened with my own two eyes. After witnessing such heinous behaviour, how can I not campaign?

    Israel sees itself as a liberal, democratic state. As such a state it has responsibilities, responsibilities that it is failing to carry out. Additionally, no other human-rights abusing country has people like Dershowitz amongst others, penning articles attempting justify the behaviour of the state of Israel.

  2. Excusing human rights violations in a country because you expect less of it doesn't = progressive; it = hypocritical and ultimately gutless. The so-called progressive community has no moral standing to tell any country, including Israel, what its ever-shifting responsibilities are. Also, I liked the bit where you imply that Israel shouldn't defend its human rights record, which neatly reflects the view that your free speech is precious and free speech of your enemies is a crime against humanity. In any case, this specific article was about a boycott that failed and made the BDS crowd look like idiots. Please let your friends there know they should keep up the good work (and from my POV, they are doing a great job!).

  3. Expecting more from a liberal, democratic country does not equal excusing human rights violations in other states.

    The 'progressive community' (if such a concept exists) as a whole criticises human rights violations in all states equally - an individual activist however, will only focus on one or two states. It has every right to call out against Israeli human rights violations.

    By all means, attempt to justify Israel's human rights record, but don't expect people to just sit there an lap it all up. Articles like Dershowitz's just motivate people to spend more time and effort pointing out why Israel is a serial human rights abuser and why the contents of such articles are filled with straw men (which in turn seems to give you the impression that they unfairly pick on Israel).

    The BDS movement against Shahar Peer was aimed at pointing out the hypocrisy of Israel. While Israel regularly prevents Palestinian athletes from taking part in sporting events (especially those residing in Gaza), it cries foul when the same treatment is afforded to its own athletes.

    This same hypocrisy is seen everywhere - how many Israelis have spoken out against the prevention of Gazan Palestinians from studying in the West Bank? Or the numerous other attempts at denying the Palestinians academic freedoms?

  4. Funny, there wasn't anything in the last post about justifying anyone's human rights records. It stated that the anti-Israel movement is a hypocritical mess that ignores or minimizes genocides in favor of lesser issues if they have an affinity for the former's perpetrators, the boycott against Peer was a failure that made your BDS friends look asinine, and yes, that Israel should not defend itself if people like you don't approve of how they do so (thus introducing your lame Dershowitz strawman argument). And as an opponent of BDS, I wish you a long and healthy career as an advocate of it. Bye bye!

  5. Though posts attempt justifying Israel's human rights record do appear (like Dershowitz') and I do comment upon them.

    I don't think hyperbole helps your argument - minimise genocide - who? when? You may think Israel's treatment of the Palestinians is a lesser issue, but many would beg to differ. The idea that a single activist must spend an equal effort campaigning all injustices is pretty preposterous. Overall though, there are campaigns against human rights abuses wherever they occur - organisations like Amnesty and HRW are excellent examples.

    The protests against Peer were hardly a failure. They highlighted the hypocrisy of Israeli supporters when dealing with such protests - silence when the government they support prevent Palestinian athletes from taking part in events. Add that to the growing number of artists who refuse to play in Israel, the BDS movement is growing. It's not something I'm happy to see happening, but I do feel it is the quickest way of ending the conflict and bringing about a two-state solution.

    Again, by all means, attempt to justify Israel's human rights record, but don't complain when people rip apart the arguments (which by the way, usually descend into generic Arab-bashing).

  6. Hi S. It's been a while since I wrote in to let you know that your arguments are asinine and your cause is morally bankrupt. Just wanted to reiterate those main points. Have a nice day.