I certainly have my issues with many of the things I read on Wikipedia (and what I don’t read on Wikipedia) – especially when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict – but I was happy to see Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales speak at last year’s Israeli Presidential Conference. After hearing him speak there, he went up in my estimations.
However, after reading the follow exchange between him and an anti-Israel Lebanese man – which just came to my attention – I’d have to say he’s gone up even more in my estimations.
I’ve had a discussion with Jimmy “Jimbo” Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, concerning the fact that he was participating in the Israeli Presidential Conference despite the international call of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Movement. Thought I’d share it with you. I’ll talk more about the Palestinian *issue* in other posts.
in Lebanese Time:
Joey H. Ayoub. Sunday 19th of June, 2011. At 22:18 Lebanese Time (+2 GMT)
Is it true that you’re participating in the Israeli Presidential Conference despite what the government is doing to the Palestinians?
Jimmy Wales. Monday 20th of June, 2011. At 0:19
Joey H. Ayoub. Monday 20th of June, 2011. At 0:32
I don’t find it polite to answer with a link (that I’ve already read).
I am well aware of the disgusting human rights record of my country. I have on numerous occasions shown my support for gay rights and migrant rights among others. My country is deeply divided among sectarian lines and I’ve participated in the last two secularism marches which shows its support to all forms of human rights, from religious freedom to gay rights to women rights.
That being said, how is that relevant to my question? I asked if it were true – I’m guessing it is – that you are participating in the Israeli presidential meeting despite Israel’s continuous violation of international law and human rights abuse which include land theft and murder of civilians – all of which are widely documented and are near-daily occurences ?
Jimmy Wales. Monday 20th of June, 2011. At 7:20
What’s your point?
Joey H. Ayoub. Monday 20th of June, 2011. At 7:41
I thought it was obvious. I was wondering how you could stand in the same room with people who are committing theft and mass murder on innocent civilians, most of which are guilty of pacifism and simply existing. Countless activists and men and women who care about humanity are doing their best to stop what is being inflicted upon the Palestinians because they can see the inhumanity of the situation. To simply do nothing and shake blood-soaked hands and ignore the whole thing is akin to those who didn’t care about the injustice inflicted upon black South Africans during the Apartheid era. The world is sick of Apartheid and doesn’t want to take part in it, despite how powerful the oppressors are. And we are asking you to join us.
Jimmy Wales. Monday 20th of June, 2011. At 9:42
How about those rockets? Complaining any about those?
Joey H. Ayoub. Monday 20th of June, 2011. At 10:31
You’re still deflecting sir. Yes, actually I am complaining about those. I’m kind of disappointed to be honest. I’d have thought the founder of Wikipedia wouldn’t use common apologist answers.
The rockets have been condemned as far as I’m aware by the international community, with a few idiotic exceptions as usual.
It still doesn’t justify anything. Israel is the oppressor and the Palestinians are the oppressed. Complaining about rockets when Israel has tanks, missiles, chemical weapons, a navy, aircraft and nuclear weapons is like complaining that they actually dare to fight back and would not just die and rid us of their existence.
How many Israelis have died in, for example, the Gaza ‘War’?
You can help yourself with a nice Wikipedia article for the answer:
The answer is 13; 3 civilians and 4 soldiers by friendly fire.
In other words, 3 murders (which must be, and have been, condemned)
How many Palestinian civilians? around 1400.
In other words, 1400 murders in 3 weeks.
4000 homes destroyed and over 50,000 civilians displaced from their homes.
The Gaza blockade is illegal, inhuman and disgusting and is making the lives of Palestinians a living hell comparable to those of the Jews who lived in the Nazi ghettos. A good description of the situation can be given by the ISM activist Rachel Corrie who also has a Wikipedia article and who was killed 8 years ago by an IDF bulldozer.
“What I’m witnessing here is a very systematic destruction of a people’s ability to survive”
I get reports, sir, and testimonies of what is going on in Palestine, especially in Gaza, on a daily basis, from activists and locals. I get to wake up in my comfortable bed, have a lovely breakfast and then read or watch what happened the day before, hoping that someone I know didn’t die. Two did.
I urge you to learn about the facts and look at the evidence because if there is anything that we can learn from history, it’s that the horrors committed by anyone will eventually be revealed to the whole public; the propaganda will not last eternally. It is becoming increasingly difficult to defend Israel without resorting to some sort of racist and fascist arguments that portray Palestinians as being dirty and evil by nature and therefore OK to destroy.
Palestinians are being murdered on a daily basis. The rate of Israeli civilians killed to Palestinian civilians killed is around 1-100 at the very least. That’s what we call a massacre, sir.
I’m guessing it’s bad for business to speak out for the voiceless. They don’t have money, they don’t even have houses so I guess they can’t ask for your support. I also know that Wikimania 2011 is happening in Haifa – the place where my grandmother was born – which might be the reason why you keep on answering with pointless sentences and questions.
I don’t even know if you’re actually aware of the situation or if you just deny it for profit. Either way, as someone who uses Wikipedia on a daily basis, I have to say that I’m disappointed that propaganda or pseudo-knowledge has triumphed, in your case, ironically, over knowledge.
The reason I’m asking you to not participate in the Israeli Presidential Conference is not out of hatred for Israel or Israelis. Many of the activists I mentioned are Jewish Israelis after all. The reason, which should be obvious, is that the people whom you will meet and, by saying nothing, will approve of their actions are responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. You will be remembered as someone who did collaborate with Apartheid.
When I later checked my inbox, I found out that he blocked me.
Way to go Jimmy!