Posted on Jun 22, 2011
Peter Scheer: You write in your article: “The First Amendment and Article 19 of the U.N.‘s Declaration on Human Rights don’t really apply to the corporations that build these cellphones and run these social networks. Free speech rules don’t apply to Silicon Valley.” That’s a scary thought.
Kasia Anderson: Tim, don’t you see this as potentially a little bit ironic, given Apple’s famous 1984-themed commercial? [Laughs]
Timothy Karr: Yeah, no, I think—well, this is … there’s been an interesting evolution of Apple from a company that people thought was sort of the rebel, that was the outsider, that was really standing up for users, to a company that is siding increasingly with the entertainment industry and sort of large-media industry to try to protect big business and protect against the kind of innovations that are coming from the open source movement and elsewhere. Ever since they introduced, really, the iPod and iTunes they have begun to be very protective of copyright, and increasingly now through the iPhone they’re protective of what many call a “closed media model,” a gatekeeper model of the Internet—where instead of really surfing the Web, you have to use apps that they approve in order to have an Internet experience. And that’s a closed model, as opposed to the open model that has fueled the public Internet for the last 15 years.
Square, Site wide
Timothy Karr: Well, they have. And I think they may say that those are their intentions for blocking certain apps against others, but they do have a record of actually blocking apps that are competitive with some of their services, or competitive with the services of some of their allies. And it’s one of the reasons that when Google created an app market they claimed that the Android market, which is the operating platform for Google, phones that cooperate with Google, is an open marketplace. But even there, we’re finding that Google is now partnering with some of the device manufacturers and some of the networks, like Verizon, in blocking people’s access to applications there. But this evolution from sort of an open Web-surfing experience that people have become familiar with over the last 15 years to something that’s more of a closed network, that is guided by the use of apps, is problematic. And I think people need to understand that in adopting the app model and using handheld devices, that they are potentially sacrificing a lot of the freedoms that they were used to in using the Internet.
Kasia Anderson: Well, in the meantime, let’s all just enjoy the use of our, control of our smartphones while it lasts. And thank you, Timothy Karr, once again, author of the article on Huffington Post, “Is Apple Launching a Preemptive Strike Against Free Speech?” And we hope that you stay on this case for all of our good.
Timothy Karr: I will.
Peter Scheer: Agreed. Thanks for joining us.
Timothy Karr: Thank you.
Peter Scheer: This is Truthdig Radio, and we are joined by Miko Peled. He is an Israeli peace activist and author of the book “The General’s Son.” He comes from a long line of Zionists; his father was a general in the War of ’67 and an officer in ’48. And we encountered him recently in a video by AlterNet focused … welcome, first of all.
Miko Peled: Thank you. Nice to be with you guys.
Peter Scheer: So we put up an item based on your video about the three myths. But before we get to the three myths, I just want to ask you—you know, this issue…a lot of this doesn’t come as a revelation to people who have been close to this issue or studying it. But it remains controversial, in this country especially. And I wonder—you know, you mention in that video, which people should definitely go check out, that Israelis and Americans are not in full possession of the truth, in part because the Zionist education system in Israel teaches that Palestinian life is worthless, you say. But I wonder if you can just talk on that briefly.
Miko Peled: When I express my views about the rights of Palestinians and so forth, and about the ethnic cleansing that Israel has been conducting in Palestine over the last six decades, people call me an extremist and they say that my views are a minority, and so on and so forth. And the point that I make is, you’re only considered an extremist and a minority when you’re looking at, when you’re considering Israel and the U.S. But if you look at Europe, and even more so if you look at Africa and Asia and the Arab world, these things are common knowledge; like you said, people know that this is what’s going on, that this is a reality. They don’t always necessarily admit it, but everybody else knows, and everybody else talks about it. And so this is an important thing for people to consider: the fact that here in America people think that these views are extreme or don’t really represent anybody but a small minority is not really relevant, because the rest of the world does know that this is how things are over there.
Peter Scheer: Yeah, and it does seem to be that people don’t really know what happened in Gaza—the attack on Gaza, the attack on Lebanon, the treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories. It seems it really is a question of ignorance, and how can people be so ignorant?
Miko Peled: Well, it’s not all ignorance. In Israel it’s not ignorance; in Israel they justify it. I mean, this stuff is in the news, it’s in the newspapers, so people are quite well informed. Plus, in Israel everybody’s got either a friend or relative who’s either a reservist or is in active duty in the military, so people know very well what’s going on; it’s just that they don’t care. They don’t think it’s part of their life; they don’t think they need to worry about it, and they justify it. Here in the U.S. people justify it too, but it’s more like you say—it’s more they justify it because they really don’t have full possession of the truth and they don’t really have full possession of the facts.
Peter Scheer: Right.
Miko Peled: So they can’t really make an informed … they can’t really form an informed opinion about this, because they don’t have possession of the facts.
Peter Scheer: So, you lost your niece to a Palestinian terrorist attack. And what is it you say to people when they accuse you of being sympathetic or soft on terror?
Miko Peled: Well, I just tell them what my sister said, you know, my niece’s mother, my sister Marit. When she finally came out of her room after this horrible tragedy, after the funeral—and of course this was big news in Israel, because she was the granddaughter of a famous man, of a general, and also of a man who represented, almost more than anybody in Israel, an effort to reconcile with the Palestinians. So this was big news, and her apartment was full of reporters and people. And she came out, and the first words out of her mouth were, “No real mother would want the same thing to happen to another mother.” So anybody who is talking about retaliation or revenge, I mean, what can you say? A mother just came out of her room having buried her 13-year-old daughter, and this is what she says. She doesn’t want revenge, she wants reconciliation. She doesn’t want any other mother to suffer the same fate. That’s it, I think: Case closed.
Peter Scheer: So, let’s get into the three myths that you outline. I’ll just run through them really quickly: a country without a people, the existential threat, and Israeli democracy. So, let’s start with a country without a people.
Miko Peled: Yes. Well, what a lot of people learn both in Israel and the U.S. is that somehow when Jews returned, or when Jews started immigrating back to Palestine, they came into a country that was barren, a country that was mostly desert and inhabited by nomads and by transient populations. And that when the Jews came they started building, and they developed an industry, and they developed commerce, and they developed education, and they developed health care, and so on and so forth. The truth is that the Palestinians were on the verge of becoming a state. So they had hospitals, and they had an education system, and they had a judicial system, and they had a very vibrant middle class, and they had cities with commerce. And they had all these things.
What the Jewish people did when they emigrated is they developed a parallel system. They developed a system, an education system, a health care system, a government system, and so on, that was separate and completely segregated from what the Palestinians had. And it was based on a principle that was coined by David Ben-Gurion—who was like the Israeli George Washington, I suppose—and he called in hafrada, which hafrada in Hebrew means segregation, or separation, or apartheid if you will. And that we were always going to be separate and segregated from them, from the Arabs. And so this is a myth—I mean, there were over a million and a half or so Palestinian Arabs living in Palestine at the time. And again, the place was alive—it wasn’t dead, it wasn’t that they didn’t have all these things; these things existed. The Jewish people came and tried to develop and tried to build and establish a Jewish state, which may not be justifiable, but they wanted the Jewish state in a country that has a population that is not Jewish.
Peter Scheer: Right.
Miko Peled: And so they had to develop this myth; I mean, they had to justify it somehow. And you talk to people even today, and they say, “But you know, of course, they brought this and they brought that, and they helped the Arabs develop this and they helped the Arabs develop that,” and as all colonial powers claim, that they brought all these good things to the local natives.
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