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One-State Solution

Posted on Jun 22, 2011
Photo illustration from an image by Colin Grey

(Page 3)

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.

Timothy Karr: Well, yes. I mean, anybody familiar with the First Amendment—it was really designed to keep government in check. Congress shall make no laws inhibiting free speech, freedom of assembly. And so what happens in the 21st Century is that most people—you know, the Internet has been this wonderful invention in that it’s given the means of mass media and put them in the hands of millions of people. But the way we’re communicating increasingly nowadays is through social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and we’re using YouTube to spread videos. And these are not governments, they are companies; and when you agree to use their services, you’re agreeing to their terms of use, which have nothing to do with protecting your free speech. And in most cases there’s language in those terms of services that says that they can shut down your channel, they can block you or cut you off for any or no reason whatsoever. So I think we think that when we go on these networks we do have these free speech protections, but it’s more like, rather than protesting in the streets, it’s like protesting in a mall where the company that owns the mall has the right to kick you out.

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.


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Peter Scheer: We’re speaking with Timothy Karr, campaign director of Free Press and And picking up on that point about the app store, which is very closed off, and they’re now applying that also to the regular, to OS-10 on the laptop, or on the PC side—Apple, Steve Jobs, according to a Gizmodo blogger, said that a part of Apple’s goal with the iPhone, with all their rules and restrictions, is to keep people safe from viruses; keep people safe from porn, in fact. Apple’s been playing sort of fast and loose with these things for a while, haven’t they?

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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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, June 25, 2011 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

The environmentalist who tried to prevent oil drilling by winning the bids at an auction might be facing some jail time, and Truthdig isnt happy about it.

As always, the Leftists want to use civil disobedience without paying any price whatsoever. They also want to use the courts as a forum to propound their beliefs. Myself, i am not interested in handing this guy a megaphone, he already did his circus of civil disobedience at the auction, must the court case also be a circus?

But in this case I agree with Truthdig about one thing, putting this guy in jail for 10 years is not justice.

So instead he should live and work on an oil rig until he earns the billion dollars to pay for the bids he placed. Then he could purchase the contract he bid for and he would have something to show for his activism. That would be fair.

There is a price to be paid for your activism, it doesnt matter what the cause is, it doesnt matter if you are on the Left or Right there is a price to be paid.  In this case the price is steep… a billion dollars.

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By NZDoug, June 25, 2011 at 12:15 am Link to this comment

It takes a word to Heaven,
it takes a match to go to hell.

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ron_woodward's avatar

By ron_woodward, June 24, 2011 at 11:56 pm Link to this comment

If Palestine had joined the world community in 1948, she would be well along the way to being another Singapore. Instead, she chose killing all Jews as a national goal. Truthdig and Miko Peled may share this aspiration, but they insult us Israelis if they think we share this death wish.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, June 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

A one state solution would work if Israel would be willing to accept a couple of million new registered Palestinian voters.

Sort of like Democrats and Republicans here in the U.S.

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By NZDoug, June 24, 2011 at 12:38 am Link to this comment

AIPAC good bye America
it was swell

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By Rollie, June 23, 2011 at 10:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Regarding the interview on the “victory” of free speech for kids, why wasn’t
there any mention of what the “kids” actually did? That is so telling. Had there
been an honest discussion of the Court’s decision, it would have to be agreed
that the Court ruled in favor of cyberbullying—and we all know how awful the
consequences of that are for children as well as adults, which includes (yes,
they are people, too) teachers and administrators. Here is one of the dissent
opinions from Judge D. Michael Fisher:

“It allows a student to target a school official and his family with malicious and
unfounded accusations about their character in vulgar, obscene, and personal

In fact, the kids explicitly portrayed the administrator as a pedophile and a sex
addict, and even denigrated the administrator’s wife! (I’ll bet she didn’t know
that she was fair game.) Though the judges found that these students’ actions
didn’t constitute a “material disruption” to the school, tell that to, say, any
teacher who has been subjected to such a cowardly, unfair attack. Does that not
disrupt his or her teaching the next day and the day after that?

Truthdig has always appeared to be pro-teachers but drops the ball here in
siding with the cyberbullies. Do teachers have to put up with personal, public, 
attacks if they somehow get on a student’s bad side? No teacher worth his or
her salt hasn’t at least once. Is it even possible to redress the wrong committed
by these or other similarly like-minded students? Regardless of the law, the
students’ behavior was vicious and vindictive and despicable bullying—and
should not be supported as a victory for free speech. How would the
participants in the interview like it if they were depicted similarly on Facebook
or Myspace and they were powerless to stop it? Wouldn’t this affect their
abilities to do their jobs? I should say so.

I am a huge fan of Truthdig and Robert Scheer in particular, who often pleads
passionately in defense of public education. In this time of public education
bashing, let’s not consider perpetrators of malicious acts against public
educators victors when they hinder educators from being productive,
committed individuals, who more likely than not, have their students’ best
interests in their hearts—else what’s a public education for?

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By Continental Op, June 23, 2011 at 11:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The two state solution is as dead as Monty Python’s parrot.  Israeli settlement policy killed it.

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