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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Free Software Foundation" founder cancels Israel lectures

From Thinq.co.uk:

Open sourcerer and president of the Free Software Foundation, Richard Stallman, has cancelled a bunch of lectures and public appearances he was due to make in Israel, since he'd tacked them on to a visit he is to make to the Occupied Territories paid for by Palestinians.

Stallman was had booked himself in to speak at Haifa University, Tel Aviv University and Shenkar College in July when he also has engagements in the Occupied Territories as part of a trip paid for by Palestinian organisations.

When they found out about Stallman's other engagements his Palestinian paymasters threatened to pull the funding, which in turn lead Stallman to cancel his Israeli dates.

Stallman wrote:
"The funds for my travel to Israel are coming from Palestinians who invited me to give talks for them. They are unhappy that I offered to give talks at Israeli universities, and say they won't buy the tickets if I'm going to do that. So I can go, and cancel these speeches, or not go, and cancel these speeches.

"I think it is best if I go, and give the speeches they originally invited me to give."

"I am sorry for the disappointment this will cause."
My initial thought was that some Israeli university should offer to pay for the trip without any strings attached, so Stallman - who writes so extensively on freedom in relation to software - would understand what "freedom" really means.

It wouldn't work. Apparently, Stallman is a complete idiot as far as Israel is concerned.

Part of his website has something called "political notes" where we are treated to such gems as:

Egypt has opened the Rafah border crossing for people, but not for goods.
This will help Palestinians who want to leave Gaza for medical treatment; Israel will no longer be able to kill them by blocking their exit.
Does Stallman really believe that Israeli policy is to kill Palestinian Arabs by blocking their ability to leave? In fact, does Stallman believe that Israel has had any say in the border between Gaza and Egypt in recent years?

He repeatedly and approvingly quotes Uri Avnery and MJ Rosenberg, quotes ridiculous news sources saying that Israel shot artillery at the Malaysian "aid" ship without any skepticism, and in short fully believes every anti-Israel statement anyone makes without having the intellectual honesty to check both sides of the story.

These notes mention Israel hundreds of times but as far as I can tell only gives voice to anti-Zionist opinion. I don't see a single mention of the Itamar massacre, while he notes cases of tear gas canisters hitting "peaceful" protesters with slingshots and boulders and Molotov cocktails. No mentions of Qassam rockets this year, but in 2006 he wrote:
Considering that Qassam missiles are almost totally ineffective, Israeli policy resembles that of a grown man who shoots children that try to stab him with crayons.
Brilliant analogy there, Stallman. Why should Israel care about rockets that only occasionally kill people? Just smile and laugh - they are nothing but crayons!

Go speak to the Palestinian Arabs - you deserve each other.

(h/t Silke)