(off topic) Stallman cancels talks in Israel

25 respostas [Última entrada]
aloniv

I am a translator!

Desconectado
Joined: 01/11/2011

I was disappointed to read yesterday that Stallman decided not to come and talk at universities in Israel following a request by the Palestinians who are funding his trip (he will also give talks in the Palestinian territories). I think it would have been better if he had cancelled his trip altogether since now he got publicity for boycotting Israel instead of for the ideas of the Free Software Foundation. Here is the link to the Ha'aretz article:
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/free-software-campaigner-richard-stallman-cancels-israel-lectures-due-to-palestinian-pressure-1.364722
Anyway, it's ironic that the FSF complains about software controlling its users, while in this case money controls free speech which is just as bad.

aloniv

I am a translator!

Desconectado
Joined: 01/11/2011

Just to clarify: The cancellation of the talks is presented in the media in Israel as a boycott of Israel even though Stallman did not suggest a boycott at all.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 07/24/2010

Well, if nobody is actually funding his trip to Israel, he is somewhat forced to cancel it! According to the article you cite, this is the explanation and I really do not understand how this could be interpreted as a boycott. He accepted to give a talk to Israel but cannot go for financial reasons. It is not that money is controlling free speech, it is that money is controlling the transportation industry!

Now he can still talk about Free software (and make a living) by giving a talk to Palestian people. Why would he refuse? I am sure that if Israel people would pay him the trip, he would be happy to give a talk there too (what he actually planned to do).

SirGrant

I am a member!

I am a translator!

Desconectado
Joined: 07/27/2010

I think this statement is more accurate. If Palestine is offering to pay for the trip they have the right to rescind the offer for whatever reason no matter how petty it might be. I would agree that it is money controlling his transportation vs. his free speech. If he didn't cancel the Isreal trip he wouldn't speak at either locations (or at least that is what is lead to believe by the article).

While I can't speak for RMS but I don't believe he would decline if Israel funded a trip there.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 07/24/2010

Reading the messages that were sent after its announce of the forced cancellation, I found a response ( http://hamakor.org.il/pipermail/discussions/2011-May/003024.html ) from RMS himself, which supports the non-boycott interpretation:
"To criticize my actions is anyone's right. However, what you are
doing is stretching my views into something else (which didn't come
from me) and claiming that makes me a liar. That is not valid."

I have also discovered RMS has already given a speak in Israel (8 years ago): http://www.research.ibm.com/haifa/info/news_ibm_GNULinux.html

All in all, I really believe the anti-Israel interpretation is not valid.

aloniv

I am a translator!

Desconectado
Joined: 01/11/2011

I know he spoke in Israel in 2003 and I am not suggesting that he chose to boycott Israel. But when someone agrees to cancel talks that he planned in Israel due to Palestinian pressure it is presented in the media as a boycott of Israel. I agree that it is not the same as rock bands cancelling their performances in Israel (such as the Pixies) since they would have gotten money anyway. Also, if Stallman needed funding he should have requested funding beforehand from Israel as well in order to avoid the predicament he found himself in where one side imposes conditions on him. I do however think that while the Palestinians can set any conditions that they want since they are funding his visit (including requesting that Israel shouldn't get a free lecture without funding Stallman), by accepting the terms Stallman (and the FSF) basically said that someone else can control your free speech (and advance their own agenda of boycotting Israel) with money. The funding is supposed to cover Stallman's expenses related to getting to Palestine and returning home and not to control what Stallman does in his free time.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 07/24/2010

RMS makes a living by giving talks wherever people pay him to do so. Do you call that "controlling his free speech"? How refusing to talk can be exercising one's freedom of speech?

Notice that what country RMS is in does influence his speech... but in the other way around! For instance, when he is in France (I am French), he criticizes Sarkozy's politics w.r.t. the control of Internet.

Every talk RMS gives advances the cause of Free softwares. Therefore, I am happy that he will give talks in Palestine and sad he cannot do so in Israel. In other words, I consider that RMS only talking at one place is better than RMS not talking a all. That was the dilemma.

Alden
Desconectado
Joined: 03/04/2011

That is correct and was his dilemma. He could refuse to do any talks, backing out of a commitment that he could fulfil or leave unfulfilled two commitments. It isn't uncommon for speakers to not be allowed to make "side trips". If these were companies, we might not see such a big deal made over it. I say let it lie, and it will cease to be a big deal. He wanted to talk in both places, but he can't. End of story.

aloniv

I am a translator!

Desconectado
Joined: 01/11/2011

I think the Palestinians simply used Stallman to advance their boycott of Israel. They could have told him upfront that the money would be given to him only if he does not talk in Israel. Instead they let him make arrangements to talk in two universities and a college in Israel and weeks later they demanded that he cancel those. Guess what the headline was? Stallman cancels talks in three places in Israel following pressure by the Palestinians who wish to boycott Israel. As far as the media is concerned it is presented in the same way as movie directors and music bands cancelling their appearances. All the Palestinians had to do to achieve this headline was to buy Stallman a plane ticket and pay for his accomodation. Unfortunately, most people don't bother reading the articles and just read the headlines (and thus the real reason he cancelled the talks does not matter) and the picture they get is that the Palestinians efforts to boycott Israel are successful.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 07/24/2010

By reading some more the e-mails that were exchanged, RMS clarified his stand ( http://hamakor.org.il/pipermail/discussions/2011-May/003033.html ). Not only we were right, but 1) he does not cancel all his talks in Israel and 2) he hopes that funds can be found so that he can give some more talks in Israel:

> I saw that you sent an E-mail message canceling all of your talks
> in Israel= in the upcoming visit.
>
> Not all of them -- only the ones at universities. It is the
> universities that the funders object to. I have one planned talk
> which is not at a university, which I still plan to give.
>
> I will forward your message to them. I hope you can indeed work
> something out, because cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians
> is good.
>
> Another possible approach is to find other venues for the other talks
> I was going to give in Israel.

@aloniv: Are you Israeli? If so, it would be great to contact the journalists talking about a boycott and point them these e-mails (as well as the fact that RMS did give some talks in Israel a few years ago). The truth shall be written...

aloniv

I am a translator!

Desconectado
Joined: 01/11/2011

Yeah I'm Israeli.

The journalists didn't lie - they just used headlines that suggest that Stallman cancelled the talks due to pressure by the Palestinian who wish to boycott Israel when in fact it is just an internal matter of funding. And that unfortunately is what the public knows as most people just read the headlines.

cladelpino
Desconectado
Joined: 05/02/2010

Not to be rude, but the two facts you mention: media manipulation of
information + public being idiotic, are dreadful things this world have for
which you will find no consolation in a GNU/Linux distro users discussion
group.

I *guess* that you disagree with the posture Stallman took. He has his
reasons, which are:

1- n talks v 0 talks (on which you disagree based on "bad publicity")

2- Dislike of the Israeli ocupation : this is clear in
http://www.itwire.com/opinion-and-analysis/open-sauce/47491-stallman-does-not-blame-pYoualestinians-for-boycott
.

Overall what Stallman chose, *I think* is a representation of what majority
of free-software advocates feel like for things in life:

over 1- Not caring about people or intentional media misunderstandings over
an issue that is out there to read for anyone REALLY caring.

over 2- Dislike of opression.

I *guess*, again, that is the reason why you're not comforted with the
opinions being tossed out here, which will probably tend to Stallman's point
of view.

2011/5/31 <name at domain>

> Yeah I'm Israeli.
>
> The journalists didn't lie - they just used headlines that suggest that
> Stallman cancelled the talks due to pressure by the Palestinian who wish to
> boycott Israel when in fact it is just an internal matter of funding. And
> that unfortunately is what the public knows as most people don't bother
> reading the full articles.
>

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 07/24/2010

This article gives Stallman's stand about the academic boycott of Israeli universities: http://www.itwire.com/opinion-and-analysis/open-sauce/47491-stallman-does-not-blame-palestinians-for-boycott

Alden
Desconectado
Joined: 03/04/2011

Well that clears it up. Tough position no matter what. I tend to usually agree with RMS. In this case, I feel he made his decision and is trying to be neutral as possible (while standing by his personal views, including spreading FOSS to whomever), and both sides have thrown him into the middle. He's a victim.

/edit: It seems that the Israeli's tried to make a big deal out of it, so in his own way, he let them by speaking out and refusing to go to the Universities only. Streisand effect anyone? But really politics are ugly, and FOSS should be for everyone! So I am overall disappointed in the situation too.

BinaryDigit
Desconectado
Joined: 11/30/2010

Interesting reading some of Richard Stallman's personal views on his own web site: http://stallman.org/

Cyberhawk

I am a translator!

Desconectado
Joined: 07/27/2010

I find it strange what he said in the very last line of that article:
"I hope to give talks in Israel, although not at universities." And that's even if he told a couple lines earlier, he is not advocating the Palestinian boycott of Israeli universities? Sounds totally bogus to me, why not just offer the universities in Israel an extra trip to them, without visiting Palestina at all? Maybe not right afterwards but with a slight delay (the weather down there can be really exhausting). This way he would have done justice to everyone and earned more money btw. (not to mention held more speeches).

RMS's views on the Israel/Palestina conflict are one thing I completely disagree with anyway, so it doesn't surprise me he handled this provocative shit from the Palestinians like that...

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 07/24/2010

I believe this last sentence must be understood like that: "The Palestinian people who have invited RMS only refuse to fund speeches in Israeli universities, not in Israel (outside the universities). RMS hopes rooms can be booked outside the universities so that he can eventually gives the talks he wanted to give in Israel".

That would coincide with the end this e-mail ( http://hamakor.org.il/pipermail/discussions/2011-May/003033.html ) he sent:
"Another possible approach is to find other venues for the other talks I was going to give in Israel."

Cyberhawk

I am a translator!

Desconectado
Joined: 07/27/2010

Instead of talking cryptically like that he could have just said: "I'll make talks in Israel if Israelis will fund it. Invite me separately and you're good to go." Or something along those lines.

Oh well, if he is still searching for possibilities to overcome that stupid forced boycott, then there isn't much there for me to disagree with. Huge respect for RMS and what he is doing to the world of software, he may be a strange/funny person to watch but that's just part of his charm : D

akirashinigami

I am a member!

I am a translator!

Desconectado
Joined: 02/25/2010

A bit further off topic, but I remember the first time I heard Stallman speak. It was in a video clip in a Wikipedia article, if I recall. I had seen pictures of him before, and I had read some of his essays, but the first time I actually heard him speak, I found it quite underwhelming. I just naturally assumed that he'd have a deep, booming voice to accompany his stature, but he didn't. Oh well.

technicalpickle

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 03/27/2011

Cyberhawk, boycotting Palestine in response to Palestine threatening to revoke funding if RMS did talks at Universities in Israel is not doing "justice to everyone."

(Rest not directed at Cyberhawk.) On the one hand we have Palestine funding RMS's trip with stipulations (not at all uncommon) and on the other we have Israeli journalists lying (yes aloniv, "they just used headlines that suggest that Stallman cancelled the talks due to pressure by the Palestinian who wish to boycott Israel when in fact it is just an internal matter of funding" is lying).

It appears to me those who are mad RMS cancelled the Israel talk(s) are mad because he listened to Palestine instead of siding with Israel. But please don't ignore the fact that Palestine is funding his trip. If the situation were backwards, the cancelled talk(s) would be in the other country. This is in no way RMS taking a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

cladelpino
Desconectado
Joined: 05/02/2010

2011/6/3 <name at domain>

> Cyberhawk, boycotting Palestine in response to Palestine threatening to
> revoke funding if RMS did talks at Universities in Israel is not doing
> "justice to everyone."
>
> (Rest not directed at Cyberhawk.) On the one hand we have Palestine funding
> RMS's trip with stipulations (not at all uncommon) and on the other we have
> Israeli journalists lying (yes aloniv, "they just used headlines that
> suggest that Stallman cancelled the talks due to pressure by the Palestinian
> who wish to boycott Israel when in fact it is just an internal matter of
> funding" is lying).
>
> It appears to me those who are mad RMS cancelled the Israel talk(s) are mad
> because he listened to Palestine instead of siding with Israel. But please
> don't ignore the fact that Palestine is funding his trip. If the situation
> were backwards, the cancelled talk(s) would be in the other country. This is
> in no http://duckduckgo.com/?q=solange+playboyway RMS taking a side in the
> Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
>

I think from the quotes linked above that it's clear he is taking a side:

"I see where the Palestinians are coming from: Israel's occupation policies
are horrible. (See the *stallman.org
* political notes for more information; also see
*gush-shalom.org*
.)

"Non-violent Palestinian protests are crushed with persistent brutality.
(See *http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=221897*.)
Palestinians who are against violence are looking desperately for some
method of non-violent resistance that has an effect. I can't blame them for
it, even if I don't agree entirely with the details. So I don't want to
oppose them during this trip."

Wether we like it or not...

technicalpickle

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 03/27/2011

I'm not saying he isn't on a side, or that past quotes don't show that he is on one. I am saying that him not speaking at a place where he isn't going to be paid isn't taking a side.

grvrulz
Desconectado
Joined: 09/23/2010

spam alert.. !!!

aloniv

I am a translator!

Desconectado
Joined: 01/11/2011

Stallman commented on the Palestine situation here:
http://stallman.org/articles/palestine-trip.html
Since the Palestinians are funding his trip he should have checked in advance with his hosts that he could speak in Israel before making any arrangements since he is well aware of the academic boycott. If they did approve his talks in Israel and later changed their minds he should have simply cancelled his trip to Palestine regardless of his opinion on the matter since he shouldn't aid them in promoting their own agenda regardless of his own opinions on the matter (since he is representing the FSF and not only himself).

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Desconectado
Joined: 07/24/2010

RMS *will* give two talks in Israel: :-)
* Copyright vs. Community, July 21 in Haifa: http://www.fsf.org/events/20110721-cvc-haifa
* For a Free Digital Society, July 22 in Jaffa: http://www.fsf.org/events/20110722-fds-jaffa

aloniv

I am a translator!

Desconectado
Joined: 01/11/2011

Indeed, but his Jaffa hosts are an Arab organization that considers itself to be Palestinian organization operating in Israel. I wonder if any non-Palestinian organization will host him?