Celebrities Speak Out

Cartoon by Eli Valley, courtesy of copyright holders Forward Magazine. Used with permission. Click Image to read original article!

Via orwellwasright:

When Stephen Hawking announced he was boycotting Israel in protest of their occupation of Palestinian land the ensuing furore was nothing if not predictable.

After a barrage of appeals from Palestinian academics the world-renowned scientist cancelled his appearance at the high-profile Presidential Conference. Hawkings stated in a letter dated 3rd May: “I accepted the invitation to the Presidential Conference with the intention that this would not only allow me to express my opinion on the prospects for a peace settlement but also because it would allow me to lecture on the West Bank. However, I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference. Had I attended, I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster.”

Opposition to the move from Israel was swift, condemning his decision as “outrageous and improper”, with conference chairman Israel Maimon going on to say, “Israel is a democracy in which all individuals are free to express their opinions, whatever they may be. The imposition of a boycott is incompatible with open, democratic dialogue.” Many of Israel’s supporters have attacked Hawkings on the grounds that he uses Intel technology in order to speak – it appears that they believe that the price of this ability is his freedom to speak his mind if it runs contrary to their opinions.

Palestinians living in Gaza and the Occupied Territories see very little of the open, democratic process the Israeli government claims to stand for – instead, they find themselves under fire from extremist Zionist settlers, who attack with impunity alongside IDF soldiers who have a track record of firing on civilians – often children – and detaining and torturing Palestinians in the thousands without charge.

The response from Palestinian academics to Hawking’s decision was understandably different than the Israelis. Samia al-Botmeh, of Birzeit University in the West Bank, said: “We tried to communicate two points to him. First, that Israel is a colonial entity that involves violations of the rights of the Palestinians, including academic freedom, and then asking him to stand in solidarity with Palestinian academic colleagues who have called for solidarity from international academics in the form of boycotting Israeli academia and academic institutions.”

Other public figures have also expressed their objection to the treatment of the Palestinians by the State of Israel. Roger Waters of Pink Floyd earlier this year likened Israel to South Africa under apartheid (a common comparison), and called for fellow musicians to boycott Israel, describing the occupation and illegal settlements as “an impregnable obstacle to peace.”  Since then he has stated that he is reconsidering his position. “Assuming that you’re rational and that you care about other human beings, the goal strategically should be a solution of the Palestinian refugee problem, an end to the occupation, security and the right to lead a decent life for all the citizens of Israel.”

A more unexpected supporter of the Palestinian cause is international football star Cristiano Ronaldo, who recently refused to swap shirts at the end of a match against Israel. It was also reported in November 2012 that the world’s most expensive footballer donated €1.5 million to Palestinian children in Gaza.

Calls for boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel for its theft and occupation of Palestinian land are nothing new; equally, accusations of “anti-semitism” have long been a stock response from supporters of Israel, however much they often serve as a distraction from genuine, valid criticisms – conflating anti-Zionism with hatred of Jews has long been the modus operandi of the Israeli hasbara. Similarly, criticism of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were often met with cries of “anti-American!” from the pro-war hawks.

Recently there seems to be an increasing trend in public figures and celebrities speaking out and entering the political arena, sometimes regarding far more contentious topics than the legal/ethical ramifications of the State of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people.

The film industry is hardly renowned for possessing a political and social conscience; while Hollywood is often perceived as being “liberal”, the number of pro-war, jingoistic movies it produces – often with the assistance of the Pentagon – would suggest that its values are more often than not in line with the ideology of the state. There are few filmmakers working today who bring to the screen the same political and social conscience of, say, British director Ken Loach, whose filmography is somewhat reminiscent of an activist’s itenerary spanning the last few decades. But Loach has always worked on the fringe of the industry – a high profile Hollywood movie about the plight of the Palestinians is unimaginable.

Yet, off-screen, a number of Hollywood figures have spoken out against human rights abuses and the projection of American military might. Woody Harrelson is one of the most vocal of these stars; having spoken out against the invasion of Iraq in 2003, he has also supported a number of environmental concerns, as well as advocating the legalisation of marijuana and hemp. More recently he presented Ethos, a documentary which predictably came under fire for its lack of overt criticism of the Obama administration and accusations that it was little more than “left-wing propaganda”.

Other stars have spoken out about the nature of the industry itself. Thandie Newton, star of Mission: Impossible 2, Crash and 2012, recently told CNN of the sexual harassment and exploitation she experienced upon entering the industry as a teenager. While this was hardly a shocking revelation – the casting-couch has long been synonymous with the trading of sexual “favours” in exchange for an opportunity to advance a career in the movies – it is nevertheless rare for high-profile actors to discuss it, never mind slam the industry in such a public manner.

Roseanne Barr went considerably further than Newton in her critique of the industry when she appeared on Abby Martin’s Breaking the Set on Russia Today. In the interview, she explains how government mind control programs are associated with the movie industry, stating, “MK Ultra mind control rules in Hollywood,” a notion that regular readers of Vigilant Citizen will be all too aware of. In an interview with Larry King on CNN, Barr went so far as to say, “I believe the government has implanted some kind of a chip into my head … ”

Mind control programs have been more frequently associated with the music industry, with a number of conspiracy theories surrounding the use of occult Satanic/Freemasonic imagery in music videos by the likes of Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyonce and Jay-Z. Accused of being part of the Illuminati, these and other megastars have sometimes spoken of selling their soul to the devil in order to achieve fame – whether they mean this literally, or simply as a metaphor for the cutthroat nature of the industry, is open to debate. Dancing with the Devil by Ke$ha is to some a prime example of whistleblowing music, with the lyrics “I keep on dancing with the Devil/I sold my soul, it’s a dead-end road/But there ain’t no turning back/I keep on dancing with the Devil” – is this a coded message for her experience of the music industry?

Tila Tequila corroborated the view held by some when she spoke out quite openly about “popstars that worship satan” and the Illuminati. Writing on her blog, she stated, “Right now I can honestly tell you a gripfull of people who have signed their soul away to the devil: Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Xtina Taylor Swift, Nichole from PussyCatDolls, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus and the list goes on and on and on. For those of you who are fans of these people, I am sorry, you don’t have to believe me, but it is TRUE!”

You don’t have to be a celebrity speaking out about the alleged involvement of Satanists and secret societies operating at the heart of the industry – discussing other conspiracies can land the famous in hot water, as Lauren Hill discovered. After facing jail time for tax evasion, Hill was instructed to attend counselling for her “conspiracy theories”. The offending remarks to the court included the statement, “I am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them. I had an economic system imposed on me.” Hardly an outlandish statement – and her views on the music industry certainly seem more reasonable than the suggestion that it is driven by occultists:

“It was this schism and the hypocrisy, violence and social cannibalism it enabled, that I wanted and needed to be freed from, not from art or music, but the suppression/repression and reduction of that art and music to a bottom line alone, without regard for anything else.  Over-commercialization and its resulting restrictions and limitations can be very damaging and distorting to the inherent nature of the individual.  I Love making art, I Love making music, these are as natural and necessary for me almost as breathing or talking.  To be denied the right to pursue it according to my ability, as well as be properly acknowledged and compensated for it, in an attempt to control, is manipulation directed at my most basic rights!  These forms of expression, along with others, effectively comprise my free speech!  Defending, preserving, and protecting these rights are critically important, especially in a paradigm where veiled racism, sexism, ageism, nepotism, and deliberate economic control are still blatant realities!!!”

While Hill’s statements hardly fall into the category of outlandish conspiracy, Alice Walker, the author of The Color Purple, came under fire recently when she appeared on BBC Radio 4 and selected Human Race Get Off Your Knees by David Icke as her desert island book. Describing the book as “the ultimate reading adventure” and comparing Icke to Malcolm X, the author was instantly attacked by the mainstream media for her association with one of the world’s preeminent “conspiracy theorists” (Icke’s detractors are quick to jump on the shape-shifting lizards but are often silent on other matters on which he has since been proven right, such as Jimmy Savile and the paedophile networks).

Another celebrity endorsement for David Icke came from Russell Brand, who featured him on his show Brand X – Noel Gallagher from Oasis appeared alongside Icke and stated that he too was an admirer, a sure sign that conspiracy views from the fringe are permeating the mainstream. And while the media’s response is unilateral derision and contempt, perhaps it is also a sign that some of Icke’s theories – at least, some of the more palatable challenges to orthodoxy – are being considered by an audience previously completely out of reach.

It is an interesting trend to witness, and while you can’t draw direct comparisons between Hawking and his position on Israel and musicians and actors speaking out about devil worshipping and brainwashing in their respective industries, such pronouncements are at the very least curious in how they affect our perception of public figures. Whether or not what they say has any “truth” to it, when celebrities speak out a refreshing new take on the cultural landscape emerges which reflects on some of the broader – and more challenging – issues of our times.

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  • Ted Heistman

    That cartoon was rather mean spirited to say the least.

    • cakey pig

      It actually reminds me of some caricatures of Jews that I saw in a history book…

      • Ted Heistman

        In fairness to the artist it looks like he was going for reverse irony, so that might be deliberate:

        http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2013/05/14/cartoon-satire-skewers-attackers-of-stephen-hawking/

        • ParanoidCoast

          I think you’re correct. That’s the impression I got the second time I read the captions in the cartoon.

          • Andy Dilks

            It certainly is absurd satire (having discussed Zionism with many Zionists on the internet I certainly get the humour intended…)

        • cakey pig

          yep yep yep

        • Anarchy Pony

          It seems legitimately like mindless pro-zionism until the part about the teeth and white phosphorus(which is used as an anti personnel incendiary weapon), after that it is either off the rails crazy or just absurd satire.

  • markkraft

    I find the cartoon to be quite ignorant and downright false in many cases.

    For a start, the wheel does not appear to have been invented in Israel. The oldest existing wooden wheel dates to over 5000 BC from Slovenia. Likewise, Hummus dates back to the Egypt/Levant period *AFTER* the fall of Israel.

    And saying “Hate Jews? Don’t use the wheel”… ignores the fact that Hawking hardly hates Jews. Indeed, the friend who was arguably the most important influence on his decision to boycott Israel was Noam Chomsky, who is most certainly Jewish.

    • Ted Heistman

      what about air? air is Jewish right?

    • cakey pig

      “And saying “Hate Jews? Don’t use the wheel”… ignores the fact that Hawking hardly hates Jews.”

      This is what them Zionists love to do – you can’t criticize them without being ‘against’ them. They’re like a collective horrible spoilt little child.

      • Ted Heistman

        You guys aren’t really getting the joke. I didn’t get it at first. The Jewish cartoonist is making fun of rabidly pro-Israel Jews.

        • Andy Dilks

          exactly – having “discussed” Zionism with Zionists (hardly a pursuit conducive to rational polite conversation) the satire in the cartoon is, for me anyway, striking and amusing

    • Andy Dilks

      How on earth have you people missed the obvious satire in the cartoon? It leaps out and smacks you in the face, surely!

  • Andy Dilks

    The cartoon is meant to be satirical – it came from the Jewish daily Forward: http://blogs.forward.com/forward-thinking/176610/brief-history-of-stephen-hawkings-hypocrisy/

  • geminihigh

    “Israel is a democracy in which all individuals are free to express their opinions, whatever they may be. The imposition of a boycott is incompatible with open, democratic dialogue.” Guess boycotts work differently in Israel? People like Hawking and Waters are ignorant, anti-semitic fools. If they would only examine God’s Word they would know that the Jews are a superior race favored by Yahweh above all others (males in particular.) If they cracked open a history book they would know that the Holocaust absolved the Jewish people from ever, ever being wrong, or in the wrong. Jews can only be the victims of crime or aggression, never the perps. There are some ignorant goys, I mean guys, out there.

    • Ted Heistman

      obvious troll is obvious

      • Andy Dilks

        indeed…

      • doodahman

        Wrong, shill. He is on point. You just disagree with him. Is there any argument you can make that is not ad hominem? You are embarrassing yourself.

        • Ted Heistman

          Yeah, I am paid shill. Your psychic powers are too much for me!

          • emperorreagan

            What’s the going rate these days? I feel like I could have a promising future as a paid shill.

          • Ted Heistman

            apparently doesn’t pay much seeing as I can’t afford a car…

        • Ted Heistman

          here you go Andy. Exhibit A.

  • Ted Heistman

    Regardless what Israel does, along with Nietzsche and Jean Paul Sartre, I find anti-Semites to be the most, mediocre, unthinking people around.

    • Andy Dilks

      I find fascists tend to be the most unthinking people myself – can’t say as I’ve met many genuine anti-Semites

      • doodahman

        Anti Semitism is a red herring. It throws the focus off the topic– Israel’s clear wrongdoing, and tries to focus on the alleged motives of the other person. Motives which none of you know, but conveniently characterize so as to avoid the actual ISSUE. So whatever–it’s an ad hominem attack wrapped in PC bullshit. The person who makes it dishonors and discredits himself only.

        • Andrew

          Unless, of course, the person accused actually believes all Jews are evil and not just the Israeli government.

          • Andy Dilks

            except I’ve never come across anyone who does actually believe that.

          • Ted Heistman

            Well, no offense, but I think that is naive. The problem is that there are genuine antisemites out there and also Jewish people trying to deal with that in various ways, that amounts to a kind of manipulation. So sure its sinister to manipulate others, but the problem is antisemitism is irrational.

            So how do you rationally deal with irrational people? Its a thorny issue that takes a while to unpack, but more and more I think some critiques of Israel amount to outright blatant antisemitism.

          • Andy Dilks

            I don’t attempt to rationally deal with irrational people – the thought of even trying is pointless and absyrd. Of course antisemitism is irrational – I just don’t encounter it. Which is my point – I’m not saying it doesn’t exist

        • Andy Dilks

          From my experience I agree completely

      • Ted Heistman

        How would you define a “genuine antisemite”?

        • Andy Dilks

          in terms of the misguided pre-dominant view of our times, as “people who hate Jews” – not withstanding the actual definition. I don’t encounter it very often, if at all.

  • Ted Heistman

    So here are my thoughts on this: Israel is kind of like the United States in a lot of ways. A lot of people like to hate on Americans because of US foreign policy. Being an American that is also against most US foreign policy, I can see how some self righteous Canadian, for instance, hating on me for that, is misplaced. So probably the Israel situation is similar.

    In some same way, Israel (and Jewish people) is kind of a scapegoat for US sins I think. Its smaller than the US and seen as less powerful, so I think people find it easier to mobilize against.

    I also think people do play on anti-Semitic sentiments in the populace, which I find unsavory. I am all for free speech and I am not into political correctness, its just that I find anti-Semitic arguments to be brain dead. Its just retarded thinking. Its like the dumbest explanation for things.The world is a complicated place and people want a scapegoat and for whatever reason, time and time again its Jews who play this role for people. Its like this weird ritual that gets played out again and again through History.

    This is the dregs really, of humanity, IMO that grasps for anti-Semitic arguments to explain what they think is wrong with the World. Sartre pointed out that anti-Semites are really mediocre minds and take pride in being mediocre. It seems to be the same today.

    As far as the Palestinians, they are definitely getting the shaft. As far as rabid Israeli Nationalism, I find it distasteful as well. But the current of antisemitism in Conspiracy theory is very distasteful as well and it goes back a long ways, and its White Supremacy basically. Its like a herd mentality based on a herd of idiots taking pride in how stupid and mediocre they are. That’s what National Socialism was, from my research.

  • emperorreagan

    Piece loses steam when it hits the Roseanne with her microchip bit. Then it completely unravels when it hits Tila Tequila and Lauryn Hill.

    There’s taking political stances and then there’s delusional & narcissistic tirades.

    The government is testing mind control chips on celebrities (before they’re ready for deployment, obviously, given Roseanne)?

    Tila Tequila having some knowledge of pop stars signing their souls over to the devil? Well, I guess she also claims to be able to make a wormhole melt a wall…

    Lauryn Hill failing to pay her taxes and using the trial/sentencing as a chance to rant about how awful the music industry is, how unfair it is to her artistic integrity, and how she thinks she deserved a bigger cut of the money? Common sense would probably say that you don’t use it as a chance to pointlessly grandstand and aggravate a judge…

    • Guest

      That’s kind of my point, how “celebrities speaking out” runs the whole spectrum of politicals and culture. I’m not really endorsing Tila Tequila’s views – at least, that wasn’t my intention

    • Andy Dilks

      That’s kind of my point, how
      “celebrities speaking out” runs the whole spectrum of politics and
      culture. I’m not really endorsing Tila Tequila’s views – at least, that
      wasn’t my intention

      • emperorreagan

        I guess I make a distinction between celebrities that try to make a contribution to the public discourse and celebrities playing out their delusions and narcissism.

        I think the former is more rare, whereas the latter is expected and relatively consistent (since celebrity is by its nature self-selecting for narcissists).

  • doodahman

    “Assuming that you’re rational and that you care about other human beings, the goal strategically should be a solution of the Palestinian refugee problem, an end to the occupation, security and the right to lead a decent life for all the citizens of Israel.”
    That’s right! And step one is boycotting that damn apartheid state until it starts acting with an iota of humanity. Unfortunately, right now it’s too busy bombing and terrorizing its neighbors.

  • happypedro

    What Israel and Israeli people have invented and done for the world, great. What they have done that is bad in the world, bad. Hawking is against the bad, as we all should be, regardless of whose doing it — Israelis, Palestinians, Americans, all people of the world do both good and bad. So this comic mixes things, pointing out the good as if it justifies the bad. The comic, we can easily see, does not address the specific issues that Hawking talked about, but instead tries to divert. The best way to sift through such warping of issues and whose “side” anyone is on, is to focus on principles. And one principle that is great to apply is the Principle of Noncontradiction, beautifully explained here by Lawrence Lessig: http://toursynonymsthesaurus.radioonthenet.mobi/120/lawrence-lessig-a-letter-to-the-occupiers-the-principle-of-non-contradiction-huffington-post/

  • Jazzy Blue

    all Jews are not bad there are good Jews and then there are Zionists they are the true Evil (Like Pinky and the Brain) trying to take over the World from Israehell and wipe everyone out starting with the Poor Palestinians kids, women civilians, level them all, Hiroshima there own journalist have called for in Israel for Gaza as well as the Rabi’s to kill kids and civilians its a sick bread of Jews who think like that. But not all of them are like that. Many jews are God Fearing and do not believe in murder and are Peace Loving People as are Muslims – I am a muslim and some Muslims are crazy Extremists like the Whack jobs killing off Christians (could be CIA ) who knows but many crazy Ass wicked Muslims as well ..there just Murderous Ugly Evil People. Murder is wrong. Killing of Innocent People God does not like and whoever does it whether Christian Jew or Muslim should fear the wrath of God

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