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From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

As I’ve noted before, whenever you see a comment from the Palestine Solidarity Movement or any of its affiliated groups that seems too good to be true, double-check it, because as we’ve seen it likely is. The same goes for their attempts at poetry, as the little ditty “Fatima versus the Israeli Occupation,” written by an International Solidarity Movement partisan named Ethan, goes to show. The poem (you can read it on ISM’s Yahoo message page; pardon me if I don’t indulge them with a link) is about how “American Made Israeli Tanks” make life difficult for a woman named Fatima. As you might expect, the poem bewails these “American Made Israeli Tanks.”

Only problem is, Israeli tanks aren’t American made or made in America. Israeli tanks are made in Israel, by Israeli companies and by Israeli workers. Such rantings about "American Made Israeli Tanks” are just more melodramatic, counterfactual claptrap that look spiffy on paper (especially in messages to folks back home) but have negligible relation to reality. Of course, simple facts never got in the way of the ISM and their ilk disseminating gratuitous propaganda about Israel, and it comes as no surprise that the ISM's tendentious efforts in such regards even extend to polluting the realm of poetry. Oscar Wilde noted that, “All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.” For the ISM, it appears that bad poetry, if we can even call such efforts "poetry," springs from the usual boorish desire to stigmatize Israel, no matter how underhanded and factually inaccurate such efforts indeed are.

But once again I wonder if this display of ISM cluelessness is deliberate (that is, the people who post this garbage know full well that Israeli tanks aren’t American made, yet are willing to misrepresent such things for the sake of anti-Israel propaganda) or accidental (that is, the people who post this garbage really are so clueless that they think Israeli tanks are American made). Either way, it’s not a flattering portrait of the intellectual standards of the ISM, but we all knew that already.

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