Yom rishon, 1 Tamuz 5770, Rosh Chodesh. Happy Birthday, Rabbi G.
But today, it seems only fair to join the small chorus of voices pointing out that YouTube, everyone's favorite site for downloading videos, has once again bowed to pressure to hold Israel to a different standard regarding copyright laws, freedom of speech, and the Fair Use Doctrine. (Since the attack was on Caroline Glick's Latma TV parody, "We Con the World," I link to her article explaining what took place. Briefly, she describes the detailed efforts made by Latma TV to ensure that all laws were followed; and her commenters point out that several other parodies have been made of the original version, without being banned for the copyright infringement reasons cited by YouTube. Worth a read.)
Over the years, I have become increasingly aware that Hashem seems to be offering every human being a choice. To paraphrase what I perceive the Almighty to be saying: "You're either with Me, or agin Me." There used to be confusing gray areas. Now, it seems that choices are becoming so clear, we are almost living a parody of ourselves.
It would be unthinkable to American sensibilities for any nation in the world to have its babies and grandmothers blown up while eating ice cream -- except that when it happened in Israel, many people could rationalize it. A pregnant woman and her four small daughters being shot at point-blank range would not be an acceptable protest anywhere in the world -- but when it happened in Israel, there were deeply caring people in the world who said that it was the pregnant "settler" who was to blame. When the IDF has defended its country from attack, its soldiers and officers have been threatened with being tried for war crimes. And so on.
My small protest will be to begin featuring our own home-grown video services instead. WeJew, founded by Shlomo Wollins, is one source. Another is 12 Tribe Films, created by Avi Abelow of Home Game fame. I have been aware of these sites for some time, and have waited for them to "grow up" and shake out their developmental glitches. They are both excellent video sharing resources. I encourage Am Yisrael to take advantage of services that won't bow to pressure to exclude a pro-Israel voice. By all means, check out both sites' now-extensive libraries of excellent historical and modern videos.
Here again is Caroline Glick's parody, We Con the World. (As stated in comment from Shlomo Wollins: "Youtube has BANNED this video for copyright infringement - which stretches their editorial credibility beyond belief - feel free to spread this link - as the critical video has become one of Israel's best PR responses to the flotilla.")
Even though Rabbi Tarfon is speaking about the study of Torah in this Pirke Avot quote, Jews traditionally bring it to mind for issues of social consciousness has well: "You are not required to complete the task, yet you are not free to withdraw from it." This blog must speak out. Thanks for listening.