Monday, 19 January 2009

Second Life Israel Protests Draw International Media

by Ernest Newman

An independent blog report on Gaza protests at SL Israel sim was picked up by major international commercial mass media and widely reported, focusing mainly on the most negative aspects of some protest rhetoric, and largely ignoring the more positive aspects of dialog that ensued.

While Tel Aviv sim was immediately shut down by right wing ultra-nationalists to prevent any criticism of Israeli policy, Beth Odets, the principal manager of the Israel sim chose to try to keep that sim open, allowing avitars to congregate at a boardwalk by the beach to discuss the attacks on Gaza, and the broader issues of the Israel / Palestine conflict. 

On some occasions, the exchanges got so heated that she was compelled to ban or eject some elements, and to briefly shut Israel down, but she has also repeatedly re-opened it and continued to allow the demonstrations. 

Ms. Odets has gotten a lot of heat for this from the extreme right, due to the media coverage, for her supposedly being a "jew hater" for allowing criticism and debate about the Gaza attacks. She has appealed for calm and a voluntary moratorium on demonstrations, while she attempts to negotiate a formal debate as a major media event.

Initial protests were large, and very raucous, including missles being lobbed over the border into the sim, and some very hateful provocations coming from both "sides" of the issues.  That calmed down considerably after a few days, into a more long term presence of mainly just a few peaceful demonstrators, attempting to engage in dialog and appeals for peace.

However, they have been confronted primarily by right wing ultra-nationalist extremists spewing violent, hateful, racist, sexist and generally abusive rhetoric in "defense" of Israeli policy.  And some of the protesters showing up have also contributed their own share of equally vicious talk, either in deliberate provocation of such elements, or in response to their baiting. 

Google Second Life Israel for more links to other major media coverage.  Faux "News" was particularly disgusting.

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1 comment:

Abel said...

"Ms. Odets has gotten a lot of heat for this from the extreme right..."

I feel deeply saddened by the fact that she and her children are suffering attacks from the far right.

And whilst I am more than greatful for her democratic maintenance of the Israel sim...

... She is a person who does not believe it is viable to return land (i.e. give land rights) to the Native Americans, the Ainu, the Aborigines or the Palestinians.

Why? "I didn't do it, its not my problem, why should I 'sacrifice' for them?"

I don't know what sacrifice she was talking about, I wasn't aware of any sacrifice in giving back land to its rightful owners.

But, I mean to say, she shouldn't go entirely without criticism on the basis of her help. She might not be an enemy to the left, but she is most certainly not a friend.