YouTube Censors a Bob Dylan Song for Defending Israel

Nowadays, there is hardly a song one can’t find in one form or another on the Internet, and most of them can be found on YouTube. But when Jacob Siegel sought out Bob Dylan’s 1983 “Neighborhood Bully,” he realized that it had “vanished”:

I can assure you that Googling “Neighborhood Bully” was in no way intended by me as a political statement or gesture. “Neighborhood Bully” is assumed to be a song about Israel being singled out and maligned among the world’s nations, but Dylan has rejected this interpretation just as he always denied narrow political readings of his work. “I’m not a political songwriter,” he told an interviewer shortly after the record came out. “‘Neighborhood Bully,’ to me, is not a political song, because if it were, it would fall into a certain political party. If you’re talking about it as an Israeli political song—in Israel alone, there are maybe twenty political parties. I don’t know where that would fall, what party.”

Further investigation led Seigel to evidence that YouTube’s administrators, or their algorithms, had removed the video after classifying it as hate speech. Here are some of the lyrics that were somehow deemed offensive:

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land
He’s wandered the earth an exiled man
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn
He’s always on trial for just being born
He’s the neighborhood bully. . . .

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him.

Siegel concludes:

A platform like YouTube is not just a “content provider,” like a digital jukebox. It’s not an artist, who can choose which versions of which songs he chooses to make available to whom and when. It’s a ledger, on which the shared events and references that together add up to something like a social or cultural whole are recorded. Instantaneously altering that shared database based on nothing more than the half-formed political whims of whatever cadre of censors has been appointed to control the “hate speech” algorithms is the first step to controlling memory itself. I see it, and it scares me.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Anti-Zionism, Censorship, Internet, Political correctness

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict