Published September 25, 2015
As a publication, we aim to promote discourse, dialogue and a free exchange of ideas. We thus welcome any opinion to our pages, so long as they’re interesting, and not, like, crazy racist or hateful (send all your interesting, non-racist, non-crazy, non-hateful opinions our way—editor – at grapevine.is!). The Reykjavík Grapevine has no “opinion” on anything. However, our contributors do, and they are their own.
Believe me. Heading Grapevine since late 2008, I have many, many times printed all kinds of stuff I absolutely disagree with. And I’ll keep doing it. Because, I believe in open discourse, and letting ideas and arguments stand on their own, to be judged by their merit—and because I believe that our readers are smart, discerning people who are perfectly capable of forming their own opinions based on the arguments and facts at hand (and that, preferably, they will challenge what they disagree with in writing and send some responses our way).
However, we try pretty hard not to print falsehoods or statements that are demonstrably untrue. We usually succeed, too (which is kind of amazing, given that we barely employ a proofreader, let alone a team of fact-checkers (or a single one, really)).
Which brings me to an article we posted today. Somewhere on our servers, you’ll find an opinion piece that one Barry Shaw (author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism’) sent our way last week, and was very adamant we publish. The piece is called “Reykjavík Must Be Punished For Its Hypocrisy,” and in it, the author indeed makes several statements that are demonstrably untrue, which we have left in there to shed a light on what counts as valid discourse in the camps of Israel’s defenders.
For instance: Despite what the author claims, a boycott against “Jewish” products has never been discussed in Reykjavík City Hall, as reports have made exceedingly clear and Mr. Shaw should be well aware of. Furthermore, “the left-wing councilman” (who is a woman), Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, travelled to Gaza to do humanitarian work, as she has many times in the past (for some strange reason, there seems to be a recurring need for humanitarian aid in the region), rather than “to serve Hamas.”
It is unclear why Mr. Shaw sees reason to wilfully obfuscate the very evident, much reported-on facts of the matter. Such tendencies have been exceedingly common in the various “articles,” threatening emails and internet comments we at The Reykjavík Grapevine have received since reports started coming out on our city’s proposed ban on purchasing Israeli goods—along with attempts to conflate the State of Israel with Jewish people as a whole (and a whole lot of fuckin’ swearing and name-calling—the above headline quotes one of our Facebook commenters, lol).
Indeed, the forceful nature of Israel’s every response to any measure of criticism, along with the vehement rage and blatant emotional appeals they entail, betray how daunting it must be, having to defend the indefensible on a regular basis.