Saturday, March 14, 2009

Baby Seeking Missles and other Shinanigans

This video which I found on this website (endorsed by none other than Noam Chomsky!!!) is rather remarkable. It shows a group of people marching into a Carrefour (a Walmart-like store) in France, removing all products made in Israel from the shelves and staging a sit in at the cash register. All throughout, those leading the group comment on how Israelis are war criminals, Israel was stolen from Palestinians, Israel is a racist, apartheid state, wearing t-shirts with pictures of a missile aimed at a baby carriage and alternately chanting "boycott" and "we are all Palestinians."

Let them boycott. Let them protest. These people are not doing anything illegal and are exercising their valuable freedom of speech. They are, however, intellectually dishonest. The image of the missile aimed at the baby carriage alone is a cruel distortion of reality, suggesting that babies were targets. The rhetoric of racist, apartheid and war criminal is also without basis, and a distortion of reality. These types of publicity stunts do little more than to bring people further apart. Just once, it would be wonderful to see such committed people dedicate their energies to encouraging Palestinians to stop trying to kill Israeli civilians or to channel the vigour and rage seen in this video towards creating something positive, rather than always seeking to tear everything down.

Opinions on this video would be very interesting and very welcome. If there is enough demand, I can try to produce a translated transcript.


PSim said...

I am slightly confused. Did they actually buy that merchandise. It looks like they are leaving the mall with it.
If so, Israel owes them a thanks, for the subsequent order to replenish those goods.
I am also not sure that assembling in a private business like that, is legal. It interferes with business and would probably need permission.

Charlie H. Ettinson said...

It's unclear if they purchased the goods, but I would be shocked at the irony of the situation if they had. My guess is that they simply left it there for the store to have to clean up.
As for the legality...Nothing stops someone, or a group of people from entering into a store, collecting goods and then deciding not to purchase them.
A somewhat similar case was decided by the Canadian Supreme Court in a decision known as "Dolphin Delivery." In short, the court said that picketing (i.e. protesting) was legal and protected by the charter, insofar as it did not break any other laws. Perhaps an argument could be made here for mischief (bit of a stretch though), and then the protesting would not be protected by the charter, in Canada. This is France, however, and I don't pretend to know their law on the matter.