Dan Sheetz on Sat, 27 Apr 2002 06:27:39 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> the Gates of hell

I must say that I don't find it all that outrageous.  Though I am not a
particular supporter of the war in Afghanistan per se, I do not forget that
people who serve in the US military are doing a hellish job that I sure
wouldn't want to do.  It doesn't bother me terribly when I see those
commercials where some company thanks the men and women of the armed forces
for doing what they do.  I do find it more than a little smarmy when it
comes from a corporation seeking to improve its image, but it's no more
inappropriate for Microsoft Israel to do it than it is for Target to do it
here in the states.

My $.02

Dan Sheetz
Chicago, USA

> From: "ana l. valdés" <agora@algonet.se>
> Reply-To: "ana l. valdés" <agora@algonet.se>
> Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2002 23:54:56 +0200
> To: "nettime-l@bbs.thing.net" <nettime-l@bbs.thing.net>
> Subject: Re: <nettime> the Gates of hell
> This is the link on  Indynews with the picture:
> http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2002/04/123945.php
> And the article:
> Ana
> Microsoft blames Israeli branch for outrageous advertisement
>                     Sunday, April 21 2002 @ 04:05 PM GMT
>                     By Molouk Y. Ba-Isa
>                     RIYADH: Saudi E-Commerce 2002 opens under a cloud
> with one of the conference's Gold Sponsors, Microsoft, accused by the
> Israeli peace activist organization Gush Shalom of lending public support
> to the destructive war launched by the Sharon government against the
> Palestinians.
>                     According to Adam Keller, spokesperson of Gush
> Shalom, last week Israelis traveling on the main highways in the Tel Aviv
> area were treated to enormous billboards bearing the Microsoft logo under
> the text, "From the depth of our heart ‹ thanks to The Israeli Defense
> Forces," on a background made of the Israeli flag.
>                     The organization mounted a worldwide appeal to its
> supporters requesting that they write to Bill Gates, chairman and chief
> software architect of Microsoft Corporation, protesting Microsoft's
> dissemination of "crude nationalistic and militaristic propaganda at the
> Israeli population centers," and supporting a war "sharply censured by the
> international community and controversial among the citizens of Israel
> itself."
>                     A copy of Keller's personal letter to Gates was
> included in the e-mail campaign. It ended with the plea: "We urge you to
> take care that this activity is terminated forthwith, and that the
> estimated tens of thousands of dollars invested in the above mentioned
> billboards be used instead (for) activities aimed at stopping the bloodshed
> and promoting an equitable Israeli-Palestinian peace."
>                     In the Kingdom, Microsoft Arabia stated that they had
> yet to see the Gush Shalom e-mail.  However, they were aware of the
> controversy. Mohammed Kateeb, GM, Microsoft Gulf, did not diminish the
> negativity of the issue, but he asserted that the billboards in Tel Aviv
> and one banner posting on the MSN Israel website had been removed.
>                     Jonathan Murray, VP, Global Accounts, Microsoft
> Corporation, who is in Riyadh to participate in Saudi E-Commerce 2002, did
> address the situation. He emphasized that Microsoft is very aware of the
> sensitivities in the region.  He pointed out that Pan-Arab customers are
> extremely important to Microsoft and consequently the region has received
> significant investment and commitment of Microsoft's resources.
>                     "The billboards did not require and did not receive
> the approval of Microsoft Corporation," said Murray. "It was a Microsoft
> Israel decision alone."
>                     Murray felt that this was one of the disadvantages of
> operating local subsidiaries fairly autonomously. Under this system, local
> Microsoft management is given great leeway to function in the manner they
> consider best. While Murray did admit that there was a higher review policy
> for some public materials, such as press releases, he added that the
> billboards and banner posting had slipped through the policy cracks.
>                     When asked what action the company would be taking
> against those Microsoft employees responsible for the billboards and banner
> posting, Murray said that the "matter would be handled internally".
>                     Microsoft's assertions and actions thus far may not
> be enough to satisfy an outraged global community of human rights
> activists. Radio talk show host and human rights activist Andy Martin, the
> only American talk radio host who supports Palestinian rights, will hold an
> Internet forum on his radio program on Monday, April 22 at 1:00 p.m. to
> attack Microsoft Corporation for endorsing racism and genocide in Israel
> and to demand a worldwide boycott of Microsoft products.
>                     "I first learned of Microsoft Corporation's
> billboards in Tel Aviv endorsing racism and genocide on April 16," says
> Martin. "Now a major scandal is developing throughout the civilized world.
> I call on human beings everywhere to boycott Microsoft products in support
> of the Palestinian people."
>                     Microsoft, Gates and Martin are long-term
> adversaries.  Microsoft has campaigned against Martin on its websites and
> Gates has criticized him in various forums.
>                     Martin founded the Committee to Fight Microsoft in
> 1995 and has actively opposed Microsoft products, which he calls
> "monopolistic, high priced, dysfunctional junk."
>                     "The Israeli Peace movement is outraged," said
> Martin.  "Civilized human beings are outraged. What business does American
> business have endorsing mass murder of Palestinians? I salute the brave
> Israeli peace movement that has condemned Microsoft, and I join their
> condemnation."
> chris paul wrote:
>> I have had no opportunity to corroborate this information ...
>> To
>>  Mr. Bill Gates
>>  Chairman and Chief Software Architect
>>  c/o Microsoft
>>  Dear Sir,
>>  Two days ago, Israelis travelling on the main highways in the Tel-Aviv
>>  area were treated to enormous billboards bearing the Microsoft logo under
>>  the text "From the depth of our heart - thanks to The Israeli Defence
>> Forces"
>>  on the background of the Israeli national flag.
> <...>
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