supports Israeli army
pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033
19 April 2002
[The following letter by Adam keller to Bill Gates
speaks for itself]
Mr. Bill Gates
Chairman and Chief Software Architect
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
"From the depth of our heart - thanks to The
Israeli Defence Forces" - Microsoft
Microsoft is a major worldwide and world-famous corporation, whose
activities overstep national boundaries and which is committed to
promote global community, increasing trade, and stronger economic
relationships and cultural interaction; which takes pride in promoting
extensive community activities of various kinds, and declares on
its website "We're serious about making the world a better
place"; and which maintains offices and conducts active sales
campaigns in Israel as well as at Egypt, Morocco, Dubai, Indonesia,
Malaysia and other Arab and Islamic countires.
In view of the above, better could have been expected of Microsoft
than disseminating crude nationalistic and militaristic propaganda
at the Israeli population centers, and effectively lend its public
support to the destructive war recently launched by the Sharon Government
- a war sharply censured by the international community and controversial
among the citizens of Israel itself. We urge you to take care that
this activity is terminated forthwith, and that the estimated tens
of thousands of dollars invested in the abovementioned billboards
be used instead to activities aimed at stopping the bloodshed and
promotoing and equitable Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Adam Keller, Spokesperson
Gush Shalom (The Israeli Peace Bloc)
POB 2542, Holon 58125, Israel
Mr Bill Gates,
Though a grandson of victims of Auschwitz gas chambers, I am appalled
at the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces in their continuing
oppression of Palestinian society and continuous disregard of International
law and reasonable moral values. The sign your company has
erected on the main highways of Tel Aviv at a time when the Israeli
Army is indulging in atrocious war crimes is inappropriate and risks
implying that your company approves the abominable acts
of an army that has clearly lost its sense of decency.
I support the words of Adam Keller, the spokesperson of Gush Shalom
(The Israeli Peace Bloc), that "better could have been expected
of Microsoft than disseminating crude nationalistic and militaristic
propaganda at the Israeli population centers, and effectively lending
its public support to the destructive war recently launched by the
Sharon Government - a war sharply censured by the international
community and controversial among the citizens of Israel itself.
We urge you to take care that this activity is terminated forthwith,
and that the estimated tens of thousands of dollars invested in
the abovementioned billboards be used instead to activities aimed
at stopping the bloodshed and promoting an equitable Israeli-Palestinian
peace." Yours sincerely,
Jerusalem Post, Sunday April 21, 2002
Gush Shalom protests pro-IDF billboards
Gush Shalom has written a letter of protest to Microsoft chairman
Bill Gates, complaining about billboards supporting the IDF that
the company recently erected on major roads in the Tel Aviv area.
According to the left-wing activisit group, the billboards say:
"From the depth of our heart Ð thanks to the Israeli Defense
Forces," on the background of the Israeli flag.
"Better could have been expected of Microsoft than disseminating
crude nationalistic and militaristic propaganda at the Israeli population
centers, and effectively lending its public support to the destru
ctive war recently launched by the Sharon goernment," said
Gush Shalom spokesman Adam Keller.
He urged that the money for the billboards be used to promote "Israeli-Palestinian
Inside Info - Billboards Removed
Sent: Monday, April 22, 2002 6:45 PM
Concerning your last posting on Microsoft, you and others on your
list may be pleased to know that Microsoft Israel has been reprimanded
by the Microsoft home office and the signs are being taken down.
When I heard of this a few days ago, I send a message to a friend
of mine that deals with politically sensitive issues at microsoft....apparently
the Israel office had posted the billboards against company policy
and they were severely reprimanded when the head office received
my e-mail. So, activism does work!
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
"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.
Microsofts 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
I first learned of Microsoft Corporations 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.
(Molouk Y. Ba-Isa in Arab News 2002 , article originally published
by Arab News 21-Apr-02).