(for those of you not familiar with it, this is the great site discussed below
many here and on other boards use it as a source)
At IsraelÂ´s Right
05:44 May 07, '04 / 16 Iyar 5764
By Gil Ronen
If the title of Righteous Gentile is ever bestowed upon friends of Israel in this war, Charles Johnson will deserve a place on the list of candidates for the honor. If anyone ever compiles a list of Internet sites that contribute to Israelâ€™s public relations effort, Johnson's site will probably come in first, far above the Israeli Foreign Ministry's site.
Johnson isn't Jewish. He's an American, born in New York, who grew up in Hawaii and currently lives in Los Angeles. He was raised Catholic, considers himself an agnostic, and is not one of the Zionist Christians, whose support for Israel is based on messianic faith. He is an educated American, brilliant and multi-talented, who comes from a liberal artistic background, and yet struggles for us in a way that commands respect and warms the heart. The man is simply very much on our side, because of the war, because we are here, because of who he is and because of who we are.
Influence through the Internet
Johnson has a long, varied and successful career behind him. For many years he was a professional guitarist who accompanied well-known jazz artists both onstage and in recordings. In addition, in the 1980's he acquired a reputation as a groundbreaking computer programmer and was one of the first programmers to write for Atari computers. Today, he and his brother Michael have a successful web design studio. He is a very busy man who somehow manages to radiate calm, and to find time for his hobby, the sport of cycling. But since the fall of the Twin Towers in New York, most of his time is devoted to another matter altogether.
At the beginning of 2001 Charles Johnson opened his own "blog" â€“ short for "weblog" â€“ which refers, in Internet lingo, to a sort of personal column or online diary where one posts links and commentary on the news, on oneâ€™s field of professional expertise or hobbies, about oneselfâ€¦ or about whatever one wishes. The charm of the blog as a medium, is that it allows anyone, anywhere in the world, to be a news commentator, a comedian, a pundit, a philosopher â€“ or a combination thereof. There is no serious financial outlay, there are no editors standing over your head, and there is no censorship.
There are many blogs in cyberspace, but few of them manage to attract a large, regular audience. Johnson's blog, with the strange name of "Little Green Footballs" â€“ LGF for short (www.littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog) â€“ is rated sixth in the listing of popular blogs in the world. His site is currently accessed by anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 visitors per day. The number of site visitors grows monthly and on the list of regular readers are some well-known intellectuals and top American journalists â€“ mainly right-wing conservatives â€“ who sometimes also contribute comments.
All of this happened in the past two years. At its inception, LGF focused on programming and web page design, with occasional links to amusing news items. But the events of September 11, 2001, changed everything, and Johnsonâ€™s blog became a warblog.
Johnson links news items about events in Iraq, in Israel, and in the rest of the world and adds commentary generously spiced with humor, charisma and creativity. In the course of time, he has generated a following of people who are influenced and inspired by him. In a world searching for leaders, Johnson is a kind of leader.
The â€˜Wondersâ€™ of Palestinian â€˜Cultureâ€™
The leftist/anti-Israel bloggers hate Johnson and view him as a dangerous rival. Some of them have posted a doctored photo of him with a Hitler moustache, and compare LGF readers' comments with Nazi propaganda. Johnson, for his part, has compiled an online slide show composed of hundreds of photos of Palestinian children wearing bomb belts, brandishing weapons or marching aside armed men, all under the caption of "Palestinian Child Abuse." Looking at the photos in succession, one canâ€™t help feeling that Palestinian culture is terminally sick and depraved.
He coined the expression "car swarm" to describe what happens when an Israeli helicopter shoots a missile at a car carrying terrorists: the photos Johnson displays alongside the news (photos that rarely appear in Israeli media for some reason), always show Palestinians running amok, climbing all over the burnt car while removing body parts with their bare hands, in a horrifying recurring ritual.
Johnson regularly refers to Reuters News Service as "Al Reuters", due to the obvious pro-Arab slant of their reports. He also makes recurring use of a particularly ugly photomontage of a fish resembling Yasser Arafat, known as "Arafish." Occasionally, when Yasser Arafat makes yet another ridiculous pronouncement in his broken English, Johnson puts the words in the fish's mouth. The effect is entertaining.
Johnson also encourages other Internet warriors like the excellent caricaturists Cox and Forkum who received their initial exposure on his site, and Aaron Weisburd who runs "Internet Haganah" http://internet-haganah.com. Weisburd, an American Jew from Illinois, takes down Islamic incitement sites â€“ usually by contacting their internet service providers (ISPs), who are usually not aware of the sitesâ€™ Arabic content.
Weisburd has taken down more than 420 jihad sites to date â€“ sites that spread propaganda from terrorist organizations, encouraging Muslims to jihad and sometimes even providing instruction for carrying out violence. Hardly a day goes by without Weisburdâ€™s proudly announcing the removal of yet another website. His and Johnsonâ€™s names are notorious in the online jihadist world, and many a discussion on Islamic chat sites has revolved around proposed ways of thwarting their work.
Arab honor is victorious
In the Internet Age, you can get to know a person and follow his life closely for years on end without ever seeing his face. The lack of visual information is a problem, but in some ways it is like reading a book â€“ one is forced to use one's imagination. This goes for internet interviews, too: I cannot tell my readers what Charles Johnson's voice sounds like, if he is tall or short, or describe the view from his window. Weâ€™ll just have to imagine all that. The interview with Johnson was done via Microsoft Messenger chatware, by means of keyboard and monitor. I can only confirm that he types pretty fast and is a good speller.
You are very pro-Israel in your blog. Do you have any kind of connection to Israel, through family or friends?
Well, not really -- except that one of my oldest friends, who I met when I first moved to Hawaii, is Jewish. I have been to Israel, in 1994; I was playing guitar with Al Jarreau, and we did a concert in Tel Aviv.
Can you be bothered to tell me why you chose the name â€œLittle Green Footballsâ€?
I could, but then I'd have to kill you. I am at liberty to reveal that it has something to do with an incident in my youth, that happened in Japan.
Were you a political animal at all before 9/11?
Well, yes -- but you won't find much of it in those early LGF posts. 9/11 certainly focused my attention. Among other things...."
"....Have you learned things about Israel and the Jewish people in the past few years?
Oh yes. Too much to easily describe! Before I started blogging, I knew some of the large outlines of Israel's history, mostly from the film/book Exodus, I have to admit. I've learned an enormous amount about the history of Israel, from many different sources. And it's only increased my feeling that the US should recognize Israel as the full partner she deserves to be, and realize that we are fighting the same war.
The other half at