Monday, November 23, 2015

Tom Brady, the IDF, and the Normalization of Terrorism


"Football, beer, and above all gambling, filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult."
                                                                                ~George Orwell, 1984
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At the outset, it must be emphasized that this essay does not attempt to question or minimize the accomplishments of New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, or his stature as one of the most formidable quarterbacks in NFL history. With Brady at the helm, the Patriots may quite well be remembered as one of the most celebrated dynasties in the history of American professional sports. But all of this is of little consequence.

The discussion that follows is relevant to all Americans with a standard IQ—be they high school graduates, working professionals, or indeed any thinking person with a particle of common sense. It deals with the elementary moral responsibility upon an individual to take a principled stance on matters that impact his fellow man, especially those affected by the actions of the United States and its proxies. It also calls for a reflection on the metaphysical consequences of subordinating basic considerations of humanity to the bread and circus served up by the modern world. This conversation is much less about Tom Brady’s personal beliefs, and more about the way in which celebrity is immortalized by neurotic fans whose moral judgment has been impaired by their love for a fantasy world of fun and entertainment.  The Tom Brady story is illustrative of a pervasive societal disease of ignorance and moral indifference which affects how we think and how we don’t think. 

Background and Introduction:



For background on the story, please refer to the Times of Israel regarding a trip made to Israel by Robert Kraft and Tom Brady  http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-super-bowl-matchup-pats-have-israel-connections-cornered/

In the summer of 2006, offseason for Tom Brady and the Patriots, Brady traveled to Israel with Patriots owner, Robert Kraft. As documented in the now-infamous report that appeared in the Times of Israel, Brady paid an inauspicious visit to a military base of the Israel Terror Force, or the self-proclaimed "Israeli Defense Force" (IDF). A visit that, since its revelation, has been highlighted by pro-Palestinian activists throughout the world. Brady is seen sporting an IDF uniform and later partaking in target practice. The report notes that at one point Brady was so awed by the American-supplied pyrotechnics which were used to incinerate Gazan women and children, he exclaims, “Damn!”  

Certainly the photo-op of a beaming Tom Brady, who voluntarily draped himself in foreign combat gear, on a foreign military base, to honor foreign “soldiers,” cannot be characterized as a neutral or benign act--particularly given that his visit coincided with Israel’s hideous massacre of Lebanon that commenced that summer, known as the “Lebanon War of 2006." Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch pointedly condemned the IDF for its rampant use of lethal white phosphorous gas, and for exploding over 100,000 cluster bombs in densely populated civilian areas.  The Israeli offensive is said to have killed 1200 people and displaced over one million Lebanese civilians.  In parallel, two deadly operations were taking place to the south of Israel in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, on the heels of the so-called “2005 Disengagement Plan" -- operations that had started prior to Brady’s visit. The civilian executions in 2005 and the Lebanon massacre in 2006 summarily guaranteed that the criminal activity of the IDF would be an unavoidable topic of conversation during Brady’s trip to Israel. Indeed, Israel was being excoriated in the international (and even in parts of the American) press and was facing its greatest public relations debacle since the First Intifada (1987-1993).

Seeing this photograph, the stubborn or willfully ignorant may argue that Brady, affectionately known as “TB12,” did not fully appreciate the consequences of his actions.  That he didn’t know anything about the IDF and that his boss, Robert Kraft, an inveterate Zionist, is the true culprit and Brady was merely an innocent traveling companion. However, with a degree of reluctance, it must be admitted that Tom Brady is not an out-and-out imbecile. Brady is a graduate of an elite American college (University of Michigan), has led the Patriots to multiple Super Bowls titles, is known to be one of the most cerebral quarterbacks in NFL history, and surely knows how to use Google. When TB12 sat in an airplane for 13 hours, he had plenty of time to ponder about where he was going.  In short, it would be exceedingly naive to assume that Brady was oblivious to a full-fledged war taking place in his midst, one that was receiving unrelenting media coverage and being condemned in every quarter of the world, including large segments of the United States.

Moreover, any rational person must concede that Brady must have pondered the following questions before he physically entered a foreign country's military base, changed his clothes into the combat gear of a foreign fighter, and fired a foreign nation’s lethal weapons:

“Who’s uniform am I putting on?” 
“What do they do?”
“What do they stand for?”
“Is it wise for me to be appearing in a photo that is guaranteed to surface in the press?”  

The existence of this photo projects Brady employing his celebrity status to show the world that there exists a down-to-earth, friendly, and “hip” Israeli military—that the IDF is “just like us”; and that its actions in Lebanon and elsewhere were carried out in “self-defense.”   Contrary to the arguments posited by a legion of Brady apologists, there is no indication that Brady was pressured into this visit with a well-oiled terrorist organization. Certainly a player of his standing, often hailed as the greatest quarterback in NFL history, is able to dictate how he lives his life. Certainly TB12 does not need to concern himself with possible ramifications resulting from a presumptive disagreement with Robert Kraft. Tom Brady is to the New England Patriots what Michael Jordan was to the Chicago Bulls: owners and managers are at his beck and call, not vice-versa.   

In sum, whether implicit or explicit, the aforementioned photo is clearly an endorsement of the IDF, a terrorist organization that has been condemned by the world’s highest judicial body, namely the International Court of Justice. Absolutely no excuse can be made in defense of this endorsement of a mass murdering entity, which has wreaked havoc upon an utterly defenseless Palestinian population living under a brutal military occupation for more than half a century.  If Brady truly felt the photo was misleading or wished to distance himself from known war criminals, he could have offered an explanation of his indefensible endorsement or issued an apology. However, almost a decade later, including through the slaughter of Gaza in 2014 – a time when many famous people were vocal--no such explanation has been forthcoming.


Why Does a Picture Taken in 2006 Hold Any Relevance in 2015? 


Beginning in the summer of 2014, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the IDF carried out a brutal and indiscriminate massacre upon the civilian population of Gaza.  According to the United Nations, the so-called Israeli “Operation Protective Edge," killed 2104 people, over 500 of whom were children.  Crimes of war included the bombing of well-marked schools, UN shelters, mosques, multiple hospitals and clinics, and even a sanctuary for the handicapped. Social media was overrun with the most terrifying images and videos of dead babies with their remains gathered in garbage bags, young boys blown apart as they played soccer on a beach, despondent parents, traumatized orphans, destroyed ambulances, and indescribable scenes of destruction.  Outrage by people of all backgrounds and religions, and even famous celebrities, highlighted the murderous rampage in Gaza.  Worldwide protests in major cities were flooded with Palestinian flags and keffiyeh, in solidarity with the occupied, displaced, oppressed, and deceased. 

Gaza was crippled, and the aftermath of this 50-day onslaught continued through early 2015 as broken families tried to piece together what remained of their seemingly hapless lives.  UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) and other independent bodies determined that the IDF assault had displaced one fourth of the Gaza population; nearly 250,000 people were forced to take refuge in UN shelters, and 150,000 citizens were attempting to survive in public parks.  The estimated losses totaled $5 Billion

At the time of the Super Bowl in 2015, the assault on Gaza remained fresh on the minds of the public.  This image of Brady with the IDF militia had re-surfaced and was circulated by the “Stand With Us” Israeli movement to congratulate Tom Brady on his Super Bowl victory, to show fans that even an NFL champion endorses the Israeli Defense Force, and, de facto, to celebrate a successful "victory" (i.e. a one-sided slaughter of largely civilians) in Gaza. It is by no accident that Stand With Us released the photo after the tail end of the Gaza massacre for its unique propagandistic value.

So, How Did We Feel About It?


Ultimately, we should be focusing less on Tom Brady’s position on terrorism and but instead we must introspectively reflect upon how we felt when seeing his endorsement of the IDF.  Did it stir our emotions?  For those who care about the Palestinian plight or choose to remain informed of current events, something is terribly wrong if one does not absolutely cringe when seeing anyone standing in solidarity with a murderous army.  Even worse, is the ability of fans to pass off the image as insignificant – implying their lust for football eclipses their compassion for humanity. 

The outrage felt by the this writer towards Brady’s IDF endorsement and the Patriots's Zionist ties is not a novel concept. Leading members of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), which is aimed at ending Israeli apartheid in Palestine, led the course of condemnation against Brady and the Patriots. The pro-peace website, Mondoweiss, published an article in February 2015 that went into considerable detail regarding the Patriot’s connection with Israel and illustrated how the Israeli hasbara propaganda-machine has leveraged this relationship. Members of the Palestinian freedom-seeking activist group, the Electronic Intifada, were also vocal on social media on Brady’s rifle shooting escapades with terrorists, expressing outrage that people of good conscience could possibly continue to support the team in the Super Bowl. 
    

A Thought Experiment Featuring ISIS and Lebron James

Not long after the 2014 massacre in Gaza began to recede from the headlines, new attention was given towards the violence and murder being committed by a lawless group of bandits, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or simply, ISIS.

News media outlets inundated the public with graphic coverage of atrocities committed by ISIS, leading to universal outrage against the group. Muslim-Americans in particular were rapidly issuing public statements on social media in order to disassociate themselves from ISIS’s barbaric activity:

"This is not Islam",
"They are not Muslims”
“Not in our name.”

Every effort was made to demonstrate that ISIS was acting in a manner that was antithetical to Islam’s most foundational ethical principles. The words employed to condemn ISIS were, of course, entirely appropriate--but the tenacity with which they were administered, and the singular fixation on this group seemingly stemmed from a fear of being associated with ISIS and its demonic ideology. 

ISIS’s effective propaganda techniques have made certain that lurid images of terror are well-covered on the Internet and by major news outlets.  The press highlights each beheading and develops stories and discussions around each sensational act for weeks on end. ISIS's strategic atrocities are murderous, terrifying, and cold-hearted; the Paris attacks in November 2015 are again an example of employing outrageous methods of terror that increase their deathly brand.  The murder of over 150 innocent lives, the hundreds injured, and the thousands who will continue to grieve for life is what should strike us the most.  It is worth taking note that equally well-planned propaganda techniques are employed to shelter the self-proclaimed IDF’s half-century of ruthless occupation, apartheid, and murderous attacks. Year after year, the IDF carries on with impunity and with the unconditional backing of the United States both at the governmental level and with brilliant public relations strategy.  Because of these propaganda techniques, including using the celebrity status of the likes of TB12--the death of 500 children at the hands of a well-advanced, and well-funded, and celebrity-endorsed army has been sanitized in our minds. 
  
Consider, now, if a star player with high celebrity status had flown across the Atlantic and went on a firing range with battlefield soldiers of ISIS.  This was not intended as an innocent “meet-and-greet.” Rather, the celebrity went so far as to change his clothes into the terrorist group’s signature "jihadi" gear of black cloth with face masks, and picked up weapons to engage in target practice with this criminal entity.

Also imagine that the owner of this organization, the man who reaps the proceeds from the paraphernalia you wear and tickets you spend hundreds of dollars on, was a major supporter of ISIS. He autographs helmets and knows the terror leader on a first-name basis, "Ozzy" for Osama Bin Laden, for example. He writes a letter of condolence to the proud family of a terrorist who sacrificed his life in the name of the religious state (as Kraft has previously done for IDF soldiers).  Any principled person would feel a sense of disgust and immediately disassociate himself from supporting and funding such terrorist backers.  

What if an analogous picture of another American sports celebrity, say, Lebron James, surfaced? Can one fathom James decked in jihadi gear, smiling alongside an ISIS commander, and brandishing the very swords used to behead journalists? Jaws would drop, total shock and awe would ensue; the country would shudder in disbelief and there would be denunciations on the news and social media, with no end in sight. Would anyone make the argument that Lebron didn’t know what he was doing?  That he didn’t take the time to even think about who he was going to meet even when flying all the way to Iraq? Can the excuse be made that the team’s owner, a personal friend of the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadhi, just took James for a fun trip thousands of miles away, and LBJ simply didn’t want to displease him?  Can we argue that picture is 9 years old and that he doesn’t feel the same way now, even if he has made no penitence for his action to this day?

Brady's visit with the IDF is no different than an American intentionally traveling to Iraq to consort with ISIS, or going to Yemen to rifle shoot with Al-Qaeda, or flying to Nigeria to show support for Boko Haraam. Swap Lebron back for Brady, and ISIS for IDF, Al Baghdadi for Benjamin Netanyahu, and you will understand the filthy and corrupted mentality of Patriots fans who know about this story, have seen the picture, and remain unwilling to condemn Brady. Why is the Brady zealot not interested in an explanation or a clarification of why Brady was consorting with the terrorist entity IDF? 

In reality, the only thing that can be inferred at this time is that Tom Brady is not sorry for his ringing endorsement of the IDF.  In fact, if one generously characterizes Brady’s endorsement in 2006 as only implicit, by the Gaza massacre of 2014, a time where celebrities and sports figures of all sorts were making denunciations of the butchery of the Palestinian people, we should consider Brady’s 9-year long silence as an explicit and still-standing IDF endorsement.  Brady fans should be questioning him, not trying to fend off or explain away the ugly incident.

Normalization of Terrorism




















A highly visible and beloved celebrity like TB12 has the power and ability to humanize what should otherwise be regarded as pure savagery. Imagine, in a parallel universe devoid of propaganda, an army that killed over 500 children in 50 days: it would universally be regarded as menace to humanity.  In today’s world, riddled with distractions and amusements at every turn, being friendly with the IDF does not cause us to turn our heads, or even bat an eyelash.  It is an all-American stance to support a so-called “freedom-loving” country--one just like our own.  Fellow man must make the extra effort to pay attention to what is happening in the world around him.

Constant media bias and extraordinary propaganda efforts have made the Israeli Defense Force appear acceptable to the everyday American. A story recently surfaced involving an Israeli Solider costume for kids that went out of stock at Wal-Mart for Halloween 2015. The description of the terrorist uniform encouraged unsuspecting children to "step into their Jewish heritage."


Many Americans have been duped into believing that the IDF is a noble and just army. It is of little surprise that Robert Kraft’s wife said, without consequence, that while she would not let her sons fight in the United States military, she would be proud if they enlisted for Israel, a foreign country. In short, thanks to the efforts of people like Brady, who have helped sanitize the worst of the IDF’s atrocities, Americans can openly show support for the merciless slaughter in Gaza.

It bears noting that the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, David Blatt, was vocally supportive of the 2014 massacre in Gaza and is quoted as saying “in my opinion, this war is Israel’s most justified war I can remember in recent years.” Sportswriter David Zirin brilliantly highlighted the duplicity and shameful position of the NBA when letting Blatt’s attitude slide whereas “NBA players were being excoriated for just posting messages about the loss of innocent life during Israel’s war on Gaza.” This author’s thoughts on public support and acceptance for Brady follows very closely with Zirin’s observations of how the NBA fails to take issue with supporting the racist and genocidal regime of a foreign nation.  Zirin mocks the insipid remarks by Jeff VanGundy who characterized Blatt’s relationship with Netanyahu as “impressive.” Again, it is because of the power of propaganda, that attitudes towards Israeli politics remain unchecked.

In no small part due to the efforts of people like Kraft, and an instrument of propaganda like Brady, any American can freely show unwavering support for Israel’s dubious military operations, regardless of hard facts and figures that implicate the IDF in the worst possible ways. It seems to be the patriotic thing to do: “support our ally.” To even question Israel’s military operations and its racist policies is a position that few people are willing to vocally express. Although Zirin's comments on Blatt are common sense, he should be commended for taking such a bold position.

For those who have concern for their fellow humans--and if you can understand that the IDF is at least evil as ISIS--how can those hearts that were so ostensibly attached to the “people of Gaza” in 2014, and those hearts that showed outward support all over the Internet in the name of “brotherhood and solidarity,” have the ability to pardon their favorite player who palled around with mass murderers?

Many people clamored online about the IDF being a terrorist organization, but what happens when good ole TB12 is endorsing that very terrorist organization? Why should God bless our efforts and advocacy when it is marred by such hypocrisy?  When it is totally lacking in true sympathy and feeling? Regrettably, pro-Palestinian advocacy has been reduced to a Facebook fad for many of these people. The hypocrisy is glaring as such people “speak up” only to the extent that it does not interfere with their true priorities: football, Tom Brady and his “GOAT” status, and fantasizing about more Super Bowl championing rings.

The Metaphysical Consequence of Indifference


Tom Brady fanatics may find it ridiculous to complain about Mr. Brady’s endorsement of terrorism because he has not directly “hurt anyone” and that “nobody knows about it.”  Indeed it does hurt; it hurts a lot. It is a sign of a suffering heart to have no feeling towards an individual’s endorsement of child killers. Constant acceptance of the unacceptable can affect a person's heart in ways that are not immediately obvious.  We subconsciously become immune to death and destruction, be it in Kenya, Somalia, or Burma. Continual indifference can also be virulent; “if my dad, brother, and friends are not bothered by TB12 endorsing perpetrators of mass terror, why should I be?”  Football is one of America’s favorite pastimes, everybody loves successful celebrities and star players, it is just what people do; and politics and football are two separate issues, we are told. People do not want to let their passion for football get muddled by dirty politics because it is seen as a time for escape.  However, in cases like this, when the association is clear as day, there is no excuse for ignoring what is flagrantly obvious. Indifference in the modern American context means blinding oneself from what takes place outside of a bubble of consumerist culture; it dulls the ability to feel genuine sympathy and compassion for others. Neurotic sports fanship is a culprit in America’s empathy gap. Choosing to ignore the ugly truth of slaughtering children, indiscriminate bombardment, and torture in order to “respect the game,” severely impacts the psyche. The ability to ignore these egregious details with equanimity and detachment is a sign of a heart bereft of life.  

Again, this conversation is not primarily about Tom Brady and the Patriots; it is about internalizing a dangerous frame of mind which makes us content with how things are portrayed by media and propaganda; it leaves us disinterested in seeking a clearer picture or even knowing the truth.  We are left in a state of moral disengagement, meaning we convince ourselves that our own ethical standards do not apply in cases where we are involved (here, our involvement is the love for the “greatness” of TB12).   We convince ourselves to remove reality from our love affair and, in turn, the misfortune of people in a foreign land is not worth our time. To the contrary, it is not worth our time to care about prime-time celebrities throwing deflated balls on grass fields. In fact, it is detrimental to the soul to give it a priority over holding war criminals and their endorsers responsible for their actions. Who are we?  If we are true to ourselves, why would we feel it is okay for someone to endorse those who have been savagely killing innocent people?  It seems that Tom Brady and his ilk can get a pass because they have more to offer – they are the “Greatest of All-Time” and must be respected for "their game."

As the Brady faithful’s zeal drives him to develop sophisticated arguments and apologetics, they eventually convince themselves that an association and endorsement of the IDF is not problematic. The Brady faithful also cling to the notion that the argument against the Patriots emanates from the disingenuous and jealous “haters.”  The truth is—this author’s anger and disgust is not aimed at Tom Brady, Robert Kraft, or the scandal-laden New England Patriots. At the end of the day, Kraft will be Kraft and Brady will be Brady. Having acknowledged the greatness of TB12 as a quarterback, this is not an argument born of jealousy. Rather, this writer’s ire is singularly directed at the neurotic fans who are unmoved by the Brady’s endorsement of the IDF.

Bread and Circus


  
In ancient Rome, a society completely entrenched in war, compassion was a detestable vice which was considered decadent and effeminate.  The brute and masculine events in the gladiator arenas were seen as a way for men not in active combat, to at least belong to the warrior culture and stave off any perceived weakness.  Today, lack of compassion and empathy is a product of the emphasis society has placed on “manly” commercialized sports such as football.  The expression “bread and circus” has been used for centuries to capture the lack of political awareness by a society that remains satiated with the shallow distractions of food and entertainment – notably, the Roman gladiator games and chariot races. The Brady fan’s ability set aside Brady’s terrorist associations, so he can enjoy his bread and circus is very revealing of how this phenomenon is alive in the modern day.
 
When people choose to not think beyond the scope of sports on TV, ESPN gossip, and fantasy sports leagues, one cannot expect them to comprehend reality outside of their cocoons.  While it may seem as such, this is not an indictment of a person’s intelligence.  Although a desire for entertainment in moderation is normal, entertainment becomes pernicious when people are unaware of the impact it has on their overall mentality.  Many brilliant people who are sports fanatics are unwilling to accept that their allegiance to teams and players is clouding their moral judgement.  The corporate-manufactured culture that has indoctrinated Americans for generations, has motivated us to become masters in the statistics and histories of players, and our time is spent studying "expert" commentary in order to memorize the sophisticated strategies involving making the right plays. All of this leads us to become exponentially more oblivious to matters of consequence--such as the welfare of humanity.
 
Sports fanaticism can lead to a detachment from the world, causing one to subordinate fundamental ethical principles to an allegiance to a team. The manufactured world of sports creates a belonging and relentless commitment that would be the equivalent to what one could call an "extremist" or a "fundamentalist" in religion. It creates an environment so involved in these corporate entities that people wear their insignia-laden clothes, attach team names on their car bumpers, and even fly flags outside the doors of their homes.  When asked to write a brief biography of the self, it is common to see something like “Diehard Patriots fan!” as one of the key bullet points.  It is not always problematic, but it can lead to extremism and such extremism results in the ability to overlook critical flaws, acts of repulsive behavior, or simply not care about anything besides what happens on the field.
 
True empathy is the ability to put yourself in another's shoes.  Try it, just for a moment: imagine a colleague lauding and appointing the label "Greatest of All-Time" on the man who used his fame and celebrity to endorse the militants who are responsible for the purposeful murder of each and every one of your children. Think about your own kids. This belligerent behavior is akin to defecating on the face of grieving parents during their most traumatic hour.  At the very least, for the sake of the grieving parent, the widow, and the orphan, the Brady zealot should conceal any trace of outward support for this man.  

If Tom Brady's endorsement of terrorism does not bother you, if a picture that appeared not far removed from the apex of the 2014 massacre in Gaza does not stir any emotions, it should be very concerning. Ask yourself: has propaganda taken a hold of you to the point where you haven't realized it?  Have you become emotionally immune to information overload of death and crime?  Is concern for others and compassion for humanity just not on your priority list?  Whatever the case is for ignoring terror and continuing to idolize TB12, just keep in mind that it is highly offensive to others.

Logical Conclusion


For a lifetime and diehard fan, the only task is to tap into your moral beliefs, be a principled citizen, and issue an explicit condemnation of Tom Brady. From the said analogy, there is no excuse for a socially conscious person, who condemns supporters of ISIS (or any other organization that sees no restriction in the murder of civilians) to not also vociferously condemn Tom Brady for his nine years of deafening silence. Pop culture in America makes us think of the Palestinians as sub-human (or as the Nazis would say, untermenschen)--they are caged up in small parcels of land and are never dignified with the respect that any human being should command. At the end of the day, they are people, just like you and me.  
Any true fan of Brady should be curious to demand an explanation from TB12 as to why he cavorted with terrorists, and whether he still believes if it was the right thing to do.  At the very least, the fan should demand the truth.

If you cannot condemn Tom Brady after everything that has been discussed, it is logically fair to conclude:
  1. You deny or are unmoved by the magnitude of terror caused by the Israeli military--500 butchered children in 50 days is not convincing enough.
  2. You are unconvinced that human life should be valued equally: unconvinced that the death of X number of people killed by the IDF is just as problematic as X number murdered by the hands of ISIS.
  3. You would have no issue with someone dressing up in jihadi gear and going to a training base for a rifle shooting session with ISIS, and then staying silent about it for 9 years.
  4. You are okay with the star player of your favorite sport’s franchise endorsing foreign terrorism, and have no compunctions about supporting him in his trade.
  5. You feel no guilt or shame upon learning that the celebrity that you champion has endorsed lawless bandits who killed innocent children—children who are considered sub-human merely because of their race, religion, and place of birth.
  6. You simply don't care.



Thanks for reading, you can reach us on Twitter @saq333

14 comments:

  1. Excellent piece. This is a classic example of how a picture is "more than just a picture." A picture captures a moment in time, but tells an entire story.

    Consider the recent picture(s) that have surfaced showing the violent results of Dallas Cowboy's defensive end, Greg Hardy. Hardy has been notoriously known for his off-field violence, and pictures of his victim have disgusted many NFL fans and media alike. There has been an outcry to remove him from the NFL, to shun him altogether. Some diehard Cowboys fans have even renounced their fanship.

    However, because of the "normalization of terrorism" so aptly described here, nobody cared about Brady cavorting with a band of terrorists. The uniform he donned symbolizes terror and destruction to an entire race/nation of people. Yet, there was little outcry. As dubious as Hardy's actions were, their was only one real victim.

    This is hypocrisy and it's a result of our environment. This article challenges our morality and I think highlights why who we root for and what we do, is a very complicated matter.

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  2. Any Muslim who supports someone who has endorsed armies and cults involved in killing of innocent people,Muslims or otherwise have entered the realm of kufr.It is easy to enjoy and have fun in this world and support a favorite person or a team and that is fine.The real test is that can we stand for truth and justice and against terrorism such as caused by IDF.If not we are slaves of devil and enemy of Allah! Let the standard set by Aaron R of Green Bay be a guiding light in world of support.I suggest supporters of Brady and his team recite kalima and enter deen again !

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  3. I think it should also be noted that not only is Brady not an imbecile (as mentioned in the article) but he's likely quite politically aware.

    He attended George Bush's 2004 State of the Union address, has previously espoused desires to run for the US Senate, has commented on ISIS, and endorsed Donald Trump (which he was forced to recant after media pressure).

    He clearly knew what he was doing and what his actions stand for. There's simply no defending his egregious behavior and he's had almost a decade to clarify his views if they have changed (and there's absolutely no reason to believe the have, as so excellently put in the piece).

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  4. Nobody is criticizing Tom Brady because your comparison of Israel to ISIS is absurd, and completely out of touch with reality. For starters, Israel doesn't take sex slaves, enforce severe penalties for extremely minor offenses (such as killing people for being gay or watching a soccer game), and Palestinian civilians of Israel have full rights. Yes, Israel makes mistakes, but your one-sided, context lacking depiction of it is delusional to the point that any rational person with an actual understanding of the complexities of the conflict wouldn't take you seriously. I also find it amusing that you rant so much about empathy, yet show none for the plight of the Jewish people.

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    1. Dear Sir,
      Thank you for your comments. Murder is murder regardless of how heavily the media portrays or shelters it. It is unreasonable to expect the average person to know the details of every conflict. However, my point is that, because of the power of propaganda, it takes extra time and effort for us to reach a level of moral equivalency. I'm not talking about Jews, Muslims, Christians here by any means. I used ISIS an an apt example because of current events. I could not have stressed more about how ruthless and terrible these people are. Again, regardless of faith and race, murder of civilians should affect us all equally. Using white phosphorous in densely populated areas, Bombing of hospitals, well-marked UN shelters, and sanctuaries for the handicapped should suffice as terrible.
      I'm not saying everyone is an idiot, but the propaganda efforts of groups like ISIS and IDF (sheltered by US interests) are very powerful, and they affect us - and often we don't realize it.

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    2. You state that Israel is “at least as evil as ISIS.” It’s not even remotely close, and when you make a statement like this, it belittles the rest of your argument. You talk about the harmful effects of propaganda, then go on to make outrageous claims like this that unfairly demonize Israel, which is incredibly hypocritical. I don’t condone those attacks by Israel you mentioned and I think its overall response to that conflict was disproportionate. However, all the places you mentioned that Israel bombed had rockets stored in them. There’s a big difference between shooting a target with the goal of eliminating rockets that, if unchecked, will be launched at your country (which isn’t terrorism as you claimed it is), and something like the recent Paris attacks where the goal is to eliminate as many non-threatening civilians as possible. And yes, I believe this does have something to do with being Jewish, because out of all the numerous terrible countries in the world, you decided to pick on, and slander, the one Jewish state. Again, you showed no empathy for the plight of the Jews. This is a group of people who recently survived a major genocide living next to a group (Hamas) kidnapping teenage civilians and firing rockets at Israel with the stated intention of performing another genocide. Of course, for all you rant about empathy, you only ask people to put themselves in the shoes of a Palestinian and not in the shoes of an Israeli Jew. Also, when discussing the Gaza war, you made no mention of Hamas terror against Israel.

      Here’s a much more adept analogy: Comparing ISIS to Saudi Arabia. Both practice the same branch of extreme Wahhabi Islam and deny basic human rights to all of their people. Saudi discriminates against its Palestinian population and just unleashed a bombing campaign on Yemen that killed thousands. Oh and it’s a US ally. I don’t you know you so I won’t make assumptions, but if I had to guess, I’d bet that you’ve never advocated a boycott of Saudi, and if Tom Brady went to Saudi and took a similar picture, you wouldn’t be writing such a long post condemning him. This would be a double standard of condemning the Jewish state in a fashion that you wouldn’t a non-Jewish state, which meets the actual definition of anti-Semitism.

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    3. It's a sick world, huh? I suppose U skipped CNN's coverage of D 07-08/2014 Gaza SLAUGHTERS of 2,186 Paly's (580 of them children), bombed out UNRWA school BOMB SHELTERS included, and D ANNIHILATION of Gaza. I once flew as an F-104C fighter pilot, I also spent 2 years training IAF pilots in Israel. But, after the Lebanese slaughters by Israel in 1986 I got used to HATING this 1/2 acre of Zionist HELL. I then decided 2 HATE these BEASTLY BASTARDS 4Ever!!!"

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    4. I guess you missed the part where I condemned those attacks and called the response disproportionate, but you don't seem like the type to actually read the posts you're responding to. But considering your name is "AZCowBoy" I highly doubt you're actually Israeli

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  5. "U have 'DEFLATED' the 'Brady' image in my mind. But, as a pro-Paly man in the DEEPEST part of my HEART, I feel disappointed how JEWS, MONEY and the GOLDEN CALF seem 2 RULE the WORLD. Viva Palestine! One day D Paly's will FERTILIZE your OLIVE GROVES with what is left of a NUKED IsraHELL!

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    1. I know you're not smart enough to understand this, but nuking Israel will kill exponentially more Palestinians than the total amount killed by Israel since 1947

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  6. Saudis are the worst criminals on the face of earth.They destroyed the Arab Spring by killing many of the elected Morsi regime.They gave over 10 Billion $ to prop up killer Sisi.They indiscriminately bomb Yemen.They treat and execute foreign workers in Saudi.No wonder there are some so called Muslims who support them.Some day mainstream gutless Muslims will have courage to speak truth about their own.

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  7. ESPN just reported that the Patriots accepted $700k from the DOD for including military themes in their games. Not surprising given the story above. Propaganda at its finest.

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