We Con the World
We Con the World is an 2010 video clip that satirizes the purportedly peaceful intentions of the political activists aboard the Turkish-owned flagship, MV Mavi Marmara, which led the Free Gaza flotilla. The video uses the tune and style of the 1985 video "We Are the World", with actors portraying the ship's captain and passengers while waving fake weapons as they sing in criticism of the activists' attempts to "make the world abandon reason" and ignore facts about Hamas as they try to breach the Gaza blockade.
The video was produced in 2010 by American-Israeli Caroline Glick, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and Latma TV, an Israeli media satire website she edits. The website is an initiative of the Center for Security Policy, a conservative organization located in Washington. Glick makes an appearance in the chorus, wearing a keffiyeh.
Latma TV director Shlomo Blass told a reporter for the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth that he had decided to respond on the day of the Gaza flotilla raid. "I immediately called the site editor, Caroline Glick, and said to her: 'We have to do something'."
Glick described the video as a parody, featuring the "Turkish-Hamas 'love boat' captain crew and passengers in a musical explanation of how they con the world", and told the press that "We think this is an important Israeli contribution to the discussion of recent events and we hope you distribute it far and wide".
The video satirizes the purportedly peaceful intentions of the political activists aboard the MV Mavi Marmara, the Turkish-owned flagship that led the "blockade busting" Free Gaza Gaza flotilla. Actors portraying the ship's captain and passengers wave fake weapons as they sing, with affected Arab accents, "We'll make the world abandon reason / We'll make them all believe that the Hamas is Momma Theresa", "As Allah has shown us / For facts there's no demand". The captain of the parody crew sings "Ithbah al-Yahud" (اذبح اليهود, i.e. "Slaughter the Jews" in Arabic).
Robert Mackey of the New York Times characterizes the video as "suggest[ing] that the activists on board the flotilla were, in fact, violent provocateurs". Jeff Stein of the Washington Post quotes a CIA agent who calls it "pretty clever agitprop". Writing in the Huffington Post, journalist Eileen Read called on the Jerusalem Post to fire Glick for making fun of the dead in the "blatantly racist" video.
Iran's state-run Press TV said the "highly offensive" video thumbed its nose at world anger and triggered a new tide of global outrage when it was circulated two days after the deaths of nine or more on the Gaza flotilla.
The video attracted attention when the Israeli Foreign Ministry press office sent it to a list of journalists, and three hours later sent an apology describing the emailed video as having been "inadvertently released". Iranian Press TV characterized the video release by the Israeli Press Office (GPO) as "add(ing) insult to injury".
Israeli spokesman for the Office of the Prime Minister, Mark Regev, told The Guardian that "I called my kids in to watch it because I thought it was funny. It is what Israelis feel. But the government has nothing to do with it".
Viewership and translations
The video achieved worldwide attention, getting over three million views in less than a week.
A week after the parody appeared, it was pulled by YouTube "due to a copyright claim by Warner/ Chappell Music, Inc." Glick argued that it was legal and permissible to use copyrighted material under the fair use doctrine for purposes of parody.
Lawrence Solomon opined in the National Post that "parodies are not subject to a copyright claim" and that "YouTube carries numerous other parodies of 'We are the world' – a search on the YouTube site of 'We are the world spoof' turns up 5,100 results":
"YouTube’s real problem with this viral hit is the virus of anti-Semitism. 'We con the world', which portrays terrorists on the Gaza flotilla’s ship, the MV Mavi Marmara, explaining how they’ll con the world, hits too close to home for many Hamas sympathizers, who mounted a successful campaign to cow YouTube".
Several weeks after the removal the original video has been restored on its channel.
- Flotilla Choir: 'We Con the World', Tzippe Barrow, June 4, 2010, Christian Broadcasting Network.
- Martin Barillas, Parody video mocks the deadly Gaza Flotilla, June 4, 2010.
- PR blunder: Israeli government’s press office sends Flotilla incident parody video to journalists Friday, June 4, 2010, BNO News.
- Israel apologizes for sending link to flotilla parody, Liz Goodwin, Yahoo News.
- "Israel apologises for spoof video mocking Gaza flotilla" BBC, 7 June 2010.
- Israeli "Newscast" Satirizes Raid Critics, June 4, 2010, Dan Raviv.
- Stöcker, Christian (June 5, 2010). "Gaza-Hilfsflotte: Propaganda-Satire blamiert Israels Regierung (Gaza Aid Flotilla: Propaganda Satire embarrasses Israeli Government)". Der Spiegel. Retrieved June 8, 2010. "Das "Center for Security Policy" (CSP) ist eine erzkonservative Organisation [...] (The "Center for Security Policy" (CSP) is a staunchly conservative organization)"
- Mackey, Robert (June 4, 2010). "Israelis Explain, and Mock, Flotilla Clash". New York Times. Retrieved June 8, 2010.
- Israeli government office links to video mocking flotilla, CNN.
- "Israel forced to apologise for YouTube spoof of Gaza flotilla; Israeli government press office distributed video link featuring Arabs and activists singing", Rachel Shabl, The Guardian, June 6, 2010.
- "Israeli grass-roots effort fights flotilla fallout", Dina Kraft, June 8, 2010, Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
- Israeli government office links to video mocking flotilla, CNN Wire Staff, June 5, 2010.
- Israelis Explain, and Mock, Flotilla Clash, June 4, 2010, Rober Mackey, New York Times.
- "Right-wing D.C. think tank spawns Israeli PR blunder", June 6, 2010.
- Eileen Read, Huffington Post: "The Jerusalem Post Should Fire Caroline Glick for Making a Racist Video", June 5, 2010.
- "Israel thumbs nose at world anger, 6 June 2010.
- Israëlische excuses na pr-blunder.
- Gaffe di Israele: "video-farsa sulla strage della nave", La Stampa (4/6/2010).
- Video: "farsa di Israele sui pacifisti Si intitola 'Flotilla-We con the world' (Flottiglia, noi inganniamo il mondo)".
- Video choc. ’Flotilla, Noi inganniamo il mondo’ un insulto ai 19 morti pacifisti. La satira israeliana indigna la Rete, sabato 5 giugno 2010, di Francesco Bonazzi, Agora Magazine.
- YouTube Pulls "We Con the World" Parody, Israel National News, June 12, 2010, David Lev.
- Израильское правительство извинилось за пародийную песню "We con the world" (in Russian), IL: News RU, June 7, 2010.
- Flotilla parody removed from YouTube, June 13, 2010, Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
- Lawrence Solomon: YouTube Cons The World, by Lawrence Solomon, National Post, June 13, 2010.
- "Flotilla Choir presents: We Con the World". YouTube. Retrieved July 21, 2010.