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Dylan fan site blocks Israeli users

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Bob Dylan fan site has blocked users inside Israel from accessing the site in what the site operator calls a cultural boycott in response to Israel’s interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla.

Users with an Israel IP address are directed to webmaster Eyolf Ostrem’s blog.

His message to Israeli users reads: "As a contribution to a cultural boycott of the state of Israel — a long overdue reaction to the absurd inhumanity that is demonstrated in its actions and that goes against everything that I and this site stands for — access to dylanchords has been blocked for visitors from Israel.

"If you think you have been blocked unfairly, vote differently in the next election, and convince your family and friends to do the same."

"Just so that is mentioned: The boycott is not directed against individuals of Jewish descent or religion, but against the state of Israel and its actions. I feel sorry for those Israelis who have fallen victim to the aggression and violence in the area, no less and no more than I feel for the Palestinians in the same situation."

Ostrem, a Danish music expert, continues the discussion on his blog, calling Israel "a fascist, belligerent regime."

In an entry dated Saturday, Ostrem says: "I consider my blockade as part of a cultural boycott of the same kind as that against South Africa in the 80s. As such it is a gesture which some people will feel is hurting them unjustly.

"But this misses the fundamental character of a cultural boycott … it is a symbolic gesture, aimed to send a signal: ‘judging by your behavior, as a group, we can’t regard you as decent people. We can do without that contact. It’s up to you to give us a reason to want talk with you.’ "

The website was shut down in 2005 due to American copyright violations, but runs on mirror sites.

The boycott comes as several musical artists have canceled appearances in Israel over the Gaza blockade and the flotilla incident.

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