Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Facebook and The Third Intifada

Facebook and The Third Intifada
©2011 By David Talbot

Facebook is amazing. Over the past 3 years I have been able to meet many new friends and renew old friendships using this “Social Networking” site. Facebook brings people together for a variety of purposes: friendship, business, reunions, sharing of information, and all manner of social interaction purposes.

Some in the social networking universe are giving credit to Facebook, and other similar sites, for the Middle East democracy movements ability to connect to thousands of protestors in very short periods of time. In effect, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and My Space have been more reliable sources of information for combatants on both sides of the conflicts, than any other source.

Proof of the value of these sites to the rebels was the immediate shut down of the internet by the governments in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria, and Libya, as a first reaction to conflict. This occurred even before they shut down cell phones and put the clamps on other information sources.

Recently, a pro-Palestinian group opened a Facebook page called the Third Intifada, encouraging Palestinians to return to guerilla-terrorist tactics against Israel. Using the flawed Goldstone UN Report on Israel’s operation in Gaza as a basis for the call to arms. Within days, the site had amassed 300,000 “Friends” and growing at an astounding 25,000 new friends a day. The site was loaded with anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric and was just becoming a phenomenon when the massacre of the Fogel family occurred in Itamar in the West Bank a few weeks ago.

One example of the rhetoric posted on the site was the slogan: “From the River to the Sea.” This refers to the total annihilation of every Jew in Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Last week, Facebook management, gave in to international pressure and took down the offensive page saying it violated Facebook’s “Terms of Use” policy. And, was that the end of the story?

Of course not! Within an hour of the removal of the Third Intifada page, at least 100 other sites popped up, in many languages, and the call to arms continues. But now, groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Peace Now, and the Palestinian Authority are not making overt threats.

Instead, these sponsors of terrorism are hiding their ultimate goal, the total removal of every Jew in Israel, dead or alive, behind well known messages that all understand, but are not explicit calls to terrorize Israel.

To Facebook these new sites, evil as they may be, are permitted on Facebook as political speech and do not violate it’s Terms of Use policy since no specific threat is mentioned.

From the river to the sea rhetoric continues and the number of new anti-Israel sites is expanding. It is now impossible to determine who is a terror sponsor and who is just espousing a “legitimate” political point of view.

On Monday, April 4, 2011, Judge Richard Goldstonethe of South Africa, author of the Goldstone Report, recanted almost everything in his infamous report to the United Nations. However, no where in the US liberal press, the international press, and certainly in the Arab press, is there any mention of the reversal of Goldstone. So, the lies and the outcry stemming from the lies, ares perpetuated.

In my opinion, Israel and the international community would have been better served by allowing the Third Intifada Facebook page to stay online. Knowing what’s transpiring on any particular site is better than trying to figure out what’s taking place on a thousand sites, in dozens of countries, in many languages.

Anyway, that’s my opinion, what’s yours?


David Talbot

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