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Israel’s War on Facebook

I mean the title of this post in two ways: first, the Shabak is at war with Palestinians using social media in order to express their nationalist political views.  Second, the Israeli far-right is using Facebook as a potent means to advance its own genocidal views against Palestinians.  If that sounds like a double standard…well, welcome to Israel, the land of hypocrisy and double standards.

For example, last week the Shabak hauled a Palestinian in for interrogation because he called Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, the “mayor of Occupation.”  Haaretz notes that four months ago, the police arrested 13 young East Jerusalem bloggers who complained about the “politics of Occupation” and damage to Al Aqsa Mosque.  Their lawyer pointed out that charges were filed against eight of them, but none of the charges involved anything they’d posted.  All charges were dredged up in the subsequent interrogation and applied post facto.

Another Palestinian social media activist was jailed on charges that his Twitter and Facebook postings supported a “terror organization.”  His detention was extended by the court with the claim that his alleged crimes were “serious” and if he was released he would likely endanger the public peace and security and damage the investigation.  All this due to a tweet!!  Who’d have thought they could be so subversive as to threaten an entire nation?

After his release, his lawyer discovered that the posts the police grilled him about were anywhere from a year to two years old.  Which raises the question: if they were so dangerous why hadn’t the police investigated them at the time they were published?  Did they become dangerous only after the police discovered them?  One of the gravest charges raised by the police was his publication of a song by the Lebanese singer, Julia Boutrous, which speaks of the Palestinian longing for homeland.  Apparently, only Jews can long for their homeland as they do when they sing the HaTikva.  Another aspect of the questioning involved the victim’s call to protest against the Prawer Plan.  Apparently, Palestinians are not allowed to have opinions freely granted to hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who opposed this travesty perpetrated against Israeli Bedouin.  The coup de grace is that the police deemed this man so dangerous that they conducted the investigation in secret and allowed his attorney to have no contact with him.

jewish terror facebook group

Jewish terrorist Facebook group, Everyone for Death to Terrorists!

As for Israeli right-wing social media activists: they may treat the web as the Devil’s Playground.  It’s a veritable online refuge of hate.  In a separate article, Haaretz notes (Hebrew) two of the worst examples of such hatemongering are the Facebook pages for “Revenge of the Jews” and “Death to Terrorists” (61,000 likes). The first is replete with pictures of beaten up Palestinians with blood pouring from their head wounds as they lay in hospital beds after throwing stones or trying to seduce Jewish girls.  The crimes are assumed and guilt is certain.  There is no such thing as “allegedly” when Palestinians are concerned.

There are multiple trophy photos of price tag attacks showing damage caused to Palestinian cars and property likely by the photographers themselves.  There’s a picture of a Molotov cocktail thrown by a pogromist at a Palestinian home which caused fire damage.  There is a photo of a brutal attack by Jews on a Sudanese refugees assaulted after a protest in which the refugees demanded their rights.  There are paeans to the holy memory of homicidal maniacs like Baruch Goldstein (“How happy we are and how good our portion [in life] to have had a Baruch such as this!”).

baruch goldstein

A loving memorial to settler serial killer, Baruch Goldstein

The forte of Death to Terrorists seems to be celebrating the murder of Palestinian “terrorists.”  They’re accompanied by the jovial statement: “Can you ‘like’ [Israeli] killers [of terrorists]?”  There are photos of those who’ve been executed by Israel security forces, and huzzahs  all around for the brave boys of Tzahal who save us from these ruthless killers.  The moral is “the only good Palestinian is a dead Palestinian.”  There’s a photo of two proud settler extremists violating security regulations by infiltrating the Temple Mount.  They each have huge smiles on their faces in the knowledge that they are fomenting tension and conflict with the Waqf which administers the site.

Some members are willing to go far afield to satisfy their Muslim-hatred.  One posts a Hebrew article about the Uighur attack on a Chinese railway station in which 29 were killed:

Muslims savagely slaughtered (as only they know how) 29 residents on a train.  Suspicion: Muslim terror.

Never mind that Islam has nothing to do with Uighur grievances against Chinese authorities.  That’s far too much nuance for these haters to grasp.

Let’s call this what it is: Jewish terrorism flagrantly flouting Israeli law by promoting and inciting hate and violence against Palestinians.  But don’t be surprised.  The Israeli state is complicit in this terrorism not only by not combating it; but also through its own enabling behavior.  All a settler has to do is see his fellow settlers serving in the Border Police executing an unarmed Palestinian inside his home to know that their own genocidal views are ratified by the State itself.  They know either they can get away with murder (literally) or that if they’re arrested they receive nothing more than a pat on the back and encouragement to go out there and commit more mayhem and mischief.  The Israeli police and security services aren’t being incompetent or lax in not combatting this patently illegal activity.  Many of the members of these groups are the very same police and security personnel who are supposed to uphold laws against racial and religious incitement.  They are the foxes inside the hen house, even running it!

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Shoshana March 5, 2014, 4:59 AM

    “Never mind that Islam has nothing to do with Uighur grievances against Chinese authorities.”

    How do you know that, Richard?

    Tibetans have identical grievances as Uigurs, but haven’t launched any terror attacks on the Han Chinese.

    The current form of resistance chosen Tibetan youth is self immolation. Tibetans are overwhelmingly Buddhist.


    • Richard Silverstein March 5, 2014, 11:28 AM

      @ Shoshana: Even a cursory review of Google would prove your claim about Tibetans wrong. There has been massive violence & unrest among Tibetan communities directed at the Chinese. Uighur culture and traditions are different than Tibetan. BTW, there are similar sorts of unrest and violence all over China, not just in Uighur lands. So singling out Uighurs or claiming that they are terrorists while there is no other similar sense of grievance in the rest of China is false.

      Not to mention I object to anyone including you attempting to advance the argument that Islam is the motivating force in such violence. Especially doing so without a shred of evidence. Uighurs have political, social and economic grievances against the Han. Religion has nothing to do with it.

      • Sara March 5, 2014, 11:52 AM

        So why are you so liberal with references to “Jewish” terrorists in virtually every post?

      • Sara March 5, 2014, 11:57 AM

        In fact you refer to jewish terrorism in this very post. I thought Jews were a religion? Or are they magically a nationality when it suits you?

        • Richard Silverstein March 5, 2014, 5:52 PM

          @ Sara: Settlers and fellow terrorists are Jews and their motivation for their terrorism is to protect Jewish interests as they perceive them. They hate non Jewish citizens of Israel. The best characterization of what they do & why is to call it “Jewish terror.” If I called it “Israeli terror” that would be wrong because Israeli non-Jews are not engaged in this sort of terror.

          • Sara March 5, 2014, 6:02 PM

            Settlers hate non-Jewish citizens of Israel?? You can’t possibly actually believe this. I have family and friends in the so-called settlements, regular people with families and children and to think they hate non-Jewish citizens of Israel is simply laughable. And Muslims can never want to defend Islamic interests as they see them!? Only Jews?!

          • Richard Silverstein March 5, 2014, 8:19 PM

            @ Sara: I see. So all of this vitriolic hate you’re reading that is featured in the FB groups portrayed in this post, including the group liked by 61,000 Israelis…all of that hate doesn’t come from settlers and their supporters inside Israel. It comes from…where?

            I have no idea who your family & friends are in these settlements, but if they don’t hate Palestinians there are thousands of other settlers who do. BTW, this isn’t “laughable” at all, it’s deadly serious. I mean that literally.

          • Sara March 6, 2014, 5:50 AM

            Can there ever be Islamic terror? What about the attack on the Jewish school in Toulouse? What if the terrorists release statements explicitly linking the attacks with Islam? And why can’t Jewish terrorist attacks ever be given a context or motivation aside from “hatred” and “racism”? You seem to provide a very different standard for Jews, Richard.

          • Tyler March 6, 2014, 2:10 PM

            To Sara, I don’t believe Richard is discounting the existence of terrorism that is motivated by muslim beliefs (Richard please correct me if I’m wrong) in fact I don’t think anyone could given incidences like the fatwah on Salman Rushdie and the gross overreaction to the danish cartoons. However I find it odd that those who are so quick to point out the occasional horrifying behavior of what is, in reality, a relatively small yet vocal and violent portion of the Muslim world are very reluctant to confront and deal with that behavior among members of their own religious or ethnic group. I can’t understand how people can look at the behavior of the settlers and the army and government endorsing them and not see a direct parallel to the Jim Crow south and apartheid South Africa. Why are you not as morally outraged at that as you are at muslim, or secular, or christian terrorism? Not only that, but whether or not your settler friends are nice is not the point. They are at the very least amoral, if not immoral. They are choosing to live on the occupied and stolen lands of another people. Period. I don’t care about whether they may not have had economic opportunity where they were living before. They have either chosen to embrace, or at least ignore, the fact that there choice is helping to oppress and disenfranchise people, almost like what happened to the Jewish people in the 1930’s and 40’s huh? This behavior is wrong no matter who commits it, and choosing to participate, ignore the impact of, or excuse this behavior puts blood on your hands. It may be hard to stand for the right things, but until you stand up for the dignified treatment of people everywhere, no matter there creed or nationality, you have no right to criticize those who attempt to.

          • Sara March 7, 2014, 4:55 AM

            [comment deleted–off topic]

  • bluto March 5, 2014, 7:55 AM

    [comment deleted–the comment threads are places for reasoned discussion, not breathless rants or places for political sloganeering. Please stop doing this or I’ll have to moderate you.]

    • bluto March 5, 2014, 11:15 AM

      The Israeli Lobby is NO LONGER tenable in the US.

      I declare it

  • Mary Hughes Thompson March 5, 2014, 6:49 PM

    “I have family and friends in the so-called settlements, regular people with families and children and to think they hate non-Jewish citizens of Israel is simply laughable. ”

    It is you, Sara who are laughable. The fact you admit you have family and friends living illegally in Palestine, in flagrant contravention of international law, and that you have the chutzpah to call them “so called settlements”, shows you have no idea what you are talking about. To Palestinians, and to me, settlers are not “regular people” but are colonizers who contribute to the destruction of Palestinian lives and livelihood. That to me is Jewish terror. Not Israeli terror, because the terrorism is committed by Jews against Palestinians on whose land they are living illegally.

    • Sara March 5, 2014, 6:55 PM

      [comment deleted: off topic. Please read comment rules and respect them, before posting your next comment.]

  • Roberto November 7, 2014, 5:26 PM

    I agree with Tyler and Mary Hughes. As for the Uighurs, I visited Uyghurstan/Chinese Turkestan/Xinjiang: very nice people, and their grievances are not religious motivated. They are discriminited against, in their own country, by the Chinese Han.

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