I published this piece last week at Jewcy during my guest bloggging gig there. It goes over some material and sources my readers may be familiar with. But rest assured there’s a new development: Masada2000 is DOWN AGAIN! Read on for more:
Everyone knows the internet can be a nasty place. Foul language, hate, invective, inanity, you name it. But what’s less known is that the Jewish web can be equally nasty. We Jews have a reputation for being disputatious and the internet is no exception. I’ve been blogging for nearly five years. People have wished cancer on me, called for me to be raped by Arabs and killed by “righteous Jews,” called my children “simian,” claimed I taught them to manufacture Palestinian suicide bombs, etc.
And as a recent Jewish Forward article points out, I’m not the only one. There are Jewish cyber-bullies everywhere (including in the comment thread for this very article):
Orthomom.blogspot.com, which covers Long Island’s Orthodox Jewish communities, was the subject of a recent lawsuit brought by a local elected official who charges that she was slandered on the blog. Last February, the official, Pamela Greenbaum, who serves on board of education in Lawrence, N.Y., filed a lawsuit in a New York state court in an attempt to force Google, whose subsidiary hosts the blog, to reveal Orthomom’s identity. Greenbaum claims that she was called a “bigot” and an “antisemite” on the blog.
In response to Greenbaum’s lawsuit, Public Citizen, a national public interest group that has played a lead role in defending free speech on the Internet, rushed in to defend Orthomom and filed a motion to quash. A decision in the case is still pending.
When Chaim Rubin of Life of Rubin defended Orthomom one of his commenters began berating him for his support of her. The going got nasty and Chaim banned him. The commenter decided to get even and created a blog called Ploni Baloney solely devoted to mocking Chaim. While he believes he knows the identity of the anonymous blogger he has no solid proof. That’s precisely the problem with cyber-bullies. They are obsessed to the point of mania. But they prefer to lurk in dark, slimy places.
Steven Plaut is another Jewish cyber-bully who sees it as his role in life to protect the Jewish people from anyone who’s ever voiced any criticism of Israel. As Rebecca Spence wrote in The Forward:
In 2006, Neve Gordon, a dovish politics professor at Ben-Gurion University, launched a civil suit against Steven Plaut, a hawkish professor at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Haifa, for referring to him in an article published online as a “fanatic anti-Semite” and a “Judenrat wannabe,” among other slurs. Plaut lost and had to pay more than $18,000 in fines to Gordon. Plaut is now appealing the case.
But there is one website that is the sine qua non of Jewish cyber-bullydom. Masada2000 has everything: naked men, dildos, Ariel Sharon in drag, Michael Lerner half-naked in a bath tub, and 7,000 Jews on the S.H.I.T. list. Who could ask for more? What is Masada20000 you ask? It’s a strange beast run by someone who conceals his identity behind the moniker Big Al. Big Al is angry in the same way Meir Kahane was angry. Angry at Jewish peaceniks, the Fifth Column of the Jewish people. And doubly angry at perfidious Arabs. Masada2000 has a fetish for what I call Jewish porn. It’s obsessed by homosexuality and Nazism. Jews on the S.H.I.T. (Self-Hating and Israel-Threatening Jews) are ‘fags,’ kapos’ and ‘Judenrats.’ It’s as if the site owner absorbed the poison the Nazis spewed against Jews and become what he hates–a Jewish Nazis.
If you’re an enemy of the Jewish people in their book, you clearly deserve no privacy and the List often displays images of victims and their private e mail addresses.
I have a personal confession to make. I am on the S.H.I.T. List. In fact, when one of the site’s ‘friends’ or perhaps the owner himself notified me of my “membership” I began a campaign to get the site taken down. Besides the fact that it featured an image of me that I owned and thus violated my copyright, I thought that any site that said that Jewish female peace activists “deserved a good reaming” deserved to be reamed itself. When their webhost took the site down they moved it to a Mormon webhost who didn’t seem to mind nudity and lots of F-words directed at “sand niggers” and the like.
Ultimately I failed. No matter how many examples I provided to Bluehost of multiple blatant violations of their Terms of Service, they preferred Masada2000’s loot to common decency. But I’m pleased to say that where I failed, someone else succeeded. And a day without Masada2000 is day with lots of sunshine as far as I’m concerned. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how Masada2000 was brought down since I don’t want to let any of its friends in on the secret.
No doubt, you’ll read in the comment section below some Kahanewannabe pledging that ‘Masada2000 will live forever’ and such like. Perhaps. But making life tougher for those who spew hate is truly a mitzvah. And to the site’s supporters I say, please don’t talk to me about freedom of speech. Freedom of speech does not allow you to violate the law or invade the privacy of thousands of victims by printing their e mail addresses. Besides, when the site has been taken down it has not been because of its political speech, but rather because it violated the host’s Terms of Service or violated other provisions that regulate websites (sorry for being so vague). There are many other websites that present a Jewish nationalist perspective without breaking laws and invading privacy.
Miriam Felton Dansky also wrote about Masada2000 in Flack-Listed at New Voices.
Karole du Pont says
If Jews wants to bring a better world, they have to abide by a better code themselves. You are writing about cyber-bullies generally, but I am a regular reader of the Jerusalem Post (internet edition)and I have problems with many of the comments left on the Post which have a strong heinous feel. I suggest you read the comments left on Alan Dershowitz Jerusalem Post’s blog about Jimmy Carter’s use of the word Apartheid in his book’s title.
The goal of a stricker code is to shoot at what is wrong in a message or a statement not to shoot at the messenger. This is what we apply very strictly in Canada. Even police in its communications with the press over a serial killer would speak more neutrally of him than the strong feel of heinous speeches I felt towards Jimmy Carter in those comments. If the Post has been owned by Canadians, in the comments section it is often a far cry from our own Canadian application of Laws on heinous speeches. I mean if the Post could speak about Mr. Arafat neutrally why could it not command the same code to its readers.
Richard Silverstein says
I’m sorry to say that the Post IS owned by Canadians, the Asper family which I’ve written about here. However, you are correct in that Canadian law does not apply to the Post unfortunately. Also unfortunately, all of the Israeli publications have horrible talkback threads where rightists say the most horrible things about anyone to the left of Attila the Hun. I make it a point of leaving comments in order to show that not everyone is so beastly inhuman.