You are reading the blog of a dangerous man. A very dangerous man. Or so the Israeli pro-war propaganda machine believes. That’s why yesterday, an Israeli Facebook user named Tal Inbar began a campaign to get my Facebook account removed. Here is what he published in Hebrew:
בואו נדבר לרגע על ריצ’ארד סילברסטיין. היהודי האנטי ישראלי הזה”
הגרפומן המכלה את זמנו בניגוח של כל דבר הקשור בישראל, תוך הפצת שקרים
מחליאים ומחרידים – מקדם כעת את הסיפור שלו על כך ש”צה”ל רצח חייל” על מנת
למנוע חטיפתו על ידי חמאס. את הבלוג של השרלטן מסיאטל לא ניתן להוריד מהרשת
– אבל את שקריו , דברי הבלע שלו וההתעללות במשפחה שכולה (הוא מפרסם שמו
ותמונתו של חלל צה”ל ש”נרצח” על ידי הצבא)- ניתן ורצוי להסיר מהפייסבוק.
“REPORT, חברים! ?
Translation: Come let’s talk for a moment about Richard Silverstein. This anti-Israel Jewish is a compulsive writer who devotes his time battering everything related to Israel, through disseminating sickening and appalling lies. Right now, he’s promoting his story that the IDF “murdered a soldier” in order to prevent his kidnapping [sic] by Hamas. We can’t remove the blog by the charlatan from Seattle from the web. But his lies, his calumnies, and abuse of a bereaved family (he publishes the name and picture of the IDF soldier “murdered” by the army) it’s possible and desirable to get him removed from Facebook. Friends, report!
In a later passage in this Facebook thread, he writes:
Keep reporting [him to Facebook] till he is denounced and vomited from every public platform he may have.
Who is Tal Inbar? The head of the space and drone program at the Fisher Institute, an aerospace project of Israeli Air Force veterans. This is a guy at the heart of Israel’s military-industrial complex. Those who read my blog know that one of my subjects is exposing the deficiencies of Israel’s drone program along with others like Iron Dome. You don’t think there might be an element of payback in this, do you?
The Fisher Institute’s name is now associated with Inbar’s behavior. Clearly, on his Facebook account he notes his affiliation. So while his account may be personal, anything he writes there reflects on the Institute, especially when he engages in an act of fraud like this.
I wouldn’t have known about his campaign if he hadn’t included my name and link to my Facebook account so that I saw the invitation for campaign against me. Needless to say, Inbar and everyone who joined him is engaging in fraud. They’re knowingly reported to Facebook that my account is fake when they know it isn’t. There are probably Israeli Facebook users who’ve used this tactic before against people like me. They know that Facebook will not actually individually examine an account to determine if it is fake. They’ll base the decision to disable on the number of reports they get. If there are enough, it’s automatically disabled.
That’s what happened to me. And it’s a clever strategy. It takes me off Facebook in the middle of the Gaza war. It silences my voice on Facebook. It brings the actual war into the arena of social media. While Von Clausewitz said that war was an expression of politics by other means, this act of fraud is an extension of the Gaza war by other means. Just as much of Israel’s justification for the war is fraudulent, so is this. The problem is that Facebook isn’t aware of the exploitation and manipulation of its procedures by master fraudsters like these.
These pro-war hawks can’t win by legitimate means. Not satisifed to control the media inside Israel, they seek to silence critics outside. This is the opposite of democracy. It’s fascism, Israeli fascism. They know they can’t rebut the truth. So they resort to lies, subterfuge and deception.
The best I can do is expose the fraud and ask Facebook users to do what they can to complain about the way I’ve been victimized by the hasbara apparatus. I would hope there’s a journalist in Israel not cowed by the pro-war hasbara machine to write something about this.
I have appealed the decision to disable my account. I’ve provided personal information that confirms my identity and that it is an account that follows Facebook’s terms. I don’t know how long it will take to reinstate my account. I hope as well, that once reinstated they will restore my account to the exact status it had before it was removed.
This sort of behavior shows that they’ll stop at nothing, they’ll stoop to every trick to advance Israel’s wars and supposed interests. It’s feeble, pathetic and will only backfire upon them. Let’s start making that happen now, shall we?
By the way, the issue that got Inbar into high dudgeon was my report that the IDF killed Sgt. Guy Levy to prevent his capture by Hamas. Inbar thought this story was a calumny. But guess what, it turns out the it’s true as confirmed earlier today by Ronen Bergman. Those “lies” of mine that so upset Inbar? They’re true.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.