Dana Gloger, Facebook groups at war over Israel, The Jewish Chronicle, March 13 2008
A group whose shared interest is a belief that “Israel is not a country” has attracted almost 38,000 members on social-networking website Facebook.
The group claims that “criticism of illegitimate apartheid ‘Israel’, which has no right to exist, cannot be regarded as antisemitic”.
It maintains that Israel “cannot justify the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and oppression that ensues”, and that East Jerusalem has around 200,000 illegal Israeli settlers.
The group wants Facebook to refer to “Occupied Palestine” rather than “Israel”.
A counter-campaign group — “Facebook: Delete the group ‘Israel is not a country’”, has been set up to lobby for the anti-Israel group’s removal from Facebook. It has 33,600 supporters.
It claims the group has become “a hotbed for antisemitism, hate speech, and incitement of violence against Jews”, frequently equating Zionists with Nazis.
Andre Oboler, who runs www.zionism ontheweb.org, monitoring online antisemitism, claimed the anti-Israel page was “basically a race-hate site”.
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, founder and president of Washington-based advocacy group the Israel Project, observed: “It’s clear that we have a long way to go to bring more support to Israel.
“The enemies of Israel are on the web, and we need to bring more of our supporters onto it too.”
Another Facebook group, “RIP Ala’a Abu Dhaim”, also sparked outrage this week by celebrating the Palestinian gunman who killed eight students and wounded another nine in Jerusalem’s Mercaz Harav yeshivah.
No one from Facebook was available for comment.
Its terms and conditions state that users may not use the site to “upload, post, transmit, share, store or otherwise make available any content that we deem to be harmful, threatening…abusive, inflammatory… vulgar, obscene… hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable”.