Facebook Thinks It's OK to Call for the Murder of Prisoners
June 17. As one response to the probable kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers some Israelis have posted a page on Facebook in Hebrew calling for the killing of a Palestinian every hour until the Israelis are released. The "Jewish Press" and NBC TV news say the gist of the page is "Kill a Terrorist". The "Times of Israel" says "Kill a Convict". I don't know enough Hebrew to make a judgment, but I guess there's not much distinction.
So far this incitement to hourly murder hasn't come to fruition. It's true that Ahmad Sabbareen in Al-Jazaloon camp near Ramallah was killed on Monday, but the Israeli army's plan at the moment appears to focus on mass kidnapping of Palestinians. 120 Palestinians were kidnapped on Monday including six legislators, and two former government ministers. The IDF doesn't call it kidnapping, of course. It says "arrests", but when you just sweep up people and hold them until you get your demands met it amounts to the same thing.
The Facebook page about killing convicts has nearly 19,000 likes as of this writing. I assume since the page is in Hebrew the "likes" are nearly all Israelis. I'm sure if pressed by legal authorities the authors of the page would say they were just "blowing off steam" or "trying to send a message" about how angry they were.
But it's all academic. No legal authorities are questioning the page, nor has the ADL, AIPAC or any Israeli authorities said anything critical about it.
News about the page appeared in the "Jewish Press" which links to the page for your convenience. The "Times of Israel" mentioned that the page states, "Until the teens return - every hour we will shoot a terrorist. NBC News is in some ways the worst. It matter-of-factly talks about the page and shows its cover photo and reports on several page comments like, ""You don't need to disconnect the water and electricity. You need to connect the water to the electricity," one said referring to Israel's occasional cutting of utilities to the West Bank and Gaza Strip."
Is incitement to murder now just part of acceptable public discourse?
I guess so since complaints to Facebook about the page are rejected by Zuckerberg's employees. I wrote one and several other people told me they did so, too. The response from Facebooks was: "It doesn't violate our Community Standards." Wow! What are your appalling standards, Facebook and do your standards apply equally if the hater directs his threats to Jews or Israelis? After all as of the start March 2014 Israeli soldiers kidnapped a Palestinian youth every two hours. A year ago Middle East Monitor reported that Israelis had killed a Palestinian youth on average "every 3 days for the past 13 years". What if a Palestinian had created a venomous Facebook page openly calling for killing of Israeli soldiers every hour? Would Facebook allow it to stand?
The Missing Three Israeli Youths
In the first paragraph I say "probable" kidnapping, not because I give credence to the idea that the kids are hiding out or that this is all an Israeli plot, but because unfortunately there are other worse possibilities. The lack of kidnapper "demands" is disturbing. It could have been a robbery that went bad. Or it could have been "political". It might have been some people who were "inspired" by the ISIS victories in Iraq who think utter ruthlessness as the way to go. They are dead wrong, but Netanyahu is doing his best to convince Palestinians all other ways are fruitless.
Kidnapping or killing, as Talleyrand once said, "It is worse than a crime. It is stupidity." The disappearance of the three Israelis diverts attention from the brave mass hunger strike that is being waged by hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners. Instead of getting the masses in action they're all locked up because of checkpoints and curfews. Support in the media for the prisoners disappears as it focuses on the three missing Israelis.
What should our slogan in this matter be? Perhaps, "Free the Israeli Three and the 700 Palestinian Political Prisoners." It's not a proposed deal, but simple justice and a way forward.
And it Gets Worse
As I write this I went back to the Jewish Press and they have a "Breaking Story". It's not enough to go after the "terrorists". The Israeli public evidently wants to go after every Palestinian. The Jewish Press reports that 100,000 have signed a petition to "cut off the water and electricity supply provided by Israel to the Palestinian Authority" until "our boys" are returned. The "Press" conveniently gives the link so the reader can sign. Evidently anything short of appeals for gas chambers is fair game for the "Jewish Press".
Who knows what barbarity Netanyahu will cook up to respond to this "public pressure".