“Death to Jews” Facebook Campaign
Interestingly, this campaign comes from within Israel: To know them is to love them, it seems.
THIS WEEK, social media was filled with outrage aimed at Facebook, after a new hateful campaign was launched. (ILLUSTRATION: A Facebook profile with “Death to Jews” added to the username.)
This week, thousands of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians added “Death to Jews” (מוות ליהודים) to their Facebook usernames. Israeli website 0404 sampled around 300 of them to show the incitement does, in fact, come from areas within Israel, from Jerusalem to Arab villages in northern Israel. In response, some Israeli Jews added “Death to Arabs” to their profile names, to the dismay of many, including 0404, which urged them to change their response to a less inciting one, such as “Am Israel Chai” (Long live the people of Israel.)
In recent days, more and more news websites reported on this new campaign, calling for death to Jews, and an uproar began in pro-Israeli and Jewish online circles. In the meantime, Facebook remained silent. After refusing to take down anti-Semitic content from groups and pages, Facebook now refuses to take action against people who send a very explicit message that incites violence and hate crimes.
As opposed to anti-Semitic and offensive content online, which is perhaps harder to track and assess as offensive (we’ll give Facebook the benefit of the doubt, for now,) this message is very explicit. “Death to Jews” cannot be interpreted as a political opinion, a legitimate criticism or a use of freedom of speech. “Death to Jews” is hate speech, plain and simple, and folks and Facebook don’t need us to tell that to them. They know very darn well.
Facebook is all about promoting Freedom of Speech, but a line has to be drawn. How far can freedom of speech go? On what point does it turn into Hate Speech?
Nowadays, anti-bullying, anti-racism campaigns are everywhere, impossible to miss. For some reason, though, Facebook, let alone other social media, ignore incitement against Jews and anti-Semitic content. Can you imagine seeing a username with a message calling to kill you? Can you imagine seeing this on hundreds and even thousands of profiles? We simply can’t be quiet about this. History taught us that standing still and waiting for the storm to pass.[sic. — Ed.] Antisemitism is now on the rise, 80 years later, and the world is silent. Our modern society’s inability to stand against “Freedom of Speech” and know when to say “enough” can lead to disastrous outcomes. True, they are only a few thousands now, and “it’s only a Facebook campaign,” but this past summer, and the 1930’s have taught us that words lead to action.
We walk in a dangerous path, and we need to ask ourselves if we’re willing take the risk of staying on course…Standing still is agreeing with the current situation, which is why we must fight this. Unlike 80 years ago, fighting hatred is just as easy as it is to spread it. We all have keyboards, and the “report” button is one click away. We don’t need to fight hatred with hatred, for that never leads anywhere. We need to fight peacefully by letting Facebook know this cannot continue, and that the fine line between “Freedom of Speech” and “Hate Speech” has been crossed. This “Death to Jews” Facebook campaign must be a wake-up call for us. We’ve been waiting for “someone to do something” for too long, and now it is our turn.
We must show we are aware of the problem and that we are not willing to make it a part of our life. We must take a stand, and get our friends and family to take it with us. We must stand together and speak up. Together, united in our battle against anti-Semitism, we’ll wake up the world from a long-lasting coma and push hatred back in the shadows. We must stand our ground and fight for a better future for the next generation.
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Source: Jewish Journal