JIDF Featured in Canadian Jewish News

Anti-Israel Facebook groups infiltrated
Canadian Jewish News
By PAUL LUNGEN, Staff Reporter
Thursday, 25 September 2008

TORONTO — Opponents of the State of Israel have been staking a place for themselves in cyberspace for some time, using the Internet to vilify the Jewish state and glorify terrorism, but a Jewish organization has joined battle with them by employing a favourite tactic of the left – direct action.

A group calling itself the Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF) has taken control of an Arabic-language Facebook group which set a goal of finding one million people who hate Israel within 90 days. The JIDF deleted more than 55,000 group members.

Another Facebook group, “Eliminate Israel from Being,” saw more than 5,000 members deleted after JIDF “took it over.” Facebook later returned control of the site to its administrators.

JIDF, which claims 5,000 members worldwide, took the action after it said Facebook staff ignored requests to remove the groups, which had published content the JIDF said violated Facebook’s own terms of service.

“The JIDF was concerned with the proliferation of hatred and the promotion of Islamic terrorism within Facebook,” stated an e-mail reply to CJN questions. “Our early attempts to intervene involved the creation of groups that listed these hate groups. The JIDF pointed Facebook staff to these groups and asked them to take action. In some cases they did. In many, they did not, or the progress was taking many months, allowing the hate material to circulate.

“Eventually the JIDF responded and took matters into our own hands, since Facebook seemed disinclined to take the needed action,” stated the e-mail from a group representative who gave his name only as “David.”

JIDF claims that clients on Facebook, a social networking website, spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, demonizes Zionists, praises attacks on Israeli or Jewish civilians, promotes violence, hatred and Islamic jihadist propaganda, recruits people to Islamic terrorist organizations and supports white supremacy and Nazi groups.

Scanning the pages highlighted by the JIDF revealed in short order the offering of the Protocols of Zion, a notorious anti-Semitic forgery that alleged Jews controlled governments and media, on the Eliminate Israel Facebook page.

A posting by a member of the “Israel is not a country” page advocated another Holocaust: “wat do u think only arabs will come 2 bust ur ass? i guess u all r mistaken cuz time will come not only the arabs the whole muslim world will come 2 bust ur ass and each and every jew will be eradicated from the surface of the earth and that day will be the day off armageddon [sic].”

Another group publicized by JIDF, “Based on the facts.… there was no Holocaust,” cites neo-Nazi propaganda located on the website of Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel.

A Facebook spokesperson responded to queries from the CJN with an e-mail that stated, “Facebook carefully reviews the notices we receive regarding groups that may violate our Terms of Use (ToU). In this particular case, the ‘How Many People Hate Israel’ group [one of four The CJN asked Facebook to comment on] does not violate our ToU, because the group attacks Israel and Zionism, not Israelis or Jews. As stated in our ToU, we make a clear distinction between countries or ideas and people: groups that express views on a particular country or idea are permitted, while groups that explicitly threaten people are regarded as a violation of our ToU and are subsequently taken down. Our ToU also stipulate that we do not allow recognized terrorist organizations on the site.”

The JIDF was created in reaction to the Palestinian intifadah eight years ago, “as a collective of individual activists.” It has operated under the name JIDF since the massacre earlier this year at the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem. It operated an as independent, unaffiliated organization that relies on volunteers and individual donors, David stated.

It’s political views place it on the Zionist right. It has taken positions against the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza and it launched an e-mail campaign after the second intifadah began in 2000 against rewarding terrorism with territorial concessions.

After the yeshiva massacre in Jerusalem, Facebook groups “went up to honour the massacre,” David stated. That prompted the shift in JIDF tactics to direct action, away from an earlier “soft approach” of e-mail campaigns to convince Facebook and other sites to regulate their cyberspace content.

Facebook’s terms of use state, in part, that the site cannot be used to, “upload, post, transmit, share, store or otherwise make available any content that we deem to be harmful, threatening, unlawful, defamatory, infringing, abusive, inflammatory, harassing, vulgar, obscene, fraudulent, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable.”

Facebook’s spokesperson said, “We rely on more than 100 million vigilant users to help us ensure that groups comply with our ToU. Users can report any group that may be in violation of Facebook’s ToU by clicking on the link at the bottom of the group’s page. Facebook reviews these reports and takes actions as necessary.”

-A decent piece, though there are some important facts missing with regard to the promotion of terrorism and terrorist groups on Facebook. The one groups in which we have now actually deleted over 83,000 members (the article said 55,000) had over 118,000 members and was actively promoting Hezbollah. As the JIDF has pointed out, the "Eliminate Israel from Being Group" celebrated the bulldozer terrorist attack in Jerusalem. There are also still many groups promoting terrorism on Facebook. They have been reported thousands of times for many months now. Furthermore, the JIDF is not only concerned with Facebook, but any of the problems anywhere online.

Although Facebook claims to take actions against these groups, in most cases, they haven't.

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