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October 8, 2015 4:59 pm

The Social Media Intifada: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube Used Extensively for Promoting Violence Against Israelis

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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From the Facebook page, "Palestine Belongs to Palestinians!"

An image from the Facebook page, “Palestine Belongs to Palestinians!”

“All the rioters and rock-throwers we are seeing have smartphones, computers, websites and Facebook and Twitter accounts,” Palestinian affairs expert Khaled Abu Toameh told The Algemeiner on Thursday, following multiple stabbing attacks against Israelis throughout the day across the country.

Abu Toameh was responding to the question of the role of social media in what the Palestinian street has been calling the “third intifada.”

Israeli officials and analysts deny that the recent spate of violence is an organized uprising, in the vein of the first intifada (from 1987-1991), characterized by rock-throwing and Molotov cocktails, and the second (from 2001-2005) suicide-bombing war.

But when “lone wolf” attacks occur several times daily, as they have been for weeks now, a new definition is sought for a terror wave that appears like a kind of “spontaneous combustion.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed the Palestinian Authority leadership for the surge in violence, attributing it to incitement.

“But incitement comes in different forms,” said Abu Toameh. “There is the kind that Abu Mazen [P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas] systematically engages in to rile up his population; and there is also the kind that is spread and fostered by peers and activists, who use social media as a tool to organize riots and encourage one another to become ‘martyrs’ for the cause.”

Abu Toameh pointed to examples of the postings on the Facebook pages of the young knife-wielding terrorists, whose actions have led to the deaths of five Israelis and the wounding of dozens of others in the last month – since the eve of Rosh Hashanah on September 8 – alone.

“Each one of the killers had said he or she was prepared and even happy to die for the cause of murdering Jews,” he said. “And they are buying into Abu Mazen’s lies about how the Temple Mount is being abused by Israel.”

According to Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli NGO devoted to monitoring incitement in the official P.A.-run press, in addition to sermons in Palestinian mosques and text books used to educate Palestinian children, social media has, indeed, been instrumental in fomenting the violence.

The official P.A. daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, concurs, as is indicated by the following item, published on Oct. 2 and provided by PMW:

Palestinian users of the social networks Facebook and Twitter posted pictures from the scene of the settlement Itamar operation (i.e., terror attack murder of Naama and Eitam Henkin in front of their four children) south of Nablus, the most significant being the picture of the killed woman settler and her husband, alongside expressions of joy over the operation which they described as ‘heroic.’ [Palestinian] citizens expressed their joy over this event.

This is but one example of how the Internet is used by the Palestinian youth to promote the slaughter of Israeli civilians.

YouTube, too, has served as a fertile environment for the promulgation of death and destruction. This week alone, two video clips encouraging the killing of “Zionists” were widely circulated. One is a Hamas rendition of an Israeli hit, sung by Mizrahi pop star Eyal Golan, with lyrics in Hebrew and subtitles in Arabic, warning the “Zionists” that they will be killed.

The source of the other clip is unknown, but it is a lesson in how to kill Jews in Jerusalem.

When alerted to the existence of these clips, the Israeli Foreign Ministry sent a letter to Google Israel – whose parent company, Google Inc., owns YouTube — to request that the “hateful” and “racist” content be removed.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told The Algemeiner on Thursday that the response from Google, and from policy-makers at Facebook, with whom he is in touch, has been “very good.”

Google, he said, “has already removed one of the films [created by an unknown source], and is in the process of investigating the other one,” produced by Hamas.

Nahshon added that he will be meeting with a senior Facebook manager, when he comes on business to Israel next week, to discuss the issue.

Still, Nahshon admits, “It is not certain that removing such clips from social media will have an effect” on the current security situation in Israel, or on the Palestinian populace.

“Remember, social media sites cannot do anything of this sort in advance,” he said. “They react to what is reported by other users and then flagged. So, for every film they remove, another one crops up.”

But, he insisted, “We have to continue being vigilant.”

According to Nahshon, the Foreign Ministry – which has a digital media department — is aided in this “vigilance” by organizations like Palestinian Media Watch and other hasbara (public diplomacy) agencies, “as well as by our embassies throughout the world – because not all of the material is in English.”

Watchdog bloggers also keeps regular tabs on antisemitic and anti-Israel activity on social media. In particular, pro-Israel blogger “Elder Of Ziyon” has been following the hate-filled posts of teachers employed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), funded mainly by Europe and the United States. Complaints to the relief organization and the U.N. often lead to the removal of particular posts. New ones continue to appear on a regular basis, however.

Asked why the Israeli government should allocate resources to what he described as an uphill battle, if the Sisyphean challenge may not bear fruit, Nahshon was adamant in his conclusion: “This is an ongoing struggle, which could take a very long time. But we are obligated to conduct it. Ultimately, it will have been worth the effort.

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  • Charles Martel

    Jewish lives cannot come cheaply! To the Secular Jews who think the Muslims will live with them in peace WAKE UP NOW!Islam will never allow a Jewish state in their midst.How many wars do you need to prove this point.This will be a never ending struggle.
    Clinton gave Arafat 98% of what he wanted and still he would not sign on to a Palestinian homeland.

    Egypt is a real state so giving them land brought peace.The Palestinians are NOT A REAL STATE. They believe you are on their land.YOU have no options but fight.

  • Matthew

    Until there is an effective discrediting of the ideology of the terrorists it will be impossible to get them to stop.

    There are two options: 1) Israel must commit to build a new settlement for every Israeli killed by a Palestinian terrorist, or 2) Demonstrate that what the terrorists are doing is contrary to authentic Islam.

  • Emanuel

    Very impressed by IDF and wishing them safety. Good job with the less lethal ammunition but please let’s fight the journalists like vice who are saying “IDF shot at point blank range” and omit the fact that the ammo is less lethal if it wasn’t rubber altogether. IDF may consider using water to disable the smartphones of these protesters which will aggravate their command and control ability if people cant communicate because their phone was soaked.

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    And there is the kind of incitement and fomentation that emanates from a member of the Knesset! Why is Haneen Zoabi allowed to call for a continued struggle on Israeli TV? It seems to me that such behaviour is an outrageous abuse of the right to freedom of speech because her words, like daggers, imperil the lives of Israeli citizens!

  • Tony Trenton

    Islam is a DEMONSTRABLE DEATH CULT. That tolerates nothing other than Islam.

    Islam is the epitome of APARTHEID !!!

    Israel is the ONLY Democratic State in the ME

    • Alex Beck

      Well said Tony, except that Islam doesn’t even tolerate itself, as is self evident across the border in Syria and Iraq and all the other places where Sunnis and Shiahs are fighting and slaughtering each other. Long Live Israel!

  • Israel is being buried-alive under an
    avalanche of media bias and false accusations.

    These web sites can help refute
    those biases and false accusations:






  • z

    The whole thing is a sad joke. The Israeli gov continues to provide services to the Jihadists (often for free) and continues to accommodate the propaganda agents that finance and promote this theater. In other words, the Israeli gov is part of this nonsense.

  • Hate is a bad inheritance that will be the death of those perpetrators. – There is no impunity here on earth, that goes unpunished. These intifada individuals will pay sooner or later their wrongdoings. – Taking a joyous attitude for the murder of two israeli parents in front of their children surely angers the heavens and will bring Divine Justice upon those perpetrators. >I have seen Divine justice served, and that is why I say it.

  • Jeff Blankfort

    Gideon Levy in Ha’aretz explains it very well but who is listening or reading the truth that he writes:

    “So this could continue because Israel can — and the people want it to. No one will try to stop it other than international public opinion, which Israel dismisses as Jew-hatred.

    “And we haven’t said a word about the occupation itself and the inability to end it. We’re tired. We haven’t said a word about the injustice of 1948, which should have ended then and not resumed with even more force in 1967 and continued with no end in sight. We haven’t spoken about international law, natural justice and human morality, which can’t accept any of this in any way.

    “When young people kill settlers, throw firebombs at soldiers or hurl rocks at Israelis, this is the background. You need a great deal of obtuseness, ignorance, nationalism and arrogance – or all the above – to ignore this.”

  • Mickey Oberman

    This is but one of the reasons that I have refused to join a social medium.
    That and the loss of my privacy. These media have records of millions of people. How do they or will they use those records?

    I admit I joined Facebook about 8 years ago. The very next day I was inundated with dozens of people wanting to be my friend. I immediately tried to cancel my membership. Something I have been unable to find out how to do to this day. Any contact with Facebook is now instantly consigned to Spam.

    Have you noticed how they control responses to articles on many sites?
    Unless you are one of the SM members your voice is silenced.
    They, in fact, control many of the airwaves.

  • The well-researched and -written reasoning that goes into these columns is vital to readers understanding what is happening, why, and what the results are. These are talented journalists.

    Thank you.