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Ed Webb

Palestinians, Israelis face off on Facebook - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East - 0 views

  • “Ever since the intifada broke out in Jerusalem, there has been an online virtual war between Palestinians and Israelis. Social networks are flooded with firsthand field news, while campaigns are launched on Twitter on a daily basis to put pressure on Israel and its supporters around the world.”
  • Raji al-Hams, a prominent presenter at Al-Aqsa TV, said his original Facebook page was closed down after it garnered 90,000 followers. He told Al-Monitor he received “a message Jan. 15 from the Facebook administration saying I had violated the website’s rules by posting [slogans] about the intifada along with pictures of armed Palestinians."
  • Israel has been urging dozens of Israeli Facebook users to submit reports to the Facebook administration claiming that Palestinian pages are inciting murder. These users mention the name of these pages in the reports and the Facebook administration shuts them down, as they contain posts inciting murder and violence, which violate Facebook’s conditions.
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  • On Nov. 24, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Google, YouTube and some other social networks agreed to fight incitement posted on their pages.
  • Israel uses a number of measures to counter the postings, most notably by creating around 5,000 fake Facebook accounts, Quds Press reported Oct. 29. Those who operate these accounts are fluent in English and Arabic, and their mission is to hack into and shut down Palestinian pages by submitting reports to the Facebook administration. Israel also has arrested of a number of Palestinians during the past three months on charges of inciting to kill Israelis in their Facebook posts.
  • the Authority for Palestinian Prisoners' Affairs reported the Israeli army has detained 27 Palestinians on charges of incitement since October, due to their activities on social networks
  • there are Israeli pages in Hebrew that call Palestinians terrorists, among other bad names, but they are not being closed down
Ed Webb

Why some Israelis are taking to social media to expose sexual harassment - Al-Monitor: ... - 0 views

  • It is safe to assume that if these affairs had been exposed before the era of social networks, Magal and Shalom would have pursued their political careers, at least as long as no complaint against them was filed with the police.
  • The tremendous power of social networks creates a hugely effective pressure group without the need for any form of legal process
  • The watershed in the fight against sexual harassment in Israel occurred in 1998, with passage of the law banning sexual harassment. The legislation, initiated by women, was considered at the time one of the most progressive in the world because of the precedent it set, recognizing the phenomenon of sexual harassment in the workplace and seeking to address it through the criminal code. The strength of the bill was in its definition of sexual harassment as a criminal act, but this was also its inherent weakness. Women were naturally and understandably reluctant to pay the price entailed in filing a police complaint and facing cross-examination on the witness stand in court. Absent a police complaint, the serial harassers, such as men in positions of power, could continue to operate uninterruptedly in the workplace.
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  • recall the notorious comment made in 2003 by Tel Aviv District Court Judge Zion Kapah, who said a 9-year-old victim of a sexual offender “displayed a promiscuous character,” had initiated some of the encounters and enjoyed part of them
  • Women are able to take action in the public sphere without having to go through the legal system. In fact, the social networks are game changers in the fight against sexual harassment, and the new rules of the game are far more effective than the criminal code.
Ed Webb

Israel shoots the messenger: An open letter to Ban Ki-Moon | Middle East Eye - 0 views

Ed Webb

Israel, Mired in Ideological Battles, Fights on Cultural Fronts - The New York Times - 0 views

  • Miri Regev, the divisive and conservative minister of culture and sport, who wants to deny state money to institutions that do not express “loyalty” to the state, including those that show disrespect for the flag, incite racism or violence, or subvert Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
  • For one well-known poet, Meir Wieseltier, the law “brings us closer to the rise of fascism and exposes its true face.” But Isi Leibler argued in The Jerusalem Post that the government is “not obliged to subsidize the demonization of the nation” and should instead support “the inculcation of love of Israel.”
  • such conflicts, over what cultural works the state should promote for schoolchildren to read or for citizens to see and hear, is part of a political drama in which the politicians of a new generation are jockeying for position as leader of the so-called nationalist camp
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  • The Israel they represent is more religious and less beholden to the values and inheritances of the old, Europeanized elite and its dwindling left
  • This month, the left-leaning daily Haaretz highlighted internal discussions in the ministry about what artistic works might be considered “politically undesirable” for high-school students. Among the criteria, the newspaper said, were whether artists would perform in West Bank settlements and declare loyalty to the state and to the national anthem, something that is particularly problematic for Israel’s Arab citizens.

    Internal discussions are not policy, but even this report drew stinging responses, with Oded Kotler, a prominent Israeli actor and director, comparing Israel to the Soviet Union and telling Israel Radio, “There’s a real culture war underway here, but the war from that side of the political map is a harbinger of zealotry, darkness and coercion.”

    Mr. Kotler infuriated the government and the political right last summer when he compared its supporters to “cud-chewing cattle.” That was in response to Ms. Regev’s effort to freeze state funding for an Arab theater in Haifa because of a play about a Palestinian prisoner who murders an Israeli soldier. The production, “Parallel Time,” had enraged the right and Mr. Bennett banned school trips to see it.

  • Mr. Bennett, for his part, overruled ministry experts to ban from high-school reading lists a novel about a romance between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man, apparently out of fear that it promotes assimilation. The romance takes place abroad; the pair splits up when they return home, to Israel and the West Bank. Mr. Bennett said the novel, “Borderlife,” by Dorit Rabinyan, disparaged the Israeli military, and the head of his ministerial committee said it “could incite hatred and cause emotional storms” in classrooms.

    The debate about the book actually increased its sales, something Ms. Rabinyan credited in an interview to “the strength of Israeli democracy.”

  • The novel begins with the Israeli woman, who is Sephardic, coming under suspicion of terrorism in New York over her “Arab” appearance and because she writes from right to left. “This is the bond that connects her to the Palestinian,” Ms. Rabinyan explained. “I don’t consider my Israeliness to be hegemonic.”
Ed Webb

This Intifada Will Be Digital - The Black Iris - 0 views

  • In these 15 years, we went from an era where mainstream media dominated the narrative, to an era where social media dominates it. This isn’t a time when the mainstream sees the online as a playful mechanism of democratized media (or an opportunity to present their brands as participatory), but a time when the mainstream is chasing down leads from what circulates online. And the region’s people now have the power to shape the narrative (whether we’ve fully realized it or not).
  • Internet user growth in the region has gone up by 6,091.9% between 2000 and 2015
  • Arabic is now the fourth biggest language on the Web after English, Chinese and Spanish
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  • as a Jordanian, I was part of what I personally believe to be the final generation that actually gave a damn what the government did or did not do. Our relationship with the state was like our relationship with a television – a one-way communication channel, where we are on the receiving end no matter how much we yell at the screen. And that was that
  • Like everyone else, I have no idea how this conflict will end. But I know that the Web will undeniably play a leading role – and that’s not something anyone could’ve imagined back in 1948. As yet another cycle of violence is upon us, that role is worth studying, and it’s that role that I find myself paying attention to the most.
Ed Webb

Bahrain's PR offensive enlists Israeli help. Pro-regime group plans to work 'closely' w... - 0 views

  • BFEA and MEMRI will be working together to improve perceptions of Bahrain
  • It is unclear whether BFEA is aware of MEMRI's Israeli connection. Albawaba describes MEMRI as an "independent, non-partisan research institute" – which it is not.
  • MEMRI was set up in 1998 by Yigal Carmon, a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence, and Meyrav Wurmser, an Israeli-born American, ostensibly to "bridge the language gap between the Middle East and the West". An early version of its website also said it aimed to emphasise "the continuing relevance of Zionism to the Jewish people and to the state of Israel" but this was later deleted (though preserved in an internet archive).
Ed Webb

Israel's army and schools work hand in hand, say teachers - 0 views

  • officers from a military intelligence unit called Telem design much of the Arabic language curriculum
  • “The military are part and parcel of the education system. The goal of Arabic teaching is to educate the children to be useful components in the military system, to train them to become intelligence officers.”
  • Mendel said Arabic was taught “without sentiment”, an aim established in the state’s earliest years.

    “The fear was that, if students had a good relationship with the language and saw Arabs as potential friends, they might cross over to the other side and they would be of no use to the Israeli security system. That was the reason the field of Arabic studies was made free of Arabs.”

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  • many fear that the situation will only get worse under the new education minister, Naftali Bennett, who heads Jewish Home, the settler movement’s far-right party
  • Nearly 300 schools have been encouraged to join an IDF-education ministry programme called “Path of Values”, whose official goal is to “strengthen the ties and cooperation between schools and the army”.
  • “Militarism is in every aspect of our society, so it is not surprising it is prominent in schools too,” said Amit Shilo, an activist with New Profile, an organisation opposed to the influence of the army on Israeli public life.

    “We are taught violence is the first and best solution to every problem, and that it is the way to solve our conflict with our neighbours.”

  • Each school is now graded annually by the education ministry not only on its academic excellence but also on the draft rate among pupils and the percentages qualifying for elite units, especially in combat or intelligence roles.
  • Zeev Dagani, head teacher of a leading Tel Aviv school who opted out of the programme at its launch in 2010, faced death threats and was called before a parliamentary committee to explain his actions.
  • Adam Verete, a Jewish philosophy teacher at a school in Tivon, near Haifa, was sacked last year after he hosted a class debate on whether the IDF could justifiably claim to be the world’s most moral army.
  • Revital, an Arabic language teacher, said the army’s lesson plans were popular with pupils. “I don’t approve of them, but the students like them. They celebrate and laugh when they kill the terrorists.”

    Revital said she had been disciplined for speaking her mind in class and was now much more cautious.

    “You end up hesitating before saying anything that isn’t what everyone else is saying. I find myself hesitating a lot more than I did 20 years ago. There is a lot more fascism and racism around in the wider society,” she said.

  • “You have to watch yourself because the pupils are getting more nationalistic, more religious all the time. The society, the media and the education system are all moving to the right.”

    A 2010 survey found that 56 per cent of Jewish pupils believed their fellow Palestinian citizens should be stripped of the vote, and 21 per cent thought it was legitimate to call out “Death to the Arabs”.

Ed Webb

Netanyahu campaign video: A victory for the Left means an ISIS invasion | +972 Magazine - 0 views

  • The video opens with bearded men traveling in a pickup truck, flying the black IS flag with its distinctive white calligraphy. The driver of the truck pulls up beside another car and honks for the other driver’s attention. The IS guy in the passenger seat leans out the window and asks him, in Hebrew with a comically exaggerated Arabic accent, “Hey bro, how do you get to Jerusalem?” The driver of the car shouts back (in Israeli Hebrew), “Take a left!”

    Then there’s the slogan, in red Hebrew letters emblazoned on a gray, bullet-marked background: “THE LEFT WILL SURRENDER TO TERROR.”

    One of the IS guys fires celebratory bullets skyward and the driver peels off, ostensibly in the direction of Jerusalem, as they all shout exultantly in Arabic, “Shukran, ya ward!” (“Thanks, bro!”). The camera pans briefly to the rear of the truck to focus on a popular Israeli bumper sticker that reads, “Anyone but Bibi.”

    The tagline: “It’s us, or them. Only the Likud. Only Netanyahu.”

    The snatch of Arabic rap lyrics is excerpted from a song by an Amman-based Palestinian group called Torabyeh: “I want to be buried in the same cemetery that my grandfather was buried in. And since my childhood I’ve been dreaming to be a soldier and as time passed I discovered who I want to belong to: Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah, Hamas or…Jabha …”

  • Netanyahu has for years been promoting his message about the threat to Israeli security posed by Islamic extremism, never missing an opportunity to list Hamas along with the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and even Fatah, mixing them all up so that the average Israeli Jew reflexively associates Arabs and Islam with terror. Like all accomplished populists, he understands the power of repeating a mendacious slogan, and he is an expert at exploiting popular fears and racism.
  • The popular Israeli narrative is so reactionary and confused these days, that if one were to walk the streets asking average citizens if there was a difference between Fatah and Al Qaeda, most people would be hard-pressed to answer coherently. Go ahead and try to explain to an Israeli audience that Hamas is a small offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, that it is basically a technocratic political party, that it is extremely unpopular in Gaza and that it has nothing to do with expansionist jihadism. Try telling people that if Israel would lift the siege on Gaza, disgruntled Palestinians in Gaza would probably kick Hamas out of power immediately. Just try. The best you can hope for is that you’d be told that you’re a traitor who should go live in Gaza.
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