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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Facebook moves Judean and Samarian Jews to 'Palestine'

Facebook, the popular social networking site, has decided that Jews who live in Judea and Samaria now live in 'Palestine' - a country that does not exist - and not in Israel.
Facebook no longer allows members from Ma'aleh Adumim, Ariel, Betar Illit and other settlements over the Green Line to list their hometowns as situated in Israel, but instead provides only a preset location, with their country listed as "Palestine."

"Someone at Facebook is simply prejudging whatever may or may not come about in future negotiations," said Czarny. "Who exactly decided on this computerized transfer of over a quarter-million Jews from Israel to Palestine?"

Fellow Ma'aleh Adumim resident and Facebook user Seth Vogelman also found his country of residence changed from "Israel" to "Palestine."

"I don't think what they've decided to do is coming from a misunderstanding," Vogelman said. "It could be nefarious, but I think this is a reflection of the fact that what's going on in Israel is distorted in the American media.

"What does Facebook do? They proudly tout themselves as a forum of freedom of expression. But by this act, they negate their own raison d'etre of how people express themselves. If this were an issue involving homosexuals, I doubt they would curtail anything we're doing. But because it has to do with Jews returning to their homeland and expressing their Jewish identity, Facebook feels they can limit freely without any qualms."
Ma'aleh Adumim and Beitar Illit (is anyone in Beitar Illit really on Facebook) are each about 5-10 minutes outside the city limits of Jerusalem. Fortunately, Facebook doesn't ask in what neighborhood you live in Jerusalem and probably cannot tell by your ISP so I doubt they have put me in 'Palestine' yet. But that's not all Facebook has done. As you might imagine, it brings out the worst of the worst:
Various groups on the site call for the destruction of Israel, and last week, a group was created celebrating the "martyrdom" of the terrorist who perpetrated the shooting attack at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem. That group is still in existence on Facebook.
But the silver lining in the cloud is that there are some good people there too.
Another group, called "Facebook-stop discriminating Yesha!" has been established in protest of the site's apparent territorial decisions. The group's description cites the fact that "It's no longer possible to list any yishuv in Yesha as your hometown," and calls on Facebook to stop the alleged discrimination.

One group member, Neriel Maarek, posted a comment on the group's page, citing a response she received from Facebook after writing to them to complain. The response, which could not be verified by The Jerusalem Post, reads, "Thanks for expressing your concerns to us. We understand that Facebook's geographical classifications are not satisfactory to all of our users. We are currently working on new ways to address this issue, and we hope you will bear with us as we work towards a solution that will be acceptable to everyone involved."

Efrat resident David Curwin, a member of the "Yesha" group, told the Post that his community suddenly wasn't listed on Facebook at all. He e-mailed the Web site to complain and received a response similar to Maarek's: "Facebook's geographical data is currently drawn from the UN. We understand, however, that the UN's geographical classifications are not satisfactory to all of our users," etc.

"I don't think Facebook was aware of the political ramifications in limiting choices for hometowns," Curwin told the Post. "I think they wanted to list as many countries as possible for marketing purposes, and consulted the UN. I do believe that the UN has a political bias, but I don't think the average person thinks of the UN as biased. Here, we are more aware of that."

Facebook did not return e-mails from the Post by press time, and a working telephone number to contact the Web site is not available. But many feel that the continued policy of listing certain Israeli towns as located in "Palestine" and omitting other Israeli towns entirely does say something about Facebook's political leanings.
Facebook describes itself as "a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. So why did it become political all of a sudden? Here's my guess: They appointed a Jewish chief operating officer last week. There's nothing like a self-hating Jew.


At 2:48 PM, Blogger Abushabaab said...

its very obvious that isreal isn't going to survive in the next 100 years, if facebook is starting to realise, and this rate the future looks bright for the Mujaahideen! i suggest you save yourself and run to germany to avoid the mass slaughter.... who knows,your entire "seed" may perish! and before you complain about me threatening you,am only an advisor


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