Ran Etya

Face It Facebook Friend

Dear Facebook Friend,

We have been friends on Facebook for about three years, during which we barely spoke. But on the 11th day of operation Protective Edge you suddenly resumed contact and sent me the followings messages:

your Facebook page has turned into a constant Israeli propaganda machine now?

[Note: the paragraph below meant to be read like The Godfather and not a Jewish mother]

That’s it? No Hello? Three years I don’t hear from you and all I get is this? No ‘how are you’ or ‘things are getting intense in your part of the world, is everything okay?’.

But you are right. I did post more than usual. Here’s what I posted up to that point:

  1. Egyptian doctor shares his views about the conflict
  2. Hebrew article criticizing ‘Haaretz’ newspaper for presenting opinions as facts
  3. Hebrew photo and text criticizing the Israeli right by an Israeli left activists
  4. An article about false images Hamas uses in social media
  5. Terrorists and Virgins joke from The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.
  6. Another text and photo in Hebrew showing how left and right must work together instead of deepening the divide.
  7. Short clip about how Hamas uses people as human shields mostly based on materials from Arab media.
  8. Compilation of clips from Egyptian media about Hamas
  9. The Daily Show clip about Gaza
  10. One drawing allegedly made by  a kid from Gaza
  11. Another text in Hebrew from the head of Israeli Left Party Meretz warning against the use of hyperbolic rhetoric
  12. A short status saying more than 700 people died in Syria in less than 48 hours
  13. A translation of Hamas instructions to social media activists

Thirteen posts of which only nine were in English, and the vast majority of them are either Arab voices against Hamas or Hamas in its own words. Only one of them is Israeli made and even that was a compilation of Arab voices. “Israeli propaganda machine” – are you for real?

I guess that is the curse of being Israeli or Jewish. Anything we say is immediately labeled as propaganda. Unless it’s something anti-Israel, then it is automatically regarded as a brave voice of truth.

You’re just coming off as very one-sided

Well, last time I checked I was one side of the conflict, so I don’t know what to tell you there. It reminds me of another Facebook friend of mine who told me “the important thing is to stay neutral”. I told her neutrality was not a fair demand, neither from me nor from a Palestinian. The only thing you can and should be demanding us is to be reasonable.

You didn’t seem like a hateful person, you do now

I published 13 posts with zero profanity, incitement, hate-speech or call for violence. Most of the content I published aimed to highlight reasonable voices from within the Arab world and from Israel, yet to you it seemed hateful. There is one thing which is clear to me now – you don’t know what true hate is, probably because you have never experienced it. Lucky you.

I believe there is an interesting analogy to be made here, between our Facebook interaction and how the world responds to what happens in the Middle East. In the three years we have been friends on Facebook, what you got from me was mostly stuff about science, music and Chinese food. The second I started posting my views about Hamas and Gaza (in response to what other people shared about Israel), you reacted very harshly and called me a crass hateful person (speaking of disproportional reactions).

This makes me wonder whether or not you really saw me as a friend. Maybe I was just your token Israeli friend. Someone you had on your friends list just so you could tell yourself you are an open-minded person who always listens to both sides of the story. Just remember it took only 13 posts (four of them you couldn’t even read) to make you “sigh, shake your head and unfollow me”. That’s not what friends do, nor open-minded people for that matter.

I get it, Hamas is BAD

I’m glad you know Hamas is bad, but if you think I publish these links to make Hamas look bad, or even to somehow justify Israel’s actions in Gaza then you are dead-wrong. I share Arab voices that openly speak out against Hamas because to me they are a sign of hope, hope that one day we shall have peace so I wish to strengthen these voices. Let’s face it, as long as Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS and the rest of their buddies are around no Israeli will know peace. We could sign 10,000 agreements with the moderates and even go as far back as the 1947 lines, but I will have neither peace nor security.

I’m pro-Palestine but I don’t support Hamas

I got news for you. If all you do is “not support Hamas” then you support Hamas. If you pay your taxes, you support Hamas (Part of it goes to the UN and ends up in Hamas hands). If you watch or read Aljazeera then you inadvertently support Hamas (the station is owned by the ruling family of Qatar which is the main sponsor of Hamas). Israel actively fights Hamas yet it supports the organization both financially and logistically because it is practically embedded into the Palestinian administrative systems. You cannot support the Palestinians without supporting Hamas; Hamas is the filter through which your support must go. How do you think they got what they needed to dig tunnels throughout Gaza?

Please stop

If you don’t like what I publish, you can either ignore it or try to refute it. Stopping me is not an option as long as I express my views in a civilized manner. The fact that you, a young liberal European, asked me to stop is just one more nail in the coffin of free speech in Europe. It signifies the decline of liberal values all over the continent in the name of multiculturalism and political correctness.

I expected better of you

Well, I guess this statement goes both ways, because I expected better of you too. But I guess it’s my fault. You see, I made a mistake – For years I kept acting like everything was okay while rockets fell in my country. For years you didn’t hear a peep from me about violence and hate-speeches against my people and my country. That’s why you don’t know what true hate is and that’s why this sudden surge in posts surprised you. Don’t worry. I am done being silent.

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