Facebook – Be Ashamed!

As a regular visitor to Facebook, I have been happy to share snippets of the lives of family and friends, and for that I am generally grateful for the existence of this social media venue. But, then something happened!  Scrolling down, I found a post that disclosed the presence of a site called “Death to Israel”.  Until I clicked onto it, I did not believe it and then, in horror, I found that the post was authentic. Written in Arabic and English, the site urges the visitors and “friends” to wage war on Jews, on Israel — and KILL!

The pretext is found on a series of photographs of children injured or killed, presumably during the Gaza war this past summer — not sure, because they are not dated. Like CNN and other news organizations, but here focused on the propaganda message, no photographs are shown of the hundreds and thousands of men, women and children targeted or randomly slaughtered in Israel — at their kibbutzim, in shuls, in yeshivot, on buses, in restaurants, on the streets, and along the road.  Was a single photograph on this virulent, anti-Semitic site a depiction of a single child targeted specifically by an Israeli, or randomly used to further a terroristic agenda — or was every such photograph the sad and horrible result of retaliating at the sites from which rockets were rained upon Israel?  Were those children used as human shields?  Were they alive in places where rockets or terrorists were placed purposely so that if Israeli shells or fire were directed in self-defense, they would do maximum civilian casualties to gain international media attention?  Were those children among the thousands that were forced to remain in their homes after leaflets were dropped by Israeli planes warning that a retaliatory attack was imminent at a target identified as the source of a Hamas rocket launcher?

OK — so we cannot hope to stem the tide of propaganda created and distributed within the Moslem world!  I get that!  After all, the photos and the site itself furthers the worldwide call for jihad, the destruction of the State of Israel and the West. BUT, and I emphasize this word with the Hebrew word, effes, which nullifies all the excuses that come before it — how can Facebook allow this site to be part of its menu. Does it represent Facebook’s own agenda or philosophy?  I would think not — or so I thought!

There is a mechanism that allows any Facebook subscriber to report a site or a post that is offensive, inappropriate or illegal, which Facebook will then investigate.  If found to be against Facebook’s criteria, the site or the post is removed.  So – I reported this site and believed naively that, upon investigation, of course, it would be taken down!

Here is the response I received — ironically, on the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz!  I quote: “We reviewed the Page you reported and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.”

WOW — what are Facebook’s Community Standards?  First of all, what “community” are we talking about?  And, oh my G-d, what moral “standards” reflect the Facebook philosophy?  Is it merely “free speech”?  If so, we are in a sad state of affairs if anyone can say anything — even the killing and destruction of human beings and an entire nation, and that’s OK!   The fact that I would receive this insulting, insensitive and callous response from Facebook on a day that coincides with the remembrance of the genocide of 6,000,000 Jews, many of which died at Auschwitz in the gas chambers, crematoria, shot, tortured or starved to death — is a confluence that I cannot ignore!

Torah Judaism teaches that there are no coincidences.  EVERYTHING, if understood at its deepest level and how it connects and relates to all other things and events, is of Divine origin. Sometimes, those connections bring about incredible gifts and blessings that are clearly seen as “good”; others, may be warnings for Jews and the world at the deplorable, morally bankrupt and dangerous age in which we live — an age of increasing hatred and violence, an age of increasing anti-Semitism (at times, cloaked in the label of anti-Zionism), and the rising tide of Islamic terrorism that like a tsunami is engulfing nations at the point of the Sword.

Facebook — you should be ashamed — if you wish to stand for something “good”, something moral and a gift to universal connectiveness, re-examine your Community Standards! Stand for something that reflects a moral message, not yet another receptacle for genocidal hate.  Re-examine or admit to your amorality, or even worse, your immorality.  Show your true values by taking down the site: “Death to Israel” and become a watchdog for any internet traffic that promotes such hatred.  There can never be another Holocaust — and you, Facebook, should not be a piece of that abominable puzzle.

About the Author
Naphtali Perlberger is a Senior Lecturer for AISH HaTorah and gives Parsha HaShavua shiurim at Young Israel of the Main Line. He is one of the founders and a past president of the Philadelphia Community Kollel. He is Founder & President of Philadelphia Chapter of Children of the Holocaust, and past FJA Chairman of Men's Organizations; talk show host for a radio show, "G-d is Listening" and former radio news broadcaster. Currently President of Kosloff Torah Academy High School for Girls.