Last October The Marker section of Haaretz newspaper cited a study which found that during Operation Protective Edge one of six Israelis blocked or defriended a Facebook friend. 60% of the people did it because they disagreed with the content and 52% because they encountered offensive posts.
I am not ashamed to admit that I too was one of those six. Although I am too polite to defriend any one, and it has never been an option, I did block several people who shared or liked opinions, which I felt, were offensive or painful. In addition, I stopped following quite a few friends.
Since then my Facebook page has become a haven where I spend time only with like minded people who, at this moment, refuse to be enemies, demand social justice and peace now, stand together and do not submit to desperation, and are members of the social parliament.
Going back to the time before the new and unwelcome Intifada, each day I spent time promoting the women who waged peace. Together with female friends in numerous Feminist groups I stood for equality, was not ashamed of my body, and had no sense of humor when it came to sexist remarks and jokes.
Not unrelated to my Facebook world, in recent years even the information from different media sources and newspaper, which I subscribe to on Facebook, has been tailored to my taste and preferences. So, the articles and essays on my newsfeed from sources like Haaretz, The Guardian, New York Times, NPR, BBC, and PBS, are mostly written by my kind of writers.
Of course even in my insular Facebook world, it is impossible to ignore the outside world altogether. But most offensive posts, whether they are related to chauvinism or to political views, are introduced on my Facebook page with a sarcastic or a dismissive comment by one of my friends, and it makes me feel that I am not alone.
It is probably not surprising that most of my Facebook friends, and those who belong to the same political groups as me, did not vote, in the last election, for one of the right wing parties, and are very worried about the direction which our country is heading.
I am not sure what they do about it, but I use escapism as a coping technique. Back in the 1990s, when we lived in Dallas Texas, my favorite pastimes was to listen to talk radio. There were many programs throughout the day and quite a few hosts. Some I liked and other I found objectionable like Rush Limbaugh. In those days I almost believed that turning off the radio was enough to make the offensive world outside disappear.
Following the last election I feel that I am being pushed into doing that same thing. It is probably cowardly to live my life surrounded only by people who think like me. But in my defense I can argue that we all are given a limited time on this earth, and since I am protective of that resource I have no other choice but to stay inside and leave the real world outside my Facebook.