HANANIA: Facebook caves into political pressure on Israel-Palestine dispute, For Immediate Release, March 17, 2008

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Facebook caves in to pressure and threats
By Ray Hanania —
Boy. That didn’t take long for Facebook to cave in to extremist pro-Israel pressure. The ink wasn’t dry on yesterday’s column in which I applauded Facebook for doing the right thing. Doing the right thing is so rare in today’s world of lying, deception and political principle. And apparently, it’s even rarer at Facebook when it comes to the issue of Palestine and Israel.
Facebook had corrected an inaccurate policy which listed illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank as being in “Israel.” Instead, the settlements which are located in Palestine were listed as being in Palestine.

But today, one day after the issue was raised, Facebook, founded by Jewish American Internet entrepreneur Mark Zuckerman, who was honored only two weeks ago in Israel, reversed its decision, caving into pressure and contradicting facts.

Ma’ale Adumim is an illegal Jewish settlement founded in the West Bank, which was occupied in 1967. It’s status remains disputed, although it clearly is not in Israel.

Ariel is an illegal Jewish settlement also founded in the West Bank, and it’s status is also disputed although also clearly not in Israel.

Facebook changed the listing for them from “Israel” to “Palestine” where they currently reside. But under pressure from extremist supporters of Israel, and hypocritical so-called moderate supporters of Israel, Facebook had a change of heart.

Facts mean nothing when dealing with the Arab-Israeli issue and neither does principle. One day when Israelis and Palestinians sign a full fledged peace accord and create two-states, both settlements and maybe all the settlements will be in Israel; and in return, Palestinians will be given land in Israel to compensate for land lost in the West Bank. But until that date, we are all hostage to extremists, injustice, hypocrisy, double standards and lies.

Extremists in the Jewish community and Israel always want it their way; if you don’t do it their way, then you are “anti-Semitic” or worse.

It’s a typical tragedy, but it opens the door to Arab honor. Do Arabs and Muslims who claim to represent the vanguard of Palestinian dignity, just stand there and do nothing?

Or, do Arabs and Muslims do what principle demands: cancel all Facebook accounts and block the social networking Internet site from being accessed in any Arab and Muslim country.

There are so many other alternatives where Arabs and Muslims can go without being insulted, disparaged and slandered by fanatics who obviously dominate Facebook.

Rather than being a special networking site, Facebook is proving to be a hate site driven by political considerations and double-standards.

Maybe Facebook is also just another illegal Israeli settlement. Clearly, Facebook has decided to define itself as an Internet hypocrisy, a place where people can go to promote oppression, reject principle and justify the denial of the International Rule of Law.

I’ve decided to cancel my Facebook account. I am in the process of closing it now.

I am sure they don’t care whether I am there or not, otherwise they would not have changed the rules to satisfy extremist supporters of Israel.

What’s really outrageous is that Israelis and Jews who claim to be moderates agree with the decision. They insist that Ariel, a settlement founded on occupied Palestinian lands in the West Bank after 1967 and located outside of Israel, is in fact “in” Israel.

So what’s the point of negotiations? What’s the point of trying to be a moderate? What’s the point of insisting that both sides must adhere to principle if one side insists that principle is what they define it to be?

I enjoyed being on Facebook for many reasons. It had a better system of communicating than MySpace, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the hardline conservative owner of the FOX Cable News Channel.

But the reality is there are far more Facebook-like sites that will cater to my needs and that can provide services without compromising principle, ethics or a sense of justice.

So farewell Facebook. It was fun while it lasted.

But I have learned that if I want to live in today’s world, the only way to do it is through a system that respects my rights and doesn’t insult me with double standards and hypocrisy that challenge reality.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist, author and radio talk show host. He can be reached at www.RadioChicagoland.com.)


This post has already been read 66 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com