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.



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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.)


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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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