Petition to delete Israel-haters Facebook page draws immediate support


The long-standing Facebook war of words between pro- and anti-Israel partisans has heated up a few degrees with a petition to remove a particularly offensive “F… Israel” page.
 
Originator of the removal drive is Michael Mendelson, a Miami resident, who said in a phone interview that his petition has already been endorsed by 75,000 “likes” in less than a week.
 
By contrast, the “F… Israel” drive, which is of long standing, claims only 36,000 “likes.” It features such sentiments as “God bless Adolf Hitler for what he did,” “Jews are children of apes and pigs…they are baby killers,” or just a simple “I hate Israel,” surmounted by a hand-draw flag with a Star of David.
 
However, even on their own page, Israel haters are outnumbered by Jewish defenders, most of who reply in kind.
 
Mendelson said he started his counter campaign “with the help of various pro-Israel groups” in the Miami area.
 
On the opposite coast, Rabbi Abraham Cooper and senior researcher Rick Eaton of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles have been monitoring anti-Semitic and anti-Israel websites and YouTube and Twitter postings for years.
 
There are at least two dozen such sites on Facebook alone, most of them started by Muslim groups, Eaton said, featuring logos like “Free Gaza” in the colors of the Palestinian flag, or an Israeli flag with a red circle and diagonal line superimposed on the State of David.
 
Facebook is also a popular site for hate tirades against Hindus, Mormons, Christians and Muslims, according to Cooper, who phoned from the Berlin airport on his way to Israel.
 
On the whole, Facebook has been responsive to requests for removal of obviously offensive material, according to Cooper, but in numerous instances such sites are reinstated if they clean up their act or they reappear under different names.
 
The “F… Israel” site aside, most veteran hate purveyors are pretty careful to police their sites, Eaton said, because “they know there are a lot of Jews watching and posting alternate comments” and also flagging offensive material.
 
Mendelson said he had been unable to reach Facebook managers, but estimated that his campaign would have to score ten times as many “likes” as the other side for Facebook to act on the removal petition.
 
Deborah Lauter, Civil Rights director for the Anti-Defamation League, urged people to complain to Facebook, not just about the “F… Israel” page itself, but also to flag and call Facebook’s attention to individual offensive comments and posts on the page.
 
In a related development, Reuters reported from Paris that a French court on Thursday ordered Twitter, Inc. to help identify the authors of anti-Semitic posts or face fines of $1,300 per day, as the social network firm comes under renewed pressure to combat racist and extremist messages.

Indiana U. fires suspect in anti-Semitic attack


Indiana University reportedly has fired an employee who was identified as a suspect in one attack in a series on Jewish targets.

Mark Zacharias, the scholarship coordinator of IU’s Hutton Honors College Scholarship, was let go after working at the university for seven years, The Herald-Times in Bloomington reported Tuesday. He has been charged with felony institutional criminal mischief.

Zacharias had turned himself in on Dec. 17 and was released after posting a $500 bond.

He was suspended without pay on Dec. 9, The Associated Press reported.

Zacharias is accused of using a rock to break the staff directory glass display case for the Robert A. and Sandra B. Borns Jewish Studies Program on Nov. 30.
He has not been officially connected to the other recent incidents on the campus.

The other incidents include rocks thrown through the windows of two campus Jewish student centers and a rock thrown through the window of an apartment above the Chabad Jewish student center just off the university campus. In the latter incident, the rock nearly hit a student and put a hole in the opposite wall.

Also, eight religious volumes in Hebrew removed from shelves at a university library were urinated on in eight bathrooms in the library area, according to reports.

Garbage Mouth


When the controversy over Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” first erupted, Jewish leaders like Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League angered Christians by coming out forcefully against the movie.

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, took umbrage. “A lot of Catholics in this town are saying, ‘Is that how Jews are looking at us,'” he told The Jewish Week, “‘that you scratch a Catholic and out comes a latent anti-Semite?'”

Last week, Donohue provided the answer to his rhetorical question. And the answer is, in his case, yes.

In a Dec. 10 appearance on MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country,” Donohue railed against the possibility that Michael Moore’s documentary, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” would receive an Oscar nomination, while Mel Gibson’s “The Passion” would not.

“Who really cares what Hollywood thinks?” Donohue said. “All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It’s not a secret, OK? And I’m not afraid to say it. That’s why they hate this movie. It’s about Jesus Christ, and it’s about truth. It’s about the messiah.”

Donohue continued: “Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common.”

The host for this Jew-bashing fest was — surprise! — Pat Buchanan. Instead of calling Donohue out, he turned to panelist Rabbi Shmuely Boteach and asked why secular Jews hate America and love Michael Moore.

Read the transcript, and you’ll begin to wonder what looking glass you’ve fallen through. Boteach did a superb job in the role of Moses Nachmanides, the 13th-century scholar who was forced into public disputations over religion with Christian opponents.

“I’m amazed that we’ve made this a discussion about secular Jews,” Boteach said. “I have got to tell you that Bill Donohue, who I otherwise love and so respect, ought to be ashamed of himself, the way he’s spoken about secular Jews hating Christians. That is a bunch of crap, OK?”

Donohue’s accusations, goaded on by Buchanan, turned nastier:

Boteach: The fact is that Jewish people are incredibly charitable, good, decent family people.

Donohue: I didn’t question that.

Boteach: Hollywood has become a cesspit because it’s secular, period. Don’t do this — don’t tell us that it’s secular Jews.

Donohue: So the Catholics are running Hollywood, huh?

Boteach: Soon, you’re going to start telling us that the NBA is violent because it’s black people, all right, Bill? No, no, no. When people behave badly, just hold them individually accountable.

Donohue is clearly on the right flank of the Catholic world, but he is far from a fringe character. His organization, based in New York, claims a membership of 350,000 and has some significant mainstream names attached to it.

On the group’s Web site, Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles, offers this endorsement: “I encourage you to join the Catholic League, which defends not only the interests of Catholics but of all victims of anti-religious bigotry.”

Um, almost all.

So far, Donohue hasn’t apologized, and Mahony and others haven’t publicly chastised him, resigned their memberships or done anything to indicate that blaming “secular Jews” for all that is rotten in contemporary culture is perhaps out of bounds.

The comments buzzed through the entertainment community, evoking equal measures of outrage, disbelief and humor. Suffice it to say that in the wake of the scandals concerning priestly pederasty, Donohue didn’t get a pass for his “anal sex” remark.

It seems indecent to have to point out the obvious, but here’s a quick reality check for Donohue:

1. Jews don’t control Hollywood, corporations do. If you have a problem with smut on TV, tell Rupert Murdoch — not a Jew — to sink “Temptation Island.”

2. Hollywood is profit-friendly and risk-averse. Religion and politics are risky subjects. Knowing what they know now, 99.9 percent of studio execs would have green-lit “The Passion” faster than you could say “Scary Movie 7.”

3. The vast majority of Hollywood movies are positive, uplifting and moralistic, anyway. “Ray,” “The Incredibles,” the upcoming “Lemony Snicket” — great entertainment and great values.

I like the fact that Jews are represented across the political spectrum. But Jews who wave the banners of the left and right have to understand the dangers. On the left, there is a short hop from demonizing Israel to anti-Semitism. On the right, there is a finger snap from lumping together all “liberals” and “secularists” to attacking Jews. Just ask Bill Donohue.

Then ask him to apologize.

+