For a number of years I have been engaging in debates over the internet, and in the last few years, many of these debates have taken place on Facebook. I spend most of my time showing up fake images and misinformation but I also take note of the many discussions which take place.
Facebook is indeed a strange world! Logically it is understood that discussions are taking place on “just Facebook” but it is also true that opinions are forged by articles and information shared on this social network.
The Middle East has been a location for military battles for centuries and now by turning on computers and updating via smart phones, individuals from around the globe become fervently involved in an area most of these keyboard warriors have never even visited.
The war of words become particularly heated when history and politics surrounding Israel are discussed and people who have never met become fierce opponents. These adversaries fight bravely and tirelessly, that is until they put their phones on silent, or turn off the computers and retire into a cosy bed, far away from those they have battled.
The pro-Israel and anti-Israel groups have some similarities but many differences. The pro-Israel group contains people from various political and cultural groups, but apart from a small group of Looney Toons, the majority are pro-peace and long to see an end to wars between the Jews and Arabs/the Israelis and Palestinians. The anti-Israel side are rarely pro-peace and their main goal is in demonizing Israel and excusing Arab hatred and violence. They want to perpetuate the issues and not resolve them and the majority prescribe to the “River to the Sea” mantra and ignorantly conclude that Israel’s very existence is the problem.
The anti-Israel crowd are active in a variety of “discussion” groups and pages and it is possible to come to certain conclusions about their behaviour and tactics.
The three main groups are the AGP, the activists, groupies and plebs:
- The “activists” who are part of networks actively seeking to “enlighten” others. This group consists of people who have connections with political parties, news agencies, BDS and other organisations around the world.
- The “groupies” who think they are part of the “inner sanctum” and spend hours passing on the information from their gurus.
- The “plebs” who simply repeat slogans, over and over again.
It is becoming increasingly easy to predict what kind of engagement and response one will receive from these groups. The plebs are the ones who post ridiculous conspiracy theories and repeat words like “Isra-hell” and become personal and abusive when provided with facts and historical information. They will often become very angry or nasty and accuse opponents of being “hasbara agents,” using a “hasbara manual” and sometimes even being paid and working for Mossad.
The plebs are giggle worthy and should never be taken seriously. They are usually uneducated and illiterate and often have personal and psychiatric issues.
What is interesting is that when pushed, the activists and groupies morph into plebs. Once questions cause them duress, they cease pretending to be peaceful intellects and start hurling personal attacks and accusations.
The following two “activists” Moe Diab and Siraj Davis, are examples of this curious phenomenon.
Moe Diab is “a Palestinian-American human rights activist, writer, and Middle East analyst” who writes for alternative press sources such as: Ifyouonlynews.com and Addictinginfo.org.
In a Facebook group, Champions of Peace in the Middle East (one of the better groups where the Admins actually attempt dialogue and finding solutions), Mr Moe Diab likes to post his own articles and use the forum to demonize Israel.
On the 13th November 2014, Moe presented one of his articles in an attempt to show Israel in the worst possible light.
He then climbs high on his soapbox and claims that Israelis are taught intolerance from childhood, that the security barrier had nothing to do with security but about the discriminatory nature of Israel. He states that the fault of the conflict is squarely on Israel, as they “began the conflict by stealing land,” and the Palestinians have been victims who have an ongoing “Nakba” where Israel is killing and raping on a daily basis.
After his assertions were questioned Moe then provided memes containing truncated quotes from Ben Gurion, and could not provide the sources for these quotes. On these memes alone, he built his argument that the Jews had a master plan and then carried out this plan through stealing land. He was then asked about the land that the Jews purchased in the 1880s.
After much side-tracking he eventually states the following:
So on one hand Moe assets that “a small proportion” was legally purchased, but “all of Palestine is illegally occupied!” It is simply incredible that someone supposedly educated like Moe doesn’t understand how racist his accusations are. If an Arab purchased land at this time, in his eyes this would be reasonable, but if a Jew purchased land it was “illegal” “expropriated” and “land-theft.” The land was under control during this period by the Ottomans who allowed Jews, Arabs and others to purchase stretches of land. The Jews purchased land legally and built farms and cities and Arabs did the same. Many of the vendors during this time were Arab wealthy families who did not live locally, and villages who were very willing to sell land which they did not require. If the purchase of land by Arabs to Arabs is considered legal, then the purchase of land by Jews should be logically considered the same. The same standard should be afforded to the Jews.
Interestingly, after more historical information was provided and his logic was again questioned, Moe, rather than debate on legal and historical points changed tactics.
2. Personal attacks:
3. Accusations of “stalking and harassment.”
Moe starts with the personal attacks and then makes accusations of “stocking (sic) and harassment.” It is interesting that he posts his articles in groups, presumably for review and then gets angry if anyone “jumps in and responds.”
Moe then ceases any dialogue and begins spamming, posting numerous articles, one after the other.
Twelve Addicting Info posts within a few seconds and then the Pièce de résistance, Moe blocks his opponent.
Another “journalist,” Siraj Davis who is an occasional reporter for Press TV, carried on in a similar manner in the same group. On 9 December 2014, he likewise big-noted himself and then when questioned, proceeded with posting vile comments.
Here is Mr Davis plugging his appearance and praise of the Iranian Press TV:
Here is the same “professional” journalist after being questioned about Press TV. (Language warning. And these are the least offensive comments):
Finally, following post after post of abusive and bizarre comments, Siraj leaves the group.
It is obvious that the journalists, the authors, the “human rights” professionals, do not like to be questioned. They have their rehearsed answers, but scratch beneath the surface and as noted perfectly about Mr Davis:
It is unfortunate that facts and truth do not seem important to the activists, groupies or plebs. They seem to just be content to paint Jews as colonialists who have no rights to be in their ancestral land. They will ignore history and often rely on a handful of out of context quotes “after the fact.” If you provide historical proof that Jews purchased land legally, they will then shift the argument to conspiracies, ie the Jews from Europe are Khazars and not “real Jews!” It seems funny however, that the Neturei Karta and other extreme anti-Israel Jewish groups, who have the same genetic make up, suddenly are accepted as being true Jews and having an ancient connection due to their politics.
Not important to the activists, groupies or plebs are the legalities behind the Partition Plan, the many attempts at peace by the Jews and the many wars by the Arabs. What is crucial to them is collecting a dossier of slogans, canards, a collection of dead images, (which incidentally are mostly from Syria) and memes which provide explanations without proof and without sources. They rely on conspiracy sites, sensational reports and information from the Palestinian press, which generally consists of what someone “said” without evidence and investigation.
You can ask them why to them it is legitimate for Arabs and non-Arab muslims to buy land in the Holy Land, but not Jews. Why an Arab homeland was acceptable to Arabs but a Jewish homeland was not and is not, and all you will receive are vague answers. They insist it is all “Palestinian” land and repeat that “all of Palestine is illegally occupied,” that is, when Jews are involved. Clearly when individuals like Mr Diab refer to “occupiers,” he is not referring to the Druze, or the Armenians, or the Bosnians, or the Turks, or the Samaritans, or the Arabs. The anti-Israel crowd cries racism, but they are clearly the group who is discriminatory towards one group of people – the Jews!
What is also laughable is that many of the activists and groupies go under the human rights banner, but in reality don’t care about real human rights issues of the Palestinians. Of no concern to them is the bullying and harassment of Palestinians by Palestinians, both Hamas and the PA. Diminishing women’s rights, particularly honor killings are pushed under the carpet and they justify using children in wars and demonstrations, have nothing to say about child labor used for building tunnels, and are equally as silent about the deaths of scores of Palestinians in Syria. One can logically conclude that the AGP are not really concerned about human rights but are merely obsessed about perceived Israel “wrongs.”
If the AGP were really concerned about peace, the potential for open discussions would be endless, but alas, their only concern is to demonize Israel. Their arguments and assertions are historically and politically baseless but what is worse, what is unforgivable, is that many from the top of the pecking order, down to the hapless plebs, under the false banner of “Palestinian human rights” knowingly spread misinformation and blatant lies and are to blame for perpetuating enmity and hatred.