Facebook has removed a page calling for a third Palestinian uprising against Israel, but a new one quickly took its place.
Nearly 350,000 people had registered for the “Third Palestinian Intifada” page, established on Facebook earlier this month. The page, which called for a third Palestinian uprising to begin May 15, included quotes and film clips calling for killing Jews and Israelis, and for “liberating” Jerusalem and Palestine using violence. It also directed users to related content on Twitter, YouTube, and elsewhere on the Internet.
Links to the page now redirect the user to the Facebook homepage. The page reportedly was taken down by Facebook on Tuesday morning.
A new page with the same name attracted 4,000 friends by midday Tuesday.
The Anti-Defamation League welcomed Facebook’s decision to remove the old page.
“We applaud Facebook’s willingness to continue to engage and consider this important question and we deeply appreciate their responsiveness,” ADL national director Abraham Foxman said in a statement issued Tuesday. “We hope that they will continue to vigilantly monitor their pages for other groups that call for violence or terrorism against Jews and Israel.”
Facebook did not release a statement on the removal. But in a statement released to several media outlets earlier in the week, Facebook commented on the Third Palestinian Intifada page controversy.
“While some kinds of comments and content may be upsetting for someone — criticism of a certain culture, country, religion, lifestyle, or political ideology, for example — that alone is not a reason to remove the discussion,” the statement said. “We strongly believe that Facebook users have the ability to express their opinions, and we don’t typically take down content, groups or pages that speak out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas.”
Individual posts and comments on the page considered problematic were to be investigated by Facebook and removed, according to reports.
Before its removal, Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s minister of diplomacy and Diaspora affairs, sent a letter March 23 to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg asking that it be removed.
“As Facebook’s CEO and founder, you are obviously aware of the site’s great potential to rally the masses around good causes, and we are all thankful for that,” Edelstein wrote. “However, such potential comes hand in hand with the ability to cause great harm, such as in the case of the wild incitement displayed on the above-mentioned page.”
“Our struggle as Jews and as a Community Relations Committee of MetroWest takes many forms,” said David Lentz, chair of the CRC of United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ. “We recently campaigned against the effort to hijack Facebook by calling for a Third Intifada to whip up hatred of Israel and violence against Jews.
“Thankfully, Facebook recognized that it cannot allow its network to be used to incite violence and foster viciously anti-Semitic hate speech,” he said. “We all know too well the consequences of ignoring verbal violence against us.”