On Facebook, more than 100,000 people are lobbying volleys back in and forth in an online extension of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The battles center around a Facebook page called Fuck Israel, which boasts more than 36,000 fans and consists of a steady stream of simple anti-Israeli or pro-Palestine declarations.
Now Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, are lobbying Facebook to remove the page, claiming it violates the site's rules on hate speech. Amping up the pressure on the social network, an online petition demanding the same has received more than 80,000 electronic signatures.
The demands shouldn't be a hard sell for Facebook. The site quite explicitly forbids hate speech, which it defines as "content that attacks people based on their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability."
You'd think the name "Fuck Israel" would be an immediate red flag for Facebook's hate and harassment team, but apparently not. The group, whose admin claims to be Turkish, has been posting for nearly two years. While few of the official posts are overtly anti-Semitic, the comments are bustling with hate—from both sides. Indeed, if you steel yourself for a read through the comment section, you'll find both anti-Semitic rants and anti-Muslim slurs, as well as a smattering of 9/11 conspiracy theories and angry invectives against the United States.
"Israel is public toilet ........ Agahhahahahahahah," posted Facebook user Mian Rehan.
Joe Scala, representing the counter argument from the other side, wrote: "Die all you ignorant, smelly, classless camel fuckers! Long live Israel! Can't wait to see Iran blow itself up! Just another sand jockey with a home made dud."
Michael Mendelson, the Miami resident who started the petition, told the Jewish Journal he has yet to hear back from a Facebook representative, but he "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."
He's 270,000 signatures away from that goal. In the meantime, the relentless cycle of trolling and counter-trolling continues unabated.
Photo by Takver/Flickr