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JewishJournal.com

March 29, 2011

“Keep Facebook out of Political Conflicts,” Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Says

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/keep_facebook_out_of_political_conflicts_israeli_deputy_foreign_minister_sa/

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Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. Photo: Peter Halmagyi.

Now that Facebook has removed the page calling for a “Third Palestinian Intifada,” Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon will have one fewer subject to grill Mark Zuckerberg on.

Ayalon arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday for an extended visit to the Western United States. He is set to meet the Facebook CEO later this week.

“I don’t think that Facebook should be involved in political conflicts,” Ayalon told the Jewish Journal yesterday, before the controversial page was taken down.

Ayalon called the page an instance of “incitement,” echoing a term used by the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman and Israel’s Minister of Information and the Diaspora Yuli Edelstein. Foxman and Edelstein were only the most prominent voices in a chorus calling for the page to be removed.

The page was removed today, Haaretz reported, without comment from Facebook.

Since social media outlets are often the venue where political organizing begins, Ayalon took pains to distinguish between a page calling for a Palestinian Intifada against Israel and the calls for individuals to protest against corrupt or repressive regimes. In Egypt, the movement that eventually toppled the regime of Hosni Mubarak originated on Facebook.

“It’s not something which is genuine or spontaneous,” Ayalon said, speaking about the Third Palestinian Intifada Facebook page, “which it is when it comes to civil rights, or human rights, or denial of political rights, as you see in Syria, or Libya, or Egypt.

“It is something that is a national conflict—or even more than a national conflict—so this should be dealt with differently.”

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