Friday, October 2, 2009
Facebook removes the account of the Jewish Internet Defense Force
Once again, Facebook has shown it’s true colors. As of yesterday, the account of David Appletree and the Jewish Internet Defense Force was suspended. This is not the first time this has happened. David has been dealing with this problem for months now - the account would be pulled, then returned intact; pulled again a week later, then restored, etc. This time it’s supposedly over personal information issues. Facebook wants David to provide a government document proving he’s a real person and that David Appletree is his legal name.
What an absurd request, and what a blatant case of harassment. Shame on Facebook!
Shielding true personal information, especially a group like the JIDF, is essential to keeping people such as David safe from individuals who would like nothing more than to silence pro-Jewish voices for good. It’s a harsh, cruel world out there, and it's inhabited by bigots (and just plain nasty people) who want to eliminate Jews and others who dare to take a stand against the electronic jihad/neo-nazi factions spewing their anti-Semitic hatred all over the internet. In my case, one of the hate mongers who infests YouTube actually came to Seattle to try and find me and send me a “message” (probably using a club or a gun). Lucky for me and my family, the person was unsuccessful in his attempts.
The following is the letter I sent to Facebook asking them to reinstate David’s account. Also, please visit the JIDF website and show your support for David and his efforts in combatting anti-Semitism on the Web.
An Open letter To Facebook
Please reinstate the account of David Appletree of the Jewish Internet Defense Force. It is my understanding that Facebook deleted his account over personal information issues.
I must protest this deactivation in the strongest terms. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Blogger, and YouTube need sites like the JIDF to counter the rising tide of Anti-Semitism 2.0, a phenomenon that seems to be growing exponentially over the last few years. Islamist terror cells, white supremacist and neo-nazi groups, and Holocaust denial organizations all seem to have a presence on Facebook. Will it be the policy of your company to “card” those accounts as well? I also notice that you have several Chabad and other Jewish accounts on a list for requesting documentation.
Such behavior brings back memories for many Jews, in which one of the early tactics of the Hitler regime in Nazi Germany was that a Jew was required to “show his papers” to any soldier on demand or risk arrest.
As a longtime member of another site, YouTube, I can also attest to the power of anti-Semitic forces engaging in spam-flagging an account into suspension, even when that account has not violated any TOS policies. My own account, ravdov571, was suspended in 2008 after being attacked by neo-nazi and Islamist flaggers who were determined to silence me. Luckily, I was able to get it back intact. I hope this will be the case with Facebook concerning the account of TheJIDF.
I can say with all assurance that David is an forthright, upstanding, honest person who just wants to ensure the safety of himself and his family, in view of the death threats he has been receiving. He is currently, in my opinion, the most important and effective voice in the Jewish community in the war against hate and intolerance.
I would ask that Facebook immediately reinstate the account of David Appletree, and restore his document, friends lists, articles, and all things pertaining to it. Please do not let the forces of anti-Semitism influence Facebook policy. Doing so would create a slippery slope, in which the efforts of pro-Jewish and pro-Israel voices on the internet would end up being severely crippled, if not totally eliminated.