The Third Intifada Is Alive and Well on Facebook

As reported on March 29 at the PJ Tatler by Pajamas Media editor Bryan Preston, Facebook has finally removed the “Third Palestinian Intifada” page -- after weeks of users flagging it amid reports that its contents violated Facebook’s terms of service by calling for violent action against Israel and openly promoting racism. The many reports and complaints fell on unsympathetic ears; it was not until pressure had mounted over a period of weeks, including a formal complaint by the Anti-Defamation League and criticism from the Israeli government, that Facebook finally took action. The page had accumulated more than 300,000 devotees, who had been advocating violence against Israel from the beginning. But according to Facebook’s revised position,

We don’t typically take down content that speaks out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas. However, we monitor pages that are reported to us and when they degrade to direct calls for violence or expressions of hate -- as occurred in this case -- we have and will continue to take them down.

The removal of the page has been hailed as a victory by pro-Israel groups and activists. But, for a number of reasons, it is a hollow victory.

First, the primary goal of the group was to promote an uprising against Israel, scheduled to begin on May 15, 2011. It accomplished this task, and may have even been aided by the media attention that was generated by outrage over the page and the attempt to pressure Facebook to remove it.

Next, the page was designed to create a network of anti-Israeli activists among Facebook’s half-billion users -- to organize them by directing them to certain websites and by collecting their names, along with email addresses and perhaps other information, enabling this network to survive even after the page was removed. Again, it had achieved this goal by the time Facebook got around to removing it.

But perhaps the most significant reason pro-Israeli activists should not consider the page’s removal a victory is the fact that it has accomplished one other goal: inspiring copycats.

Like the Hydra, new heads have already sprung into existence to replace the one that has been lopped off by Facebook. In fact, there are now several pages devoted to a new Intifada, in a variety of languages, and one of them boasts 3,292,265 fans at the time of this writing -- roughly 10 times the number of the original.

The group at http://www.facebook.com/Rassoul.Allaah is in Arabic, and is listed as a non-profit organization. It sports the same graphical emblem of the original “Third Palestinian Intifada” page, and has many hundreds (perhaps thousands) of posted photos. It provides a link to direct users to a rudimentary Joomla website, which appears to have been created in 2006, and purports to show a "Real Picture of Mohammed" through a series of commentaries. On the Facebook landing page the visitor is greeted by name, and presented with links to other Facebook groups that also support a new Intifada against Israel:

There are 7,102 people that like https://www.facebook.com/maseera2011, which states that “after the success of revolutions of Egypt and Tunisia” the Arab nations surrounding Israel should help the Palestinian “refugees” impose their “right of return” on May 15, 2011.