[Aggie covered this below---with the same title no less!---but I started this before taking the Bloodthirsty Puppy out for a romp. And I need to finish it.]
Well, not we so much as you:
Massive public pressure via ‘Tweets” and e-mails have convinced YouTube to reinstate the Palestinian Authority watchdog site Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which had been accused by YouTube of spreading incitement. The pressure convinced YouTube that PMW was actually exposing PA hatred.
YouTube banned PMW on Sunday, apparently after an anti-Israel movement bombarded Google with complaints. The tactic backfired because the closure prompted thousands of e-mails and Tweets that convinced YouTube it had mad a mistake, PMW director Dr. Itamar Marcus told Israel NationalNews.
“YouTube decided that because we expose Palestinian Authority incitement calling for genocide, that is hate speech, and they closed down the entire account,” he said. “There was tremendous pressure Sunday night, and people were tweeting every minute and calling Google offices.”
“Some people told Google that you cannot stop hate speech if you do not expose it. On the other hand, YouTube does not close down Hamas and Al-Qaeda videos” calling for the murder of Jews,” Dr. Marcus commented.
That last paragraph should give you pause. When Hamass and Al Qaeda make Jew-hating videos, YouTube doesn’t blink. When PMW (and MEMRI, too) expose the blood libel, they get shut down.
There are two ways to look at that, neither very reassuring. One is that YouTube and Google didn’t see the difference; the other is that they didn’t see anything, but were susceptible to cynical manipulation—more people complained about PMW’s exposure of hate speech than complained about the hate speech itself.
Some of us are more tolerant of hate speech than others—too much so—which brings me to the next case (Hat Tip to reader Carol):
As many of you may already have heard, a group calling itself Stop30Billion has purchased the following billboard and bus banner ads that demonize Israel. The bus ads will run on buses that serve downtown Seattle for at least the next four weeks starting on December 27. This is part of a growing campaign that has placed similar ads on buses and billboards in Houston, Albuquerque and San Francisco.
These ads, as you can see here, for the first time try to spread broadly into our community a message of hate against Israel.
In our culture of sound-bite news, what people will remember from this bus and billboard ad campaign will be the lead line, “Israeli War Crimes.”
This is a well-funded effort to have our community reject Israel, an effort to have our friends and neighbors, co-workers and children’s schoolmates see Israel as a pariah state, a country acting outside of acceptable norms.
The impression it leaves is false and wrong, destructive and divisive.
So far, the facts. But what is the appropriate response? The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle responds here (too kindly in my opinion).
At the Pacific Northwest office of the Anti-Defamation League, the ad campaign is seen quite a bit differently.
“We’re dismayed,” says Community Director Hilary Bernstein, who calls the bus-born advertisement grotesquely one-sided. “Citizens young and old will be seeing this sort of propaganda, this very one-sided distortion. It’s unfortunate.”
Come on, guys, get mad! It’s libel. It’s propagandistic hate speech. And it’s on government property. There’s a whole lot that’s wrong.
I know Aggie wants to weigh in on this story (we’re stepping on each other’s toes this morning), but my own thoughts are evolving. My first reaction was that as offensive as this campaign is, the right to freedom of speech and expression protects it. So you just fight fire with fire:
StandWithUs Northwest will be running an advertising campaign on buses and billboards to counter these anti-Israel ads. We have responded to these types of anti-Israel ad campaigns elsewhere by running our own advertising in support of Israel, emphasizing Israel’s desire for peace.
But I’m a good deal angrier now. That these ads run on public buses is an offense—and not just to Jews or supporters of Israel. It’s one thing for the government to allow offensive speech; quite another to be seen promoting it.
If it’s open season on the truth, I’d like to buy an ad featuring a hooded figure in a white robe denouncing President Obama as a Socialist. It may be more offensive than the Israel bashing (may be), but it’s a lot closer to the truth. What’ll that run me? I can probably afford one bus, maybe one on a route through a black neighborhood. Will they take a check drawn on the First Bank of Bloodthirstan?
Maybe the ads depicting Israel as a true seeker of peace are fine, but they don’t scratch my itch. As long as we’re dealing with buses, how about something that gets your attention?
TAKE THE PALESTINIAN EXPRESS—75¢, STRAIGHT TO HEAVEN
That’s more like it.