LOS ANGELES — A Facebook petition to remove an anti-Israel page that uses an expletive in its name has 75,000 likes, the removal campaign's creator says.
Michael Mendelson of Miami told JTA by telephone that the removal petition against the "Fuck Israel" page has been on Facebook for less than a week; the number of likes is as of Monday. He said he started the counter campaign “with the help of various pro-Israel groups” in the Miami area.
Mendelson said he had been unable to reach Facebook managers, but estimated that his campaign would have to score 10 times as many “likes” as the other side for Facebook to act on the removal petition.
Deborah Lauter, civil rights director for the Anti-Defamation League, urged people to complain to Facebook, not just about the “Fuck Israel” page itself, but also to flag and call Facebook’s attention to individual offensive comments and posts on the page.
The “Fuck Israel” page, which has 36,000 “likes” as of Monday, features such sentiments as “God bless Adolf Hitler for what he did,” “Jews are children of apes and pigs … they are baby killers,” and “I hate Israel,” surmounted by a hand-draw flag with a Star of David. On the page, however, Israel defenders outnumber the haters and mostly reply in kind.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper and senior researcher Rick Eaton of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles have been monitoring anti-Semitic and anti-Israel websites, as well as YouTube and Twitter postings, for years.
Eaton said there are at least two dozen such sites on Facebook alone, most of them started by Muslim groups, featuring logos such as “Free Gaza” in the colors of the Palestinian flag or an Israeli flag with a red circle and diagonal line superimposed on the Star of David.
Facebook is also a popular site for hate tirades against Hindus, Mormons, Christians and Muslims, Cooper told JTA.
On the whole, Facebook has been responsive to requests for removal of obviously offensive material, according to Cooper, but in numerous instances such sites are reinstated if they clean up their act or reappear under different names.