It happened again this week — our Stand for Israel
Facebook pages were flooded with virulently anti-Semitic comments. Our staff spent hours on Sunday clearing them of the hateful remarks. This isn’t the first time we’ve experienced this kind of attack, and we know that it won’t be the last. In the age of social media, words have greater power and reach than ever before.
Despite its many positive aspects, we all know social media can do harm to individuals and institutions and spread hateful messages. The violent, intimidating language of the anti-Israel crowd on our Facebook pages is just one example. Recently thousands of Israelis were affected by attacks from cyber-terrorists who posted their credit card information online. Another group of Israel-haters brought down the websites of El Al (Israel’s national airline) and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. On Facebook and other social media sites, pages that are viciously anti-Semitic and extoll the virtues of terrorism are sometimes allowed exist and even flourish.
It is easy to look at each of these negative incidents and be appalled at the hatred and to look at these incidents all together and wonder what is happening to our world. Why the sudden increase in hate? Why the surge in anti-Semitism?
The unfortunate reality is that this hatred isn’t new. It’s simply been given a new platform, one that offers anonymity and few, if any, consequences for those propagating the hatred. Facebook, Twitter, and blogs have given those who hate a powerful new megaphone. And in our noisy new world, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to tune out their angry rhetoric.
Actually, I believe it’s important that we don’t. Just as social media gives those who hate a louder voice than ever before, it also gives the rest of us a platform to respond. In the face of these cyber-attacks, good people must
stand firm against the hatred, challenging the lies with truth.
Today, if you haven’t already, I invite you to become part of the growing and dynamic community of Israel’s friends on our Stand for Israel
Facebook pages. You can be one of Israel’s “watchmen on the walls” online, learning about Israel, interacting with others who love the Jewish state and all it stands for, and always standing poised to counter hateful lies with the wonderful truths about the Holy Land.
A social media commentator once said, “Social media can be an enabler and an accelerator of existing core capabilities, values, attributes, and plans. It can even be a catalyst for change. But it can’t magically create what doesn’t exist.” These new means of communication sometimes reveal the worst that lurks in the hearts of humanity. Let us also make sure that they also reveal the best.
With prayers for shalom
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein