Facebook, Israel, Gaza & Censorship

Update: Within 72 hours after Cochran’s appeal to Facebook, his Facebook writer’s page has been republished. View it here. A small, but delightful victory.

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Tony Robert Cochran (b. 1987) has had his professional Facebook writer’s page ‘unpublished’ after promoting a targeted advertising campaign in support of the protests by those in Gaza for freedom and dignity. He specifically outlined that he supported peaceful demonstrations at the Israeli-Gaza border, quoted Dr Martin Luther King Jr and expressed his solidarity. Notably, only Palestinians liked these posts, even though Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were a part of the campaign, and there is a (small) peace contingent within Israel; this means that the posts were suppressed within Israel’s borders, and that his page – which has accumulated nearly 24,000 followers – has been targeted because the of the content of its message. Israel is afraid of nonviolent protests because it cannot respond to a civil rights movement centered around the issues of refugees’ rights to return. While rockets fired from Gaza are easily dismissed by Israel’s PR machine, the invoking the living history of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela is a far harder message to counteract. Israel must recognize the Palestinian right to return, Facebook must stop acting to quell (effective) dissent against Israel (notably Facebook allows all sorts of hideous antisemitic tropes, which seemingly do not ‘violate’ their ‘community standards’). Cochran’s personal page has been temporarily blocked because of his criticism of postings by someone with antisemitic views. This type of (very odd) behavior on the part of Facebook, which is a platform for writers, artists, activists, scholars and others, cannot be countenanced. Further video commentary here.

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