Wednesday, October 14, 2015

  • Wednesday, October 14, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
Most content generators want to find the magic formula that would make a tweet or post or video explode in popularity - to go viral.

There is no shortage of advice on the web on how to make something go viral, but let's face it - there is no recipe. Sometimes, the stars align and something goes viral, but behind every successful meme are thousands that went nowhere.

Just like there are many people who try to find ways to make their content go viral, so there are many people who have been trying to incite Palestinian Arabs to a third intifada.

Just as there are entire companies nowadays dedicated to finding and pushing viral content, there are organizations and prominent people who have been working hard to start a new terror spree. They try to anger the Arab street with lies and deception.

We've seen it for years.

I have documented literally hundreds of examples of Arab incitement against Jews. There i always a different reason to be angry, but the desired result is the same: violence.

This is one reason why blaming the "settlements" or Israel's Temple Mount policy or any other alleged grievance is spectacularly wrong. If any or all of the supposed grievances are addressed, more would replace them. One only has to go back to before 1967 or before 1948 or before even the first Zionist Congress and see that there was still violence and there was still incitement.

The ultimate "cause"is that Jews aren't Arabs and non-Muslims aren't Muslims. The violence of today is just a variant of the oldest violence there is: you are different than me so therefore you must be eliminated.

But the proximate cause is the never-ending tsunami of incitement in Arab newspapers, Arab classrooms, mosques and social media.

Any event, no matter how innocuous, can and is twisted to incite Arabs against Jews. Two Arabs who were tragically hit by a truck when trying to repair their car were transformed into "martyrs" who were "crushed to death by Jewish extremist settlers" in Arab media.

The incitement is constant.

Sometimes, it is successful. The Arabs believe one rumor more than others, or become more enraged than usual over some report, and it spills over into violence. This is the equivalent of "going viral." One pseudo-reason for violence somehow gains prominence and a critical mass of mentally unbalanced people are successfully goaded into action by the people who are always, always trying to start a new war against the Jews.

Traditionally, the result would be large numbers of Arabs joining riots. Here is an example from 1920 where an annual holiday combined with the supposedly important demands of Arab leaders were used to spark anti-Jewish riots.

"Do want we want or we will kill you" has been the slogan of Arab leaders towards the Jews for 150 years.

To be sure, the bigger uprisings are not spontaneous In the case of the second intifada, Arafat engineered the entire thing, just as the Mufti of Jerusalem was behind the deadly 1921, 1929 and 1936 riots..

This time, there is a difference. The mobs and the inciters are still there - but they are in cyberspace.

A 2011 Facebook page calling for a new intifada (which has recently been resurrected) had 44,000 likes. And that it hardly unusual. There are many such Facebook groups, and social media providers are woefully bad at stamping out explicit incitement, especially in Arabic.

The antisemitic rhetoric in social media is even more unhinged and much more violent than it is in more traditional media or in mosques. For example, earlier this year, many Facebook users changed their profile names to "death to Jews." Antisemitism was no longer one of their many attributes, it is their defining attribute.This is relatively new.

There is a reason so many of the current stabbers are young.

Previous generations included a degree of pragmatism that their parents or teachers or preachers might still have. Arab newspapers usually try to pretend to have some standards of truth and morality. Arab adults, as much as they hate Israel, don't want to make their own lives miserable. They preach hate, but with a wink, saying that the real destruction of Israel will wait for Arab unity or the next excuse. Even Hamas has been actively discouraging attacks from Gaza. Even Ishaq Badran's proud father claims that he told his son to stay away from trouble. There was a calming factor built in with the hate.

But Facebook groups have no compunctions. Their writers have no filters. They don't care about consequences. They want the consequences. And very possibly, some of those groups are run by terror groups like Islamic Jihad, who are particularly adept at using new media.

On Facebook and YouTube, there is no need for forbearance or subtlety.  The more extreme your position, the more popular you are. So the most egregious anti-Israel and antisemitic lies are rewarded with more "Likes" and more people making up more ridiculous slander. The feedback loop creates more and more hate.

This is a cyber-intifada, where the bulk of the incitement was hidden beneath the surface even among those who watch for it. In the dark corners of Facebook and message boards, the hate is endemic.

This month, that hate went viral. Youth have been brainwashed.

I am afraid that we are only in the beginning of this war. The electronic inciters ensure that successful attacks must be emulated and failed attacks must be avenged. Traditional disincentives to terror simply don't exist in cyberspace. Arab adults don't want this violence but they cannot openly oppose it because no one wants to be branded a "collaborator." Arabs who publicly oppose the violence are almost completely nonexistent. (One exception I found, an Arab Canadian singer, besides proud Arab Israelis.)

Israel has to think very creatively to find a way to find new disincentives for those who have been brainwashed more thoroughly than ever before. Right now, anything done against the terrorists inspired by cyberhate will be used as fuel for the next round. And already more organized terror groups are feeling empowered to use this spark to their advantage.

Unfortunately, this is not a passing phase.

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