y son Natan is very proud of having been a very early user of Facebook. He saw Facebook’s potential way before most people caught on to the addictive social networking site. Four years ago, I caved in to Natan and let him set up my Facebook account.
At 21, Natan is too young to appreciate what it meant for me to find friends I hadn’t seen in over two decades. The early days of my Facebooking were heady indeed and life seemed fuller for having allowed social networking into my life. Every once in a while, I still find someone I cared about and had lost touch with, via Facebook, but those occasions are now rare, the heady early days long past.
Facebook has become part of the fabric of my life. I read my newsfeed two or three times a day, catching up with friends, the news, and the newest video clips to go viral. I play word games and Bejeweled Blitz to wake up in the morning, take a break from work, or to wind down at night.
Sometime after I became active on Facebook, my husband did, too. He wanted to see what the fuss was all about. That’s when we discovered that there seems to be a generational cut-off point for Facebook. Dov is eight years older than I and his buddies, it seems, just don’t appreciate or understand Facebook to the same extent as my own generation.
Feeling wiser than Dov in this one particular arena, I didn’t hesitate to express my annoyance at his insistence on posting links to articles echoing his right-wing Middle East political sentiments. Since we were Facebook friends, I was embarrassed by this inappropriate use of a social networking site. Dov and I didn’t agree on what was and was not an appropriate use of prime Facebook real estate. He stuck out his chin in that pugnacious way of his and I just rolled my eyes, continuing to cringe whenever he posted one of THOSE links.
Then there was the incident with the Mavi Marmara. It happened the day after my 49th birthday. Israel was forced to board this flotilla for flouting Israel’s Gaza blockade. The blockade was meant to prevent weapons from flowing into hostile territory and was a legal blockade according to international maritime law.
The Israelis who boarded the flotilla were armed with paintballs. The Mavi Marmara people lay in wait for the Israelis, beating them with iron bars and attacking them with knives. There was footage! But the mainstream media suppressed the truth and made the Israelis sound like brutal barbarians while painting the Mavi Marmara participants as saintly martyrs.
Having previously lambasted my husband for posting pro-Israel articles I was forced overnight to take up my fork and eat humble pie.
I was so distressed by the slanted media reports of the Mavi Marmara incident that I was unable to rest or sleep. I realized that as a patriotic Israeli, I had no choice but to exploit Facebook as a platform for combating the rampant universal delegitimization of Israel.
Dov was right to have been posting those political articles. I had been very, very wrong.
Since that time, a year and a half ago, I have become a member of an unofficial Facebook group. The members of this group spend their days at their computers, posting every pro-Israel link they can find and countering the lies said in the mainstream media about the Jewish State.
I know that a lot of people find us very annoying. They think we abuse social networking for our political cause, just like I thought my husband was misusing Facebook for this purpose.
I know that some of my friends, even those who share my politics, have stopped following my newsfeeds and some have unfriended me altogether over my insistent and constant politicization of the social networking site.
I care. It wounds me.
But I care about Israel more.
I felt vindicated when members of the Israeli Knesset encouraged Israelis to keep on posting pro-Israel articles on Facebook. It seems that we are an important asset in combating the PR war against Israel’s enemies. We tell the real story when the media is quiet. We report the daily missiles emanating from Gaza and targeting our civilian population when the media will not. We expose the false propaganda spread by the other side by citing the facts, when the media would rather print the falsehoods for the sake of higher ratings.
And that’s because we don’t live by ratings or even by how many people send us friend requests on Facebook. We live only by our consciences and our strong moral sensitivity for right and wrong.
Maybe you think I have an inflated sense of self—that I fancy myself a sort of true-life, contemporary superhero? Maybe you think that some things shouldn’t be discussed in public: religion and politics. I don’t, CANNOT worry about that anymore.
As far as I’m concerned, the truth must out lest my people and my country perish. More than that, I believe that the world has failed to identify the enemy in its midst. I fear for world order.
It’s a life and death situation. And like it or not, no one is safe. It’s coming to a theater near you.