Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

Summary: Israel leveraged Facebook to identify pro-Palestinian individuals interested in entering the country.

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Israel used Facebook to compile a pro-Palestinian blacklist of hundreds of names. On Friday, the country's government then asked foreign airlines to keep those on the list off flights to Israel, prevented many activists from boarding Tel Aviv-bound flights in Europe, questioned dozens more upon arrival at its main airport, and denied entry to select individuals.

Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, said the list comprised of individuals identified as planning to create "provocations" upon arrival. "These people announced on their Internet sites that they planned to come here and cause disruptions, and told their friends. We were able to contact other foreign ministries and simply give them links." Barring entrance in such cases is "accepted practice in any country," he added.

Some 200 people were prevented from boarding their flights at European airports, according to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. "The companies did not allow them on the airplanes because we told them clearly they wouldn't be able to enter Israel," said Rosenfeld.

310 of the activists who managed to land in Tel Aviv were detained for questioning, Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad told the Associated Press. Of those, 69 were denied entry: four were immediately put on return flights and 65 were held until flights home could be arranged for them. The rest were permitted entry, she said.

Israel has not outlined its criteria for denying entry, but has said peaceful visitors will not be deported, though clearly the country was not willing to give many the benefit of the doubt. Organizers of the "Welcome to Palestine" campaign accused Israel of overreacting to what they said is a peaceful mission to draw attention to life under Israeli occupation. The group released a statement calling the moves to prevent activists from reaching Israel "provocative, blackmailing and illegal."

Authorities are determined to deny entry to those they consider hostile agitators, but critics in Israel have said the government's high-profile reaction has only drawn further media attention to the activists. Recent anti-Israel protests have been organized on Facebook and other sites, and Israel now closely follows would-be protesters online.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Government, Government US

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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25 comments
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  • Same issue as an employer screening candidates

    I see nothing wrong with this. It is Israel screening out people with PUBLIC information. Why should Israel ignore the fact that somebody is posting pictures of them standing next to known terrorists or posting threatening anti-Israel messages in their wall (or friends walls)?
    wackoae
    • RE: Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

      @wackoae Yes. This is nothing but common sense on the Israeli's part. No doubt they will be trashed for it though.
      Bill4
      • RE: Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

        @Bill4 As usual. Those damned hippies have nothing better to do anyway. Ive always seen FB as a CIA/NSA opt-in data gathering op.
        Tommy S.
    • RE: Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

      @wackoae This column doesn't mention known terrorists or threatening messages; that's your imagination creating a straw man.
      jgm@...
  • RE: Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

    Perhaps you'll understand if you replace the word Palestinian with black or woman. Or perhaps you view the thousands on Palestinians killed as only worth as much as a few Israelis.

    Why would anyone defend such a militaristic, nuclear bomb owning, extremely paranoid government with a feared secret police force. Oh right, apparently they're the white hats ;-(
    tonymcs@...
    • Not an issue of color or sides

      @tonymcs@... I don't agree with what Israel does to palestanians ... particularly when they attack civilians using terrorism as the excuse.

      But that does not mean that I should ignore common sense and trash Israel for doing everything the can to protect the public from crazy terrorist and suicide bombers.
      wackoae
      • RE: Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

        @wackoae

        So you'd support Palestinians trying to protect their public against bombers and tanks? A few randomly targeted rockets doesn't seem to match bulldozing homes and killing children, even though both are wrong.
        tonymcs@...
      • I think they CREATE the suicide bombers

        Look at the recent Arab spring, while all cameras were on Egypt and Libya, Israel was approving more settlements in Gaza and did more bombing raids.

        Without the suicide bombers as an excuse we're left with a country that committing a slow genocide on a neighboring state.

        I think Israel military really fosters the extremism to keep itself in business. If Israel ever had peace with its neighbours, how could it ever justify all the military aid it receives from the US? How could it ever excuse it's appalling action?

        Also note the reverse game going on, any criticism of Israel and you'll see the Israel turfers try to turn it into a anti-semitic rant, posting both anti-semitic comments and comments denouncing the antisemitism.

        An attempt to shut down real discussion about the Israel problem and turn it into a religious problem.
        guihombre
      • RE: Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

        @guihombre Indoctrination of children and poverty create suicide bombers. There is nothing they can do to stop this. The Palestinians are just a play thing for powerful Arab leaders around the middle east. They just use them, they don't give a rats ass about them. It started in 48 with the King of Jordan and ill likely go on for a couple decades. 60 years of Muslim propaganda means peace is impossible to accept for most.
        Tommy S.
    • RE: Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

      @tonymcs@... Israel have the right to protect itsefl. If you don't want to get burned, don't play with fire. Anyway, if you would see the level of indoctrination going on the Arab side... Especially the Lebanese Hezbollah backed ''community services''. Kids are brought up to hate jews, throw rocks and carry suicide vests. At that point I wouldn't mind if Israel starts to carpet bomb them.
      Tommy S.
    • Terrorist is not a race or gender!

      @tonymcs@...
      Many muslim countries do the same based on religion!
      kd5auq
    • RE: Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

      I forgot when people chose to be black or women. I thought people chose to protest.

      Guess they're born that way!
      Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

        What's your point, @goff256? Besides being an idiot.
        blind obedience
    • RE: Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

      @tonymcs Let us be real about the situation. At this point it is tit for tat the only difference is military material between Palestinian Freedom fighters, yes for the sake of fairness I'll use the term, and Israeli military actions. As far as your suggestion to replace the word Palestinian with black of woman I'd support the same action if a woman or a black person had posted on their Facebook their intention to cause a civil disruption beyond what constitutes a peaceful protest. They would pose an imminent threat to the safety and well being of the public at large because their civil disruption could easily get out of hand and turn into a riot. I would be willing to bet a years pay that the 69 people they turned away had not posted on their walls about their intentions to peacefully hold picket signs or sing protest songs. If you want to b e angry at anyone be angry at the minority Palestinians who believe that violence and civil unrest are the only effective means of being heard. It is that minority that has ruined it for the other Palestinians who just want their voice to be heard.
      Str0b0
  • Well that's hardly surprising

    Isreal will use any means to do this anyway but with Facebook it maybe easier since Mark Zuckerburg is Jew.
    root12
    • RE: Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

      @root12 www.openbook.org retard. If those fucktards ''like'' public groups, they are asking for it.
      Tommy S.
    • RE: Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

      @root12 You know, even a half wit like you could use the 'internet' and all it's facets to find things out.
      spin498
  • RE: Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

    every state has the right to decide who can come in and who can't.

    When the US refuse to give visa to my friend, it gave them no explanation why.

    Other state would give a kick in the ass of people that try to come to create provocation there.
    programAngel
    • RE: Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

      @programAngel Yes they do, but it brings up a good argument when the "State" or "country" in question doesn't really belong to who is running it, like the US and Israel.
      Bates_
      • RE: Israel uses Facebook to blacklist pro-Palestinian protesters

        @Bates_ really? I'd be interested in what that 'arguement' might be.
        spin498