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July 27, 2018

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 27, 2018 PAGE 3A 5 By Ben Sales (JTA)--Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to give everyone in the world a voice. But what happens when some of those wishing avoice are Holocaust deniers? That question was posed to the Facebook founder in an interview Wednesday with Recode, a tech news site, about the social network giant's role in fighting false news and ensuring the safety of users. Zuckerberg's answer placed two values in tension: On the one hand, he said, Facebook prioritizes allowing people to express themselves--even if, he said, they "get things wrong." On the other hand, he doesn't want Facebook to serve as a platform for harm- ing people or groups. So while Facebook would not remove a post denying the Holocaust, Zuckerberg said, it would push that post down the News Feed to make sure it doesn't go viral. "I'm Jewish, and there's a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened," he told the interviewer, Kara Swisher. "I find that deeply offensive. But at the end of the day, I don't believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong I don't think that they're intentionally getting it wrong, but I think " At that point, Swisher jumped in: "In the case of the Holocaust deniers, they might be, but go ahead." "It's hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent," Zuckerberg said. "I just don't think that it is the right thing to say 'We're going to take someone off the platform if they get things wrong, even multiple times.' "Whatwewill do is we'll say, 'OK, you have your page, and if you're not trying to orga- nize harm against someone, or attacking someone, then you can put up that content on your page, even if people might disagree with it or find it offensive.' But that doesn't mean that we have a respon- sibility to make it widely distributed in News Feed." News Feed is the display of items that greet a Facebook user when they access the service. The items can range from a personal update from a close friend to awidely shared news story or video. There are some cases in which Zuckerberg said Face- book would remove content with false news. The New York Times reported on people in Sri Lanka and Myanmar who used the platform to spread false rumors against the Muslim minorities of those countries, leading to deaths in both places. So Zuckerberg said Facebook is more willing to remove false, inciting con- tent in those places. Several Jewish figures have criticized Zuckerberg's state- ments. Deborah Lipstadt, the Holocaust historian, said that though governments should not criminalize Holocaust denial, social media platforms also should not give it any space. "I do not believe that non- governmental entities, such as Facebook, should be post- ing denial claims," Lipstadt wrote in an email to JTA. "Freedom of the press means the press should be free of governmental control. It does not mean that the press or social media platforms have to provide space for deniers." Lipstadt also wrote that the notion that denial is an unin- tentional error is"ludicrous."v "Holocaust denial is no dif- ferent than Sandy Hook mass killing denial," she wrote, re- ferring to conspiracy theories falsely claiming that the 2012 school shooting was a hoax. "It's not a 'mistaken' notion of history. It is a deliberate distortion, made in the name of hatred. Simply put: Denial is a form of antisemitism and racism." Jonathan Greenblatt, na- tional director of the Anti- Defamation League, also said in a statement that Facebook should take a harder line on Holocaust denial. "Holocaust denial is a willful, deliberate and long- standing deception tactic by anti-Semites that is incon- trovertibly hateful, hurtful, and threatening to Jews," he said. "Facebook has a moral and ethical obligation not to allow its dissemination. ADL Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the F8 Facebook Developers conference in San Jose, Calif May 1, 2018. will continue to challenge Facebook on this position and call on them to regard Holo- caust denial as a violation of their community guidelines." Facebook has faced criti- cism from both sides: from us- ers and watchdogs who don't want it to act like a censor, and from those who think it needs to draw the line on odi- ous conspiracy theorists like Infowars, Holocaust deniers and the like. "What each side of this conversation has in com- mon, whether they ac- knowledge it or not, is a fear of Facebook's power: Its power to activate prejudice at scale, by giving Infowars a platform, or its power to cut off a key distribution channel for any given publi- cation," Max Read wrote in an essay on Zuckerberg's comments for New York magazine. By Ariel Kahana (Israel Hayom via JNS)-- Members of the U.S. Congress are demanding the State De- partment make public a key report that includes precise figures on the number of people who became refugees in the 1948 War of Indepen- dence. The existence of the State Department assessment, compiled and classified under the Obama administration, was first disclosed by the Washington Free Beacon six months ago. Lawmakers say the report could impact how the United States views the refugee issue when the actual number of refugees is made public and is significantly smaller than the number of Palestinian refugees according to the United Nations. Once the largest donor to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which provides as- sistance to Palestinian refu- gees and their descendants, in January the United States cut $65 million of a planned $125 million in aid funds to agency. The agency, which asserts that there are 5.1 million Pal- estinian refugees worldwide, focuses on providing health care, education and social services to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. All other refugees fall under the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Repub- lican, told the Free Beacon that access to the report was necessary for Congress to pro- vide oversight for American taxpayers. "UNRWAlashes out against America and engages in anti- Semitic incitement. Hamas terrorists use UNRWA facili- ties to target Israeli civilians," Cruz was reported as saying. "The American people deserve to see this reported State Department assessment, so Congress and the administra- tion can have a transparent and productive debate about America's role in the organi- zation." Sources who have seen the report say that the State Department's assessment was that only 20,000 of the 700,000 Arab refugees who fled Palestine during the War of Independence are still alive and displaced from their homes. While researching ma- terial for her 1984 book From Time Immemorial, American journalist Joan Peters learned that the United Nations made the conscious decision to differentiate Pal- estinian refugees from all other refugees. Refugees are generally defined as people who fled a permanent home, while in the Palestinians' case, someone who lived in Palestine for as little as two years prior to Israel's estab- lishment in 1948 could be considered a refugee. In addition, unlike all other refugees, Palestinians refu- gees pass their status on to their descendants. As a result, Palestinian refugees are said to number in the millions. Israel has begun to raise the issue in the international arena, and Israeli Prime Min- ister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that U.N. funds should be transferred to Palestinians through the U.N. refugee agency and that UNRWA should be abolished. Doing so, however, would require the U.N. General Assembly to pass a resolution in favor of the move, which is unlikely given the international forum's anti-Israel bias. By Josh Hasten (JNS)--In a rather rare judgment, a Jerusalem Dis- trict Court just issued a lien on two large ships that are part of a Gaza-bound flotilla set to arrive in Israeli waters later this month, with the intent that the sea vessels can be sold, with proceeds going to families of Israeli victims of Hamas-sponsored terror attacks. The strategy to seek a lien on the ships in order to benefit the victims was introduced to the court by the Shurat (JNS)--A law banning groups grounded in the criti- cism of Israel Defense Forces' soldiers and the operations of the IDF passed on Tuesday in the Knesset. Education Minister Naf- tall Bennett and Shuli Mualem-Refaeli, the Jewish Home Party co-authors of the bill, said the law would also apply to institutions HaDin-Israel Law Center' NGO on behalf of two Israeli families (Weinstein and Gav- ish) who for years have been involved in various lawsuits against Hamas for the murder of relatives. On Dec. 1, 2001,14-year-old Adam Weinstein from Givon Hahadasha was killed along with 10 other young people in a Hamas suicide-bombing on Jerusalem's Ben-Yehuda pe- destrian mall. Three members of the Gavish family were shot dead on March 28, 2002, when a Hamas terrorist armed with a rifle infiltrated their home that attempt to delegitimize Israel abroad. The bill passed its second and third reading by a vote of 43-24. It was specifically aimed at Breaking the Silence, an organization that questions the actions and morality of the IDF, particularly in Judea and Samaria. The organization has come under criticism not in the Samaria community of Elon Moreh. According to Shurat HaDin founder attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the success- ful approach, which persuaded the court to issue the lien last week, was to convince Judge Moshe Drori that while organizers of the flotilla are claiming that the ships are to be turned over Gazans for their benefit, "there is no question that Hamas would take the ships away from the residents to be used for terror- ist operations [against Israeli." Valued at around 100,000 just for attacking the actions of Israeli soldiers, but the Jewish state itself around the world, and for publiciz- ing stories of the abuse of Palestinians that were later proven to be false. "Anyone who wanders around the world attacking IDF soldiers will not enter a school," Bennett affirmed in a statement. euros (nearly $120,000), Darshan-Leitner tells JNS that the boats--named Free- dom and Return, set to leave for Gaza from a port in Sic- ily--are so large (some 80 feet and 65 feet, respectively) that their only purpose will be to enhance Hamas's naval terror units. According to Darshan- Leitner, the organizers of the new flotilla are comprised of various Muslim extremist groups affiliated with Hamas, as well as the Turkish IHH ter- ror organization--the same group behind the 2010 flotilla that saw Israel Defense Forces' soldiers raid one of the ships, the Mavi Marmara, and after being brutally attacked were forced to open fire, killing nine of the terrorists on board. Darshan-Leitner says the leaders of this latest flotilla have announced that "they are not bringing any humanitar- ian aid on board, but that they are turning over the vessels themselves, to be used by children's youth groups in Gaza. But we know with 100 percent certainty that Hamas will not give the boats to the residents of Gaza." She explains that once the flotilla reaches Israeli waters, the Israeli Navy will spring into action and tow the boats into the Ashdod port, while the organizers will be deported from Israel. Thanks to the court's lien, the two vessels will then be sold in the free market, with the proceeds earmarked for the Weinstein and Gavish families. 'Hamas interested in bolstering its naval com- mando units' One of the experts who testified in court on behalf of Shurat HaDin was Arieh Spitzen, the former head of PalestinianAffairs for COGAT: The Coordination of Govern- mentActivities in the Territo- ries. COGAT is responsible for overseeing Israel's civilian and humanitarian policy in Judea and Samaria, and Gaza. Spitzen told JNS that he was able to prove to the judge how Hamas in Gaza"cynically steals humanitarian aid and equipment earmarked for use by civilians for terror purposes." He said that "Hamas's modus operandi is to seize any equipment earmarked for the civilians if it can be used to enhance their military capabilities." Spitzen cited examples of such instances, including how Hamas intercepted concrete sent by Israel to Gaza in an ef- fort to help rebuild schools and hospitals following "Operation Protective Edge" in 2014, and diverted the building material towards their terror tunnels. Spitzen also explained to the judge that "all these years, but especially in the last few years, Hamas has been interested in bolstering its navy and its naval commando units. This is extremely im- portant for them." He added that "since Israel has found solutions for the underground [terror] tunnels, and is using the Iron Dome system to intercept mis- siles, and has halted suicide- bombers arriving from Gaza, military operations to be launched from the sea have become their focus." Brig. Gen. Noam Feig (ret.), who served as the Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of the Israeli Navy, also testified against Hamas as part of last week's proceedings. Spitzen said Feigwas able to explain to the court in detail how Hamas could weaponize the two ships for use against Israel should they fall into their hands. Lien on page 15A