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Three repressive Middle Eastern regimes recently felt threatened by the popular social-networking Website. In the West Bank, a blogger used Facebook as his prime platform to publish Koranic satires under the name “God Almighty”; he was arrested by the Palestinian Authority (naturally, a group has sprouted in solidarity). Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia briefly blocked the site, saying its content had “crossed the line.” And Iran’s government released a video arguing that Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s Jewish founder, is secretly working for Mossad.

Of course, as Liel Leibovitz argued in these digital pages, there is something inherently Jewish about Facebook and other Web 2.0 platforms. And something inherently threatening: <--more-->

Under the influence of Wahabism, the new zealots find in Web 2.0 a terrifying threat to an intolerant and hierarchical stream of Islam that spends as much energy crushing intrafaith competition as it does opposing foreign influence. Unlike China, which objects to social media platforms and search engines only when they are used to disseminate anti-government messages … they know that the most radical thing about [Google founder Sergey] Brin, Zuckerberg, and the technologies they created is that they encourage constant commentary, ongoing debate, endless involvement. It’s a way of thinking that is very bad for oppressive corporations, zealous theocracies, and anyone else wishing to exert complete control over information. But it is very good for the Jews.

Palestinian Blogger Angers West Bank Muslims [NYT]
Saudi Arabia Blocks Facebook [Ynet]
Video dispatch 2: Iran: Zuckerberg created Facebook on behalf of the Mossad[Mideast Dispatch Archive]
Related: Web Jew.0 [Tablet Magazine]





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