|January 15, 2013 -- New York -- AJC is outraged at
Facebook’s treatment of the respected journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, whose
reports from the Middle East have been published in leading newspapers around
Toameh’s Facebook account was suspended after a campaign of
online vilification and even threats against him, and when public protests
convinced Facebook to reverse course and reinstate the account, his postings
about corruption in the Palestinian Authority were removed.
“How ironic,” commented David Harris, AJC executive director.
“The whole point of Facebook is to encourage the communication of ideas. Now
Facebook allows itself to be used by those who want to censor what is happening
in the Palestinian Authority.”
In the recent piece that apparently triggered the wave of
anger that led to Facebook’s action, titled “The Palestinian Authority’s
Inconvenient Truths,” Toameh reported that dozens of Gaza Christians who arrived
in the West Bank to celebrate Christmas asked to move to Israel since they no
longer wanted to live under Palestinian rule, and that many Christian families
from East Jerusalem have moved into Jewish neighborhoods for the same reason.
Furthermore, he noted that the PA arrests people simply for criticizing the
Palestinian leadership, and that tens of thousands of PA civil servants in Gaza
are paid to stay home and do nothing.
Toameh concludes the article by saying, “Western
journalists, funders and decision-makers who deal with the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict need to know that there are many truths being completely ignored or
hidden from their eyes and ears.” AJC urges Facebook to cease acting as an
accomplice in the suppression of Toameh’s right to express himself, to issue an
apology, and to restore all of his postings.