(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is in part to blame for the murders of Hallel Ariel and Michael Mark, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Saturday night in an interview on the Channel 2 program Meet the Press.
Erdan joined Education Minister Naftali Bennett in assigning blame to Facebook for the killings, noting that Ariel’s murderer announced his intentions on the website before committing the murder.
“I have no doubt that Facebook, today, which brought a positive revolution to the world, unfortunately since the rise of ISIS, has simply become a monster,” Erdan said. “The young generation in the Palestinian Authority suckles all of its incitement against Israel from Facebook and, in the end, goes and commits murders. Some of the blood of the victims of the recent attacks, including that of Hallel, may her memory be blessed is unfortunately on the hands of Mark Zuckerberg, because the police and security forces could have been told about the post of that vile murderer.”
Erdan accused Facebook of “sabotaging the work of the police,” because when the police turn to the company, if it is regarding a resident of Judea and Samaria, the company does not cooperate. He said the site also places a very high standard for what is considered incitement in posts.
“If other media outlets were to demonstrate how to murder Jews, they would have been closed immediately,” Erdan said. “This is the time for citizens of Israel to demand, in any way they can, that he [Zuckerberg] monitor the platform he created from which he has made billions and remove inciting content. The responsibility is his.”
Facebook responded to Erdan that the company works regularly with security organizations and decision makers around the world to guarantee that people know how to use Facebook safely.
The company called on the public to report content that violates its rules.
“There is no place for content that encourages violence, direct threats, terror or words of hate on our platform,” the company said in a statement. “Facebook has a regular dialogue with the [Israeli] government on such issues.”
Zionist Union MK Erel Margalit responded to Erdan by saying: “Last time I checked, Zuckerberg was not elected prime minister of Israel and is not a member of our security cabinet, so he will not stop the terrorism.”
He called it “an insult to one’s intelligence” that Erdan was not blaming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said Israel had the technology to fight terrorism and monitor social media.
However, in a speech on Cyber-warfare in Paris on Friday, Margalit also warned that “Facebook has become an incubator of the new terror” and warned that “amid thousands of likes and shares the terrorists are getting now, the next attack is being hidden.”
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, however, said the blame for the attacks belongs with the ministers of Netanyahu’s security cabinet, who he mockingly called “heroes on Facebook,” saying they were too busy fighting among themselves and looking for headlines to actually take steps to fight terrorism.
His Zionist Union colleague, MK Omer Bar-Lev, meanwhile, said Netanyahu was trying to “throw sand in the eyes of the public” and give Israelis a false sense that his government was working to end the violence.
Other MKs continued to blame MK Haneen Zoabi (Joint List) for inciting to violence on Wednesday by calling IDF soldiers murderers.
Likud MK Nava Boker said Friday that since Zoabi “opened her mouth” a new intifada has broken out.
“It’s impossible to deny, Zoabi follows in the footsteps of [former Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat, motivating terrorism and giving the green light to kill Jews, just like Arafat during the Oslo period,” Boker said, vowing to make it her life’s mission to ensure that Zoabi is expelled from the Knesset and the country.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said that following the murders, it was crucial that the country be united.