The Internet Hate Paradox

 

 

 

The advent of the internet was groundbreaking, allowing half the planet—from students to scientists—access to an unparalleled amount of information and resources acquired throughout the history of time. It has become an integral part of our lives, revolutionizing trade, finance, shopping, and banking, while changing the structure of communication and furthering globalization. Today, it is estimated that over4billion people have access to the internet. There are reportedly 6,000 tweets posted every second on Twitter, totaling a whopping 500 million tweets per day. YouTube claims that 400 hours of video are added to its site per minute.  Every hour, Facebook’s roughly 2.07 billion users world wide post around 30 million messages.

The internet has given a voice to those who previously had no means of expressing themselves to a wider audience. This phenomenon was first observed in 2009, when a Moldovan student protest was organized after cell phone coverage was halted by the government. This was considered the first “Twitter revolution.”3 After the disputed 2009 Iranian presidential elections, civilians took to the streets and were able to freely post hundreds of accounts, videos, and photos of clashes that were taking place. In 2011, Egyptians were able to organize, and garner public support, via Twitter in order to bring down the government. However, despite all of these positive uses, there are inherent dangers in the flow of information. This powerful engine of communication has also become a weapon of choice for extremist groups, crime networks, and terrorists, who use it to preach hate, spread dangerous ideologies and propaganda, and incite violence.

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Textbook ‘incitement’ debate not over yet

israel palestine schoolbooks

Palestinian texts promote discord, not peace

 

“Victims of Our Own Narratives” was the title of a recent handout given to journalists filling two rooms — one in Jerusalem and the other at the Press Club in Washington, DC. Headlines were quick to follow stating that the problem of incitement in Israeli and Palestinian school textbooks is over. However, wishful thinking aside, it is not.

The “textbook incitement debate” deals with the claims that textbooks in both Israeli and Palestinian societies undermine the peace process and fail to encourage the struggling nations to find common ground. Putting this simply, it is about books that foster hate and struggle rather than tolerance and peace.

Recently – following three years of work – a new report by an Israeli-Palestinian research team claimed to have settled that debate. The self-proclaimed “definitive” report, commissioned by the Council of Religious Institutions in the Holy Land and headed by YaleProfessor Bruce Wexler, studied Israeli and Palestinian textbooks and stated that there is no actual dehumanization or incitement in either curriculum and concluded that both sides need to improve their attitudes toward the other. View full post…

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