The American Jewish Committee (AJC) expressed outraged on Tuesday over Facebook’s treatment of the internationally acclaimed Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, whose reports are often critical of the Palestinian Authority leadership.
Toameh’s Facebook account was suspended after a campaign of online vilification and threats convinced the social networking site to temporarily deactivate his account, removing all postings about corruption within the Palestinian Authority.
“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, Toameh reported that dozens of Gaza Christians who arrived in Judea and Samaria to celebrate Christmas asked to move to Israel since they no longer wanted to live under Palestinian Authority rule, and that many Christian families from East Jerusalem have moved into Jewish neighborhoods for the same reason.
Furthermore, he noted in the piece titled, “The Palestinian Authority’s Inconvenient Truths,” that the PA arrests people simply for criticizing its leadership.
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.”
“The truth sometimes hurts,” Abu Toameh noted in his post. “That is why the Palestinian Authority has been working hard to prevent the outside world from hearing about many occurrences that reflect negatively on its leaders or people.”
AJC thus urged 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.”