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Legislators Call On Twitter To Ban Hamas 486

Posted by Soulskill
from the sticks-and-stones dept.
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from The Hill: "The past week's violence in Gaza has rekindled calls for Twitter to shutter the accounts of U.S.-labeled terror groups such as Hamas. Seven House Republicans asked the FBI in September to demand that Twitter take down the accounts of U.S.-designated terrorist groups, such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Somalia's al Shabaab. The letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller was spearheaded by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), who said Wednesday that the recent events vindicated the request. 'Allowing foreign terrorist organizations like Hamas to operate on Twitter is enabling the enemy,' [Poe said] 'Failure to block access arms them with the ability to freely spread their violent propaganda and mobilize in their War on Israel.'"
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Legislators Call On Twitter To Ban Hamas

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  • Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:36AM (#42086455)

    What bullshit...
    I'm an Israeli citizen and I oppose Hamas in every possible way (they frickin' shot rockets at me and my family just a week ago!)

    But terminating their officials' Twitter accounts will do nothing to help the cause.
    The only effect will be that they'll start communicating in other channels - which will make it more difficult to spy on their future intentions.

    If you really want to do something against Hamas in Twitter - don't follow them!

    (BTW, the captcha "i" looks like an 8)

  • Propaganda (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:40AM (#42086469) Homepage Journal

    Is free-speech the last i heard.

    Twitter can of course take it down on their own as they dont have to adhere to the US Constitution in this matter, but our government should NOT be involved in requesting that a individuals ( or group ) speech to be curtailed.

    Yes, i realize they are not Americans and may not have that right in their home country, but an American governmental agency asking bothers me greatly.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:40AM (#42086477)

    I thought that that freedom [of speech] extended to those you might not necessarily agree with as well, right?

    I'm sure there are those who'd label the USA as a country of terror...not that I agree with them, but how about that basic freedom of speech?

  • by Severus Snape (2376318) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:41AM (#42086479)
    Definition of the word being, "A person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims." [oxforddictionaries.com]

    And the definition of terrorism. "Violence committed or threatened by a group to intimidate or coerce a population, as for military or political purposes." [thefreedictionary.com]

    The FBI should consider updating their list of "designated terrorist groups".
  • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:41AM (#42086481) Homepage

    The only effect will be that they'll start communicating in other channels - which will make it more difficult to spy on their future intentions.

    Twitter is not a useful source of learning about Hamas's "future intentions". There's nothing secret or unexpected there. It's one of several channels for distributing propaganda, that are also distributed in other ways. It's ridiculous to think that Western governments are dependent on #hamas to keep abreast with developments.

    Furthermore, I suspect that the Twitter account is managed by Hamas's international representatives, who don't always have a good relationship with Hamas leadership inside Gaza, so it's all the less useful for predicting conflict with Israel.

  • by beaverdownunder (1822050) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:42AM (#42086483)

    Cyber-democracy doesn't work if government's can arbitrarily censor participants.

    In their own words, doing what they want would be "letting the terrorists win".

  • Free Speech (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:42AM (#42086485)

    Yes, we want free speech, but only if it says something we approve of.

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:45AM (#42086507) Homepage

    So should Twitter also ban groups labeled as terrorists by other groups ? Eg: should we ban the Israeli government because Hamas thinks that they are terrorising them ? I think not. Twitter would be uniwse to accede to to this and put itself at the center of someone else's fight.

    One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

  • Re:Propaganda (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ewanm89 (1052822) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:50AM (#42086529) Homepage

    If the US legislators are allowed to spout this kind of drivel then so is Hamas. I propose that if they try to force the issue the accounts of legislator and any US agency involved also be banned.

  • Ironic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SilenceBE (1439827) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:56AM (#42086555)
    I've read the articles vertically - which I mostly do with American reporting about Israel as it so unbelievable one sided - and I noticed some parts that they mention "Anti-Americanism". The only part that is missing is freedom fries. The ironic thing is that this kind of one side view that really fuels Anti-Americanism in a lot of Arab states and even within my Arab friends that in no way I would describe as "extremists", "terrorist", or that typical bullshit. Even very moderate or even intellectuel bright people in that group tend to create more and more anti American feelings.

    You can pat yourself on the back en think that ridiculous claim that the hatred comes from the "hatred of your freedom", but is really these kind of signals that creates more extremism. The ironic thing is that the border of this "freedom" stops in what America likes and don't like.

    I know the Israelian [wikipedia.org] lobby is very powerful in the states and there goes a lot of money round, but it baffles me that there are not that many critical voices within the US.

    So what about state terrorism ? Shouldn't the IDF also be banned then since they also use social media for their propaganda ? One's terrorist is another persons freedom fighter.
  • Re:Propaganda (Score:4, Insightful)

    by professionalfurryele (877225) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:58AM (#42086567)

    And at the moment we are at war with Eurasia. By at the moment I of course mean we have always been at war with Eurasia.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:00AM (#42086573) Journal

    It's apparent the terrorist won.

    Such a small group of people have managed to drastically change the polices of the USA in a way no politicians could ever do.

    Look, we are scared of them tweeting, how could they not have won?

       

  • Re:Propaganda (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:01AM (#42086579)

    An excellent point. Congress has allowed this facade of undeclared war to go on for decades, really since the Korean War. It needs to stop. American troops should not be sent overseas to fight and die without a formal declaration ofwar. It's wrong.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the grace of R'hllor (530051) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:03AM (#42086585)
    They fire rockets at you and your family and blow up buses, and you fire tanks and bombs into fully built-up and barricaded (by you) residential areas (effectively an open-air prison or, if you will, a ghetto) without letting people flee. In my outsiders' view, that makes you both pretty much equally shitty.

    I'm wondering what an Israeli perspective on this is. Do you see a separation between Palestinians and Hamas? Are Israeli actually still striving for actual peace (rather than defeat of Palestinians) or is it a matter of time until the ethnic cleansing starts, or... what?

    Because as I said, from here, both parties look equally and homogeneously shitty, with the Palestinians being the underdogs. Usually in such a situation, I'm very wrong, and I'd like to know if I am, and how so.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:03AM (#42086587)

    Terrorism has been refined to mean 'anyone who opposes the US government'

  • Re:Ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:07AM (#42086615)

    I know the Israelian lobby is very powerful in the states and there goes a lot of money round, but it baffles me that there are not that many critical voices within the US.

    For the most part, the only people who care about foreign affairs are those with a vested interest. There just aren't enough people with enough money who give a shit about the other side of that conflict to make any real noise about it. Occasionally an american girl gets run over with a bulldozer or something like that and then we get a ltitle more coverage, because she's american not because of the injustices she was protesting. But that's about it.

  • by Swampash (1131503) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:11AM (#42086631)

    why the USA blindly jumps to the defense of Israel for everything all the time? I mean... Israel comes across as Tommy DeVito as played by Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. Crazy little guy on a hair trigger who keeps fucking everything up for everyone. And the USA without fail jumps in with WE STAND WITH THE CRAZY LITTLE NATION ON A HAIR TRIGGER.

    I don't get it.

  • Re:Free Speech (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SternisheFan (2529412) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:32AM (#42086707)
    I am a U.S. citizen, born and raised here. My country allowed the crack epidemic here to happen in order to finance their little wars. Untold U.S. lives were lost to crack whille Col. Oliver North posed for the camera and spoke of patriotism. The North Vietnamese were branded the 'enemy', war profiteering abounded. Haliburton. The list goes on, mostly rich guys get richer while they tell us who the enemy is this week.

    Now once you go down that slippery slope of censorship, then you become no better than the leaders of those countries you named. The 'enemy' then becomes 'us'.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the grace of R'hllor (530051) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:32AM (#42086709)
    Because the people living in Israel are somehow Egypt's problem? No, if the people in Gaza aren't able to flee, it's because they're living in a prison. And, technically, by their own government. The parallel to ghetto's, specifically the Warsaw Ghetto, is not exactly fiction. The suffering in the Warsaw Ghetto was much, much greater, but the people inside it are in a very similar situation.
  • by Dan667 (564390) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:33AM (#42086715)
    the republicans believe that the US needs an enemy so they invented terrorism as a huge problem. Their policy is failure and has done more harm than good.
  • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:41AM (#42086739) Journal
    most of this conflict is israel attempting to steal Palestinian land.

    Most of modern history in the Middle East results from the UN sticking its fingers where they don't belong, randomly stealing a big chunk of land considered sacred to the natives, and giving it to Israel. "Aww, those mean Germans tried to eradicate you? Here, let's throw a dart at this map and give you... Hmm, yeah, I think I have a call on the other line, good luck with that new home".

    Gee, wonder why they all hate us. Oh, right, for our "freedoms" - Like the freedom to not have someone randomly kick us out of our homes and give them to our ancient enemies.
  • Re:Propaganda (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrbester (200927) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:42AM (#42086747) Homepage

    This would be US courts who only have jurisdiction over acts on US soil affecting US citizens would it?

    The constitution is an odd thing in that as written it applies to everybody with particular emphasis for US citizens. As such it is not only a base for how law and rights are appled in US but is also meant to be the template for how US treats anybody as an extension and espousal of fundamental rights to all; you have the right to free speech and are obligated to extend that freedom to everybody else. Why should you have that right yet deny it to others?

  • by Hatta (162192) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:46AM (#42086771) Journal

    Because of evangelicals. They believe a holy war will preceed the second coming of christ, and so they do everything in their power to start one. There is absolutely nothing rational about our policy towards Israel.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkOx (621550) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:46AM (#42086773) Journal

    The ignorance of what happened less than a decade ago is astounding. We keep hearing about a two state solution, Gaza was the two state solution. Squabbling at the UN aside, even Israel officially recognized the Gaza boarder as an international one at least at one point, I think they still do.

    About 8 years ago the Israeli's pulled out and left the region to the Palestinian authority to manage. Those idiots attacked with rockets almost as soon as the last Israeli left. At the time it was not an "open-air prison" that happened later after the Palestinians proved that if allowed access to any resources they'd weaponize them and attack Israel.

    What exactly would you do if after in the interest of peace you gave someone some land and then they used it as a platform to try and attack you from? I know what I would do; and it looks allot like what Israel has done to Gaza in recent years.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:47AM (#42086775)

    Just like if Mexicans aren't able to flee their countries drug wars it's the US's problem? Yeah... when you look at it that way...

  • Re:Propaganda (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:48AM (#42086781) Journal
    For groups designated as terrorist organization, "free speech" doesn't apply. It is illegal to provide a channel for such groups to communicate.

    And how did it become illegal? Congress passed a law saying so.

    But, funny thing about that, because "Congress shall make no law [...] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press".

    Who broke the law here? Not Twitter, not random spokesperson probably living in Western Europe, not even Hamas (well, not for their Twitter activity, anyway) - But the US Fucking Congress has broken the law by making such a law!


    Of course, for the constitution to have any teeth, people would need to care, and no one does. So, would you like to join me for some liquid bread before the gladiatorial games this evening, Citizen?
  • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @10:58AM (#42086845)

    I'm wondering what an Israeli perspective on this is.

    I'm sure Israelis have as wide a variety of views on their nation's troubles as any other nation's population does.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich (1673220) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:13AM (#42086927) Journal

    Their country's drug war is financed by American dollars and American mafia through American banks, aided by American prohibition and official corruption on both sides. America's war business is a big source of many problems everywhere south of the Rio Grande. Don't even try to deny it.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:24AM (#42086983) Journal

    Because the magical man in the sky told them to.

  • by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:42AM (#42087081)

    The ignorance of what happened less than a decade ago is astounding.

    Actually, it's a really great lesson on groupthink. If you listen to even the most *educated* people from both sides of the conflict--the ones who know every detail since the '47 war and before--it is AMAZING how different their story is based on which side they're on. And it's (usually) not that they're wrong, it's just that their vision is so incredibly polarized.

    I once listened to a lecture by the director of the Israeli counter-terror institute and then a lecture by a Palestinian Professor from either NYU or Columbia. They talked about the same peace treaties and the same events, but the stories they told and the perspectives they had on those events were *radically* different. Obi Wan Kenobi was right--a great many of the truths we cling to depend a great deal on our own point of view.

    Both sides do things that are really uncool, and both sides have things done to them that are really terrible. It makes it easy for both sides to perpetuate their narratives of hate. As long as that happens--as long as there is no real incentive and genuine effort on *both* sides to see the conflict from the other's point of view and to *stop* it--the conflict will continue.

    It has continued for fifty years so far.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Slippery (47854) <`ten.suomafni' `ta' `smt'> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:53AM (#42087135) Homepage

    Most of modern history in the Middle East results from the UN sticking its fingers where they don't belong, randomly stealing a big chunk of land considered sacred to the natives, and giving it to Israel.

    Blame the British and the Balfour Declaration [un.org]. By the time the UN came into existence the theft was well underway; the UN at most ratified it.

    Most of the trouble spots in the world today can be traced to the British Empire. It's time for the British and other colonial nations to face up to the disaster they caused the rest of the world and start paying reparations.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:55AM (#42087149) Journal

    What exactly would you do if after in the interest of peace you gave someone some land

    "Gave"? Israel partially withdrew from occupied territory, that's not exactly a gift.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CdBee (742846) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @11:59AM (#42087191)
    One could almost make the same point about the IDF's official twitter account
  • by Rich0 (548339) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @12:18PM (#42087299) Homepage

    I think there are many reasons - some of which have already been offered up.

    Sure, many Jews live in the US. Sure, the US has a ton of evangelicals, and a fair portion of those have a sense of manifest destiny where Israel is concerned.

    However, I think where many mainstream US voters come in is that you basically have a Westernized country in the middle of Arab territory that is constantly being beset by terrorist bombings and all that. People look at a bunch of refugees living in camps and making bombs, and a bunch of people living in apartments and shopping in malls and serving in the military, and they can identify with the latter FAR more.

    When Hamas launches rockets, they aim them at cities, not at military installations. Granted, where rockets are concerned the former are far easier to hit. However, before the wall went up there were suicide bombing attacks in Israel all the time. The targets of these attacks were almost always civilian in nature. It was pretty rare to see them going after army checkpoints or whatever.

    I think the average person looks at an organization like Hamas as one that goes after civilians any time it gets the chance. That gets them almost zero sympathy in the world's eyes.

    The Israeli military operates in a manner similar to the US military. Obviously that is going to get them a lot of US sympathy, since nobody thinks that their cousin who is in the US military is doing anything wrong. Their weapons are far more powerful, which means that in the end they kill a lot more civilians. However, the fact that they aim at military targets is about all the justification needed.

    I'm not saying Israel has all the answers. I am saying that nobody should be surprised that they get pretty solid US backing, and to a lesser extent European backing in general.

  • Re:Hamas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sesostris III (730910) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @12:36PM (#42087427)

    and so, its all the jooos fault. always the jooos fault.

    the rocket rallies STARTED on the hamas side. but that does not become part of your post, does it? its the jooos that are wrong.

    the hatred of jews in the modern US is sickening. I'm not sure why its so in vogue to blame all the problems in the area on the jews, but nothing seems to have changed with that great Last Lesson that the world had some 60+ yrs ago.

    Israel != Jews. Yes, Israel is a Jewish state, but to have concerns over what Israel does in no way makes one anti-semitic. Indeed, there are Jews who have concern over the actions of Israel. Unfortunately, it is very convenient for some (on all sides) to blur the distinction between 'The State of Israel' and 'Jew'.

    Also, to have concerns over Israeli actions in no way means support for the actions of Hamas. Another distinction it seems convenient for some to blur.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sudon't (580652) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @12:39PM (#42087439)

    What exactly would you do if after in the interest of peace you gave someone some land and then they used it as a platform to try and attack you from? I know what I would do; and it looks allot like what Israel has done to Gaza in recent years.

    What exactly would you do if someone invaded your land, stole most of it, and forced you onto a small reservation in the "interests of peace?" You might take that lying down, but I suspect some of your fellow citizens would want to fight back.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GryMor (88799) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:17PM (#42087687)

    It's was a concession in exchange for a cessation of attacks. We all negotiate from the circumstances we find ourselves in. There is no base truth with regards to ownership, only the current de facto arrangement. How many ply you choose to look back into history to formulate your lie of justice can greatly shift your perspective.

    Consider for a moment the infinite series formed by SUM(-1^n,-inf,inf) ...(1-1)+(1-1)+1+(-1+1)+(-1+1)... = 1 ...(1-1)+(1-1)... = 0 ...(-1+1)+(-1+1)+ -1 + (1-1)+(1-1)... = -1
    Which event you pick out as precipitating will change your perspective as all others seem to cancel out, but even that choice is a lie,any event could have been chosen, it all chains back in blood, suffering and joy throughout history.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:19PM (#42087709)

    Israel has no more claim to Gaza and the West Bank than Germany had to Poland. Some concession.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by N1AK (864906) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:41PM (#42088265) Homepage

    Blame the British and the Balfour Declaration

    Oh we fucked it up big time by allowing this to start. That said, we know it was a stupid mistake but there's fuck all we can do about it while America keeps propping up the Israeli position for political reasons rather than do what is needed to bring about something a little bit closer to peace.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by will_die (586523) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @04:05PM (#42088699) Homepage
    That is totally false and unfortunately being spread by various kook sites such as huffington post.
    The truth is that border is controlled by Egypt and Hamas and they have set the rules on people traveling between Egypt and Gaza.
    If you go and read some items from spring of last year there are plenty of article on how Egypt did open the border and has been making it easy to travel in and out of Egypt at that place. Egypt has placed large restriction on people coming into Egypt, distance they can travel, items they can take with them, how long they can stay in Egypt but those are all set by Egypt not evil Jewish monster that those kook sites would have you believe.
  • Re:Bullshit (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Beemer T (2776189) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @05:27PM (#42089155)
    Let's see, Gaza has a border w/ Israel, and a border w/ Egypt. Gaza's government's charter includes the stated destruction of Israel as it's goal, Egypt is supposedly friends to the Gazans (by their stated words).

    Yet Egypt does jack shit for the Palestinians, but you criticize only Israel for not opening the Gaza border? Why do you give Egypt a free pass?

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by isorox (205688) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @06:08PM (#42089359) Homepage Journal

    One could almost make the same point about the IDF's official twitter account

    My thoughts entirely. Ignore the both of them, and look at the feeds for some independent international journalists

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:19PM (#42089889)

    Importing your own population into occupied territory isn't "vandalism at most." It is prohibited by article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention because it is part and parcel of ethnic cleansing.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @09:10PM (#42090151)

    Israel's continual violations of law passed in the wake of WWII, such as the 4th Geneva Convention, is a cause of grave concern. The situation could get much, much worse. That is why it is so important for Israel to abandon their decades long plan to colonize and annex occupied territory and make a real attempt at resolving the refugee problem from the Nakba.

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