Facebook sued for alleged facilitation of Hamas attacks on Israeli-Americans

© Dado Ruvic

Relatives of Israelis and Americans who died amid attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank are suing Facebook, accusing the social media giant of effectively offering material support, resources, and communication facilitation to Palestinian militants.

Plaintiffs in the case, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, say that their relatives — four Israeli-US dual nationals and one US citizen — were killed in Tel Aviv and the occupied West Bank during attacks between 2014 and 2016. Facebook, they allege, is responsible for allowing militants to continue organizing such attacks without censure. The suit is seeking $1 billion in damages.

Hamas, considered a terror organization by the US government, has claimed responsible for one of the deadly attacks named in the lawsuit, according to Reuters. The plaintiffs’ Israeli lawyer, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, said there is proof that Hamas was tied to the other attacks.

Facebook “knowingly provided material support and resources to Hamas … facilitat(ing) this terrorist group’s ability to communicate, recruit members, plan and carry out attacks, and strike fear in its enemies,” the lawsuit says, citing the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1992, which bars American businesses from providing material support or services to groups on the US terror list.


© Valentin Flauraud

The company said it “does not respond to any issue currently subject to legal procedure,” according to Facebook’s Israeli PR firm.

A Hamas spokesman decried the lawsuit and said Israel would prefer Facebook become a spying tool against Palestinians.

“The real test for the owners of Facebook is to reject this (Israeli) pressure,” Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters.

Since September, at least 34 Israelis and two American tourists have died in Palestinian attacks, while more than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces, the USA today reported.

Taylor Force, 28, was a US veteran visiting Israel in March when he was stabbed to death by a Palestinian. His family is among the plaintiffs in the suit, as is the family of American-Israeli Richard Lakin, a former elementary school principal in Connecticut, who died in October following an attack in Jerusalem.

“Facebook can’t sit in its stone tower in Palo Alto while blood is being spilled here on the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It has a social responsibility. It can’t serve as a social network for Hamas,” said Darshan-Leitner.

In October
, a class-action lawsuit was filed in New York against Facebook in Israel, with plaintiffs alleging that the company failed to monitor and delete posts on Palestinian accounts inciting hatred towards Jews.

“Facebook’s refusal to remove the flood of extremist videos, statements and cartoons being posted by Palestinians is encouraging imminent violence and fanning the flames of the terrorist attacks that have overwhelmed Israel in the past month,” the lawsuit says, concluding that “Facebook’s algorithms and platform connects inciters to terrorists who are further encouraged to perpetrate stabbings and other violence attacks against Israelis.”

That lawsuit, also filed by Darshan-Leitner of the Tel Aviv-based Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, is still pending in court, according to Reuters.

Facebook was also sued last month by the family of a victim of the Paris attacks in November 2015. The family of Nohemi Gonzalez, a student at California State University, Long Beach who was studying abroad in Paris at the time of the attack, said Facebook, as well as Google and Twitter, “knowingly permitted the terrorist group ISIS [the jihadist group Islamic State] to use their social networks as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda.” The lawsuit added that without social media, any expansion of influence by Islamic State “would not have been possible.”

(Source / 12.07.2016)

Tags: #ICC4Israel

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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