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Vicious reader comments left on JPost article on Tamimi

Never doubt that Israel means well.

Read the talkbacks to the Jerusalem Post story on Mustafa Tamim’s critical injury, then death during Nabi Saleh demonstration from IDF tear gas cannister to the face, reportedly fired at close range.

From just the first five:

illiniwek: “The only thing the illegal alien arab moslem terrorist understands is brute force so therefore, the IDF should be using live rounds with shoot to kill orders for any rock thrower regardless of age and gender…”

John DeLancy: “…the Arab Muslmis are trying to kill Jews and the IDF hits back. Only, Hashem is protecting His people, the Jews. And He is not protecting the enemies of His chosen. “

AmIsraelchaielYahud: “Now with half his face gone he will only be half the trouble.”

Viiit: “That’s the price we pay for having them within the Land of Israel. The[y] have to go”

“GeorgeMartin: “too bad he is not seriously dead”

In West Bank protests of recent years, in which the Palestinian-to-IDF injury ratio has been hundreds-to-one, Tamimi, according to B’Tselem, was the 20th Palestinian killed.

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    1. Stephen Mitchell

      What do you expect from Israeli talkbackers?
      If you say something against Netanyahu, you get sued for 300,000$, but if you post rotten comments on an injured Arabs, you get praised.
      It’s the sad reality.

      Reply to Comment
    2. a

      Larry, Larry, why are you so surprised, this is your beloved Zionism in all its glory!

      Reply to Comment
    3. Henry Ezra Ong

      yup, this is Zionism all right, why so surprised now? There’s no Liberal Zionism, Moderate Zionism, Left Zionism, Humanist Zionism, only one true, Right Zionism.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Dee Coombes

      No, it’s not surprising, but the saddest thing. Those people have lost their humanity and its hardly surprising when they have (and I don’t use the word lightly) fascist leaders. They live in a state where theft of land and water from Palestinians is legal, genocide praised, cruelty a state policy. Israel, turn back before all you have left is hatred and blood. Palestinians, stay strong and stay human.

      Reply to Comment
    5. AMIR.BK

      No one can ‘lose their humanity’, the minimum requirements for humanity are shockingly low as some might discover.
      What interests me most is how Mr. Derfner managed to miss all the countless hateful comments posted @ Jpost over the years, especially when he still wrote there, It seems like Mr. Derfner’s opinions took an ‘unexpected’ turn to the left now that he mainly writes for 972.

      Reply to Comment
    6. directrob

      Actually the JPost article was quite ok compared to the very strange Haaretz article that seemed coming straight from the IDF.
      The JPost talkback however is a pile of hate that should be urgently moderated.

      Reply to Comment
    7. This morning a young Palestinian activist who was in Nabi Saleh when Mustafa was shot was talking about the incident on Twitter. She was one of the people who tried to persuade the soldiers to let Mustafa’s sister to see him. Obviously upset, she expressed regret and remorse at not doing enough and was immediately inundated by vicious comments from strangers. I was horrified to see this sort of hate speech directed at a young woman who has recently witnessed a man receiving a fatal injury and been terribly shaken by the experience. It was more than lack of compassion. People were positively gleeful about the death and they were gloating over what she’d seen. I can’t understand why anyone would want to hurt this girl further, not when she was so obviously fragile. Perhaps it is because people are more likely to give way to the urge to bully on the Internet, where there is no face to face contact; or perhaps these people genuinely believe that the villagers of Nabi Saleh deserve to endure what they’re enduring. Either way, they seem to have become desensitised to grief and pain, and that’s frightening.

      Reply to Comment
    8. aristeides

      The Zionist talkbacker is the great underutilized weapon of this information war. Anyone with a sense of decency has to be repelled by the ugly hatefullness expressed in “defense of Israel.”

      Reply to Comment
    9. Amir BK, you just make up whatever trash you want about people, don’t you? When I was at the JPost, I never stopped telling the editors that the talkbacks were a disgrace, and my views were as left-wing there as they are at +972; that’s why so many Post readers were happy I got fired. Don’t write that sort of malicious garbage here again.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Philos

      Vicky, I recommend reading Josephus Flavius “The Jewish War.” You will see that us Jewish people are incapable of sovereignity. That same kind of wretched hatred and glee over killing of gentiles (and Jewish “apostates”; contrary to popular belief apostasy is a Jewish invention and not a Muslim one) was evident 2000-years ago and I see it cropping its head up in the 21st Century. Perhaps, the Haradim are right? Perhapas, the Jews should wait around for the Messiah before becoming a sovereign people, i.e., never.
      And Larry if you want read another pile of vicious hatred read English or Hebrew ynet comments. It is utterly putridly foul what I’ve read there.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Max

      I interned at JPost, which meant that once a week I had to moderate the Talkbacks. I personally would have deleted all of those, but I guess they don’t raise a red flag any more.

      That was some job. I felt that I was stewing in others’ hate. It was a disturbing sensation, not unlike the portions of A Clockwork Orange where the main character is forced to absorb horrific images. I shudder to think at what was deleted that we’ll never see.

      That said, internet comments bring out the worst in everyone. I can’t deny that JPost’s are particularly awful, and reflect terribly on its readership, but even here at 972 one can encounter that kind of raging, uncompromising hate.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Philos,
      I don’t think this kind of cruelty and glee in death is unique to any religious or national group, but rather something that human weakness inclines us all towards, and one of the primary reasons why pacifism is not just an ideal but a necessity.
      It’s true that Israeli society is heavily militarised, and militarisation fuels this sort of behaviour, but several of the people who were tormenting this girl weren’t Israeli or Jewish at all. I noticed more than a few Christian Zionists amongst them.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Ben dukium

      Christian Zionism has been historically much more extreme than any Jewish Zionist current. Christian Zionism was (is some extent still is) based on racism toward the local population and ‘anti-jewish philosemitism’ toward the Jews. but this of course does no justify anything

      Reply to Comment
    14. aristeides

      Let’s realize that a lot of these talkbackers, on JP and Ynet and other English-language sites, are not Israelis and not necessarily Jewish, either. Xenophobia is a universal human trait, but the lies directing hatred towards the Palestinians are not natural at all. They have been taught. The same memes appear over and over. Americans who have never seen a Palestinian nevertheless are full of propaganda-grown hate.

      The parallel to antisemitism in people who have rarely met Jews is exact. But expressing antisemitism in public is rarely allowed these days, while Palestinians have become a permitted target.

      Reply to Comment
    15. D

      Thank you Vicky that’s exactly what I was thinking. Not to justify such comments At All. They are hateful and shameful beyond belief but they are more of the result of war, propaganda and the dehumanization that goes along with both than they are a part of the ziniost or Jewish character. Thats just silly and hateful itself.

      I’m sure you would see similar comments on Palestinian talkback after a suicide bombing, or in other situations of war.

      With that said, how someone can feel such glee at the pain of others, enemy or not, is disturbing. Especially, when many of these people claim to be religious. How can reconcile such hate with spiritual belief? Or lament the inhumanity of the Holocaust on almost a daily basis and behave so inhumanly?

      or maybe this is humanity. you sure see it often enough.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Dr.Bill

      Hah! And in another section, I got lambasted and censored for describing how obnoxious some Israelis can be.
      Those remarks are dispicable, and no doubt come from the nutjob illegal settlers crowd. How ANYONE can justify their precious Zionist Israel under these circumstances is beyond understanding.
      A man is protesting peacefully for his land not to be taken out from under him and is deliberately murdered; and these “Jews” think it is just fine.
      They have lost their own humanity and have no right to anything much less land.

      Reply to Comment
    17. “Hah! And in another section, I got lambasted and censored for describing how obnoxious some Israelis can be.”

      Several of these people weren’t even Israeli. It’s quite common to find non-Israelis leaving alarmingly jingoistic pro-military comments on Israeli news pages. Some of the most callous remarks I have ever heard about Palestinians have come from Christian Zionists, or secular people who see Islam as a menace and the Palestinians as representing the Muslim peril. It isn’t necessary for us to go through the countries of the world one by one saying that some Israelis are obnoxious, some Azerbaijanis are obnoxious, some Eritreans are obnoxious, etc. To say that it is a common human failing is enough.

      I also disagree with the comments that these soldiers have lost their humanity. Broken damaged humanity is still humanity, and it can be repaired. We also don’t know what the soldier who killed Tamimi is thinking right now, so best not to judge him. It’s possible to have too little compassion (these comments are enough proof of that) but not to have too much.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Philos

      Vicky, I am, according to the Israeli Rabbinate, Jewish. I think it is high time that Jews addressed the anti-gentile and supramicist writings in their religion. We call upon Muslims to “reexamine the Koran” whilst forgetting that the Koran, as well as Christianity, are based around the Judaic concept of vengeful, asshole of a God, who encourages his followers to smite this and that person including infants. “Torat Ha’Melekch” wasn’t written in a vacuum (that’s the book recently published by some Rabbis in which they advocate killing gentile children).
      As to your belief in pacifism I must sadly disagree. If those millions of people who had protested the war in Iraq had instead rampaged through the streets beating up policemen and burning down the Houses of Parliament I doubt there would have been an invasion. Instead we got smug remarks about, “Well, you should be so lucky because in Iraq they can’t do that. Now watch me as I throw this hand-grenade at the 8th hole.”

      Reply to Comment
    19. KL Chiing

      It is high time that Israelis take responsibility for the hatred displayed by Jews for fellow non Jewish Israelis and human beings. Tikkum Olam, “repairing the world”. Greater tolerance – peace, love and understanding. Stop standing around whining and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. You have been given a great opportunity BY OTHERS to realize a post Zionist nation. Teach, guide and train your youth to be ecumenical respecting diverse religions and cultures. Jews have a crummy record doing this and, as a result, are hated by Arabs and Muslims which is why us Americans have to constantly defend you an give you money. Be proactive. Visit Hawaii to see how various ethic groups and religions get along. We have a synagogue (orthodox) that is respected.We have Buddhist, Shintos, Taoist, Mormons, Catholics, Protestants, Baha’i, Hindus and Muslims. You would then be ashamed of your efforts and your young country. Are you prepared to accept the challenge? Aloha and God bless you.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Amir.BK

      Larry: I don’t believe what I wrote was so slanderous, in anyway, my implication was that Jpost is right wing like hell and when you served as the ‘fig-leaf leftist’ there you contributed and legitimized an extremely biased publication.
      If you could have drawn more attention to how horrible and racist those talk backs were back when you still wrote there it would’ve been infinitely more viable than doing so now.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Max

      Right, Amir, I’m sure an article on how awful Jpost’s comments are would have made a huge difference. Just face it, you want to hate Larry so you’ll keep moving the goal posts until you feel ‘right.’ You’re utterly transparent.
      Philo, no one but bigots are calling on Muslims to “reexamine the Koran,” whatever that’s supposed to mean. It’s no less bigoted to smear Jews as inherently racist.
      All ancient religious works are full of horrifying events: racism, incest, executions, slavery. Why? Because these works are OLD, and reflect the morals (or lack thereof) of their time. It is preposterous to hold these things against modern people, as if all Jews and Muslims voted on what their holy texts should say.
      Dr. Bill, what happened to Tamimi was wrong and a tragedy, and the comments Larry cited are ugly, racist trash. However, Tamimi was not protesting ‘peacefully,’ he was part of a group hurling rocks at soldiers. I don’t know of any definition of ‘peaceful protest’ that includes this.
      That does not in ANY way justify his death or the brutality of the IDF, but one ought to stick to the facts when discussing matters of life and death like this. Tamimi should not have been killed or even attacked so brutally. He and his friends also should not have thrown rocks. Both of these things can be true.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Maya

      How do you know that the talkbacks on JPost are posted by Israelis? If they are not posted by Israelis then what can we learn from the talkbacks about Israel’s intentions?

      Reply to Comment
    23. Amir.BK

      MAX: Jeepers creepers, I don’t hate Larry. Since he posted an article about the comments at Jpost, I think it’s fine to criticize his tenure at that awful publication and question why he now publicly speaks against these vile talk-backs when he previously (apparently) didn’t.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Amir BK, I wrote a column about the Muslim-bashing of Obama that included a passage where I wrote that the “talkbackers barked on cue,” then illustrated the point with three or four barking JPost talkbacks. Internally, to the editors, the talkbacks were my pet peeve. And if I was a fig-leaf for the Post, I also pissed off a lot of Post publishers and editors, not to mention readers, while encouraging a lot of dissenters. I think it’s fair to say I was the most hated columnist in the 79-year history of the JPost. You want to think of me as a sell-out? Be my guest.

      Reply to Comment
    25. AMIR.BK

      Larry, I apologize about my offensive replies on this page. I’m now going over your past publications @ Jpost and familiarizing with your body of work. I don’t consider you a sellout, I just disagree with a lot of your opinions but I know that at the end of the day for all of “US” (that is Israelis who are opposed to the immoral deeds perpetrated by our government) it’s very hard to keep a balanced perspective and I respect your commitment to humanist values.

      Reply to Comment
    26. You’re a good man, Amir BK.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Sinjim

      @Max: He shouldn’t have thrown rocks at an armored jeep? Why must Palestinians be complete and total pacifists? Why are they not allowed to defend themselves?
      The soldier criminals who were having rocks thrown at their jeep were in Nabi Saleh breaking up a peaceful demonstration. For an entire hour they lobbed chemical weapons at this village. For one whole hour, @Max. Every week it’s the same goddamn Israeli army coming into this village and other villages. Week after week. Arresting someone or hurting them or allowing the settlers to harm them or killing them.
      Finally some Palestinians, among them the shahid Mustafa, decided enough was enough and threw rocks, which they had gathered as a roadblock against the invasion of their village, at the armored jeep. How is that unjustified? Why shouldn’t he have thrown rocks?
      If Mustafa was named Moshe and it was Hamas that had done the attacking, would any person have said he shouldn’t have fought back? I’m so sick of this sorry and disgusting excuse for “even-handedness.”

      Reply to Comment
    28. delia ruhe

      I don’t find the JPost commenters any worse than the ones over at The Forward who sometimes take my breath away with their hatred.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Philos

      Max, where have you been since Sept. 11, 2001? You haven’t noticed the PM’s of Britain and the President’s of France, USA and elsewhere lecture Muslim’s on the content of their holy book?

      The problem is that people in our day and age adhere to ANCIENT religions. Is it any wonder that these crimes are ongoing? And yes, if you’re raised to believe that only you and your co-religionists have a soul and that it is legitimate to kill non-believers because they interfere with your God’s plan of divine global domination and you live in a country where nobody in your society questions this; then everyone is responsible. In Israel we are responsible for the content of our holy books. It is high time for a Jewish Reformation and to throw the rabbis out.

      Reply to Comment
    30. BillP

      Spare me the holier then thou attitudes. Take a look at mondoweiss. Its a hot bed of holocaust denial and fans of jihad. Jews are referred to has ticks and the general atittude is that its too bad Hitler didn’t finish things off.

      Reply to Comment
    31. dickerson3870

      RE: “Read the talkbacks to the Jerusalem Post story on Mustafa Tamim’s critical injury, then death during Nabi Saleh demonstration from IDF tear gas cannister to the face, reportedly fired at close range.” ~ Derfner

      “…You can shine your shoes and wear a suit.
      You can comb your hair and look quite cute
      You can hide your face behind a smile
      One thing you can’t hide
      Is when you’re crippled inside…” ~ from the album ‘Imagine’, 1971

      Reply to Comment
    32. Boris Belkin

      The Jerusalem Post readership is very specific, and talkbackers do not represent the entire nation – the paper is read by westerners, residing in Israel and American
      Jews. To realize what talkbacks are about go to Haaretz.com – this is the most liberal Israeli newspaper – and still, hate talkbacks are not lacking there

      Reply to Comment
    33. Ben Israel

      Yes, Philos, the world needs more progressive atheist leaders like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il and others in order to get rid of all those religions you don’t like which will improve the human rights situation.

      Reply to Comment
    34. AYLA

      @Amir–I am very moved by anyone changing/opening his/her mind. Few things are braver. thank you for giving me hope this morning. I aspire to be as brave, daily.
      @The opposite of hope-giving is talkbalks, and the lowest of the low (of legitimate news) is Jpost Talkbalks. I swore them off long ago, lest I lose faith in humanity. It’s the underbelly. Also, where do those people live? I’m guessing that most of them do not live here. The I/P conflict brings out the craziest.
      @Everyone: its so, so important that we don’t start believing that Talkbacks such as these represent any true majority. You know, I love 972 for the stories you choose as well as for the intellect and nuance and heart with which you report, and I hate when people ask for the news to be more “balanced” or to show Israel in a more positive light; as Lisa Goldman has said, it’s news, not propaganda. At the same time, though, there is a global war between Love and Fear/Hate right now, and we have to shed a light on more of the goodness, not of Israel’s, but of Humans on the ground on this land, opening their hearts despite all this insanity. I would ask 972 to keep sharing news like Aziz’s video, Harry Stein’s documentary, Moriel Rothman’s work, peaceful Palestinian protest, etc. Not to make things look good, but because from living here, I know that things are both worse than people think and more good than people think, and Talkbacks such as these — if we believe that this is what the world has come to, it might be. We have to feed our belief in all the goodness that is possible with equally true news. And we can start by minding how we respond to each other,here, and having faith that nearly every commenter here is here sincerely, because they care.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Gandhi was once asked how he could advocate civil resistence as a love-force given the history of humankind. He replied something like this: “If there were no love force, the world would have collapsed long ago. It is mostly silent, keeping the world going inspite of our hates.”
      Hate cannot be eradicated; but I think the relative frequency of hate can be reduced. Beyond that, the war, much as in Taoism, ever will go on.
      Walk around the talkbackers. When you confront them headon, they win, for they want you to do that; it gives their existence meaning.

      Reply to Comment
    36. AYLA


      Reply to Comment
    37. Greg, it’s not about confronting the talkbackers, it’s about exposing them publicly, which embarrasses their many, many “respectable” allies in the Jewish and Christian Right, starting with the Israeli government and Republican Party. When you’ve got talkbackers gloating and glorifying the killing of a Palestinian protester by tear-gas projectile to the face, putting it in the street gives the lie to the hasbara that the Palestinians are a nation of killers while Israel is a nation of peace-lovers, and makes it harder for Israel to plead innocence in the occupation.

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    38. Then quote them in questions to the right people. The JP doesn’t seem to mind them there. There must be a reason. Hate is a kind of social economy too.

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    39. After my post went up on +972 and I put it on FB (where I have a few friends on JP staff), the vile comments I quoted were deleted. The JP doesn’t mind them there as long as the civilized world doesn’t notice; once the civilized world notices, the JP and the Zionist Right in general mind very much. (BTW, my FB friends from JP aren’t right-wingers, and they do mind these talkbacks even if they go unnoticed. When I say the JP doesn’t mind, I’m talking about the owners and the far-right or just indifferent staffers.)

      Reply to Comment
    40. Piotr Berman

      I would love to believe Ayla. Some people voted for the current Knesset and what MKs are saying is not all that different from the talk backs.

      And of course the people who write opinion columns are even more terrifying that talk backers. For example, when “March 8” toppled the government of “March 15”, the commentary was “great, now that Hezbollah is in the government during the next Lebanon war we will not be forced to show restraint but we will bomb them into a parking lot”. I am paraphrasing from memory, but there is a strange attraction to parking lots among Israeli columnists. Larry is clearly not one of them, but he is also a FORMER mainstream columnist.

      Reply to Comment
    41. AYLA

      @Larry–I appreciate everything you’re saying here, and you know how it works at the JP better than we do. Still, when you post these things here, on 972, whose audience is possibly wider than you fb friends, your purpose may be getting lost without further analysis.
      @Piotr–you wish you could believe me that the talkbackers are not the majority? Listen–I live here. Things are generally much worse than the average Israeli thinks, or than the average diaspora Jew thinks. At the same time, the way people get along here and interact together on the street, in daily life (and I live in the Negev, which is very diverse) is moving at best and surprisingly uneventful at worse. I’m not taking away from the countless injustices, big and small. But Israel is a strange combination of a melting pot and a bunch of violently segregated, gated communities. In my experience, it’s more melting than people think, and there are beautiful, daily interactions between people who the rest of the world believes are arch enemies. It’s just more complex here than most people realize. I wish more people outside would ask questions, and more people inside would report from the street.

      Reply to Comment
    42. AYLA

      p.s. I don’t mean “surprisingly uneventful at worse”; I mean “at the least”.

      Reply to Comment
    43. directrob

      Some of the comments at Omar Rahman’s article are not much better than JPost talkback.

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    44. Larry,
      Perhaps the most effective response would be to corner those using such talkbacks publically. You know, in a press Q & A. I’m not trying to tell you what to do. You clearly have risked real economic (mabye social too) security for your beliefs, and most people will not do that. And I haven’t so risked. Sometimes, though, I imagine the actual talkbackers (and some occasionally surfing this site) gleefuly if they can get an angry rise out of their enemy/opposition. Anger numbs the mind–and I have plenty of experience on that.
      Because many of us (me anyway) do not really know Israeli culture/soceity, we tend to move towards “standard” responses when commenting on other views. I like Ben Israel because sometimes he shows himslef a bit (Bosko too, but BI is Israeli) and then I get just a little better feel for his social/political positions. Clearly, the present polls show that many on the right are going to have to articulate or consider new views if internal movement in Israel is to be possible. What you say about daily interactions in Israel is intriguing. An alternative path will have to be formed, I think, through such behavior across well formed and sometimes unthinking political lines. Basically most of us (me) may not know what we’re talking about, because we have no sense of the daily get along which has developed over, say, the past two decades. Political views swim in our social world; have to know what that world is to think of alternatives to the usual.

      Reply to Comment
    45. Siren

      Would like to echo all those who point out that the talkbacks on +972, Haaretz, The Forward, Ynet etc, can take just as deranged and hateful a flavor as those Larry quoted.

      Furthermore, for those of you who are convinced that such comments are the best reflection of Israeli sentiment, bear in mind that most Israelis talkback in Hebrew. If you want to take the national temperature, read talkbacks in Ivrit, and avoid all the ones paid for by the pro-Israel/pro-Palestine lobbies on the major (sic) English-Language Israeli news sites.

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    46. aristeides

      Siren – the talkbacks in English are an excellent reflection of Zionist sentiment, in large part the sentiment of American Zionists.

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    47. amir.bk

      Siren, the comments in Hebrew are often far more hateful and the most hateful comments usually receive the most upvotes and appraising replies. The only exception for this rule is haaretz Hebrew page which is usually well moderated and has far less offensive comments.
      On the other hand I’d like to point out that the comments at mondoweiss are often horrible and offensive and the staff there is not only not concerned with moderation but often encourages some of the more consistent offenders.

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    48. AYLA

      @GP–thank you as always. I am no expert. the more I learn, the less I know (which, I believe, is good). I am asking everyone else to know less, too. As for daily life here–I am often a minority in a room of Arab Israelis because I live in the Negev. This is actually part of what I love about the Negev; it feels like the living Torah to me, and the Bedouin and/or Arab life down here contributes to that for me. In response to one of Ami’s posts about racism here, I commented that every day, I experience outlandishly blatant racism here, which is true. It’s equally true, however, that every day I experience people across lines reaching out to each other, often in banal ways, often in ways that are moving. I’m afraid I’d sound to Ebony and Ivory if I recounted visions of religious jews and muslims praying side by side at the gas station, or of a Bedouin woman–a stranger–leapt for joy in female solidarity when my Jewish friend passed her written drivers’ exam telling her how many times she herself had failed the test, or how a jewish woman rocked a bedouin couple’s baby while they met with some officials at the Misrad Hapnim. If I recounted the same stories about black and white people in the U.S., I’d sound absurd, and actually racist for considering that the stories were newsworthy. But this is daily life here. Every single day. The good, the bad, the ugly, the prosaic.

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    49. aristeides

      Amir – that’s not true about mondoweiss. Perpetrators of hate speech are banned there, and the system of moderation actually discourages commentary by holding all comments for moderation before they are posted.

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    50. Amir.BK

      Hi Aris, I’m sorry I guess I wasn’t clear enough, I was referring to offensive and hateful statements against Israelis. 😉

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