Opinions on Facebook

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 217A, known as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The backdrop behind its passage was the Holocaust of European Jewry, in which an entire people was dehumanized, hunted and slaughtered, and the consequent global goal of making sure that it never happens again.

The first two stances in the resolution’s preamble make this clear:

“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,”

All people inherently deserve “freedom, justice and peace” and the common goal of humanity is the enjoyment of “freedom of speech and belief” as well as “freedom from fear and want.”

The resolution goes on to enumerate many ways to achieve such goals, such as banning slavery (Article 4) and torture (Article 5), the ability to marry and divorce (Article 16) and change one’s religion (Article 18). While these seem fundamental rights in the western world, they are unfortunately not present in much of the Middle East and Africa.

But the western world has its own challenges with other items published in the UDHR, that of freedom of speech in the world of social media. Article 19 states:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

The notion that people have the right to “impart information… through any media… regardless of frontiers” is specifically being called out in the western world today.

The CEO of Facebook has been called before Congress and people have argued that Facebook must fact-check items before posting them as well as ban political ads.


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress

At a speech before the Anti-Defamation League, the actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen argued that Facebook, Twitter and Google have created “the greatest propaganda machine in history,” one that would have allowed Hitler to run 30 second ads contributing to fringe ideas “going mainstream.”

But such condemnation should be addressed towards the individual or group posting the vile viewpoints, not the platform itself. Facebook is a megaphone / modern soapbox for ideas. It is not a newspaper with a staff which writes opinions of its own.

We have become enamored with attacking the large social media giants by adopting false progressive notions that: 1) social media is media; 2) any kind of “fear” is real and should be considered; and 3) simply being large and powerful is inherently evil.

Social Media versus Media

Social media enables millions and billions of people to connect with each other. The platforms enable third parties to share ideas and pictures with both friends and family as well as people they’ve never met. The interactions may be cordial or hostile; the content, funny or sad.

The social media companies are distribution companies. This is vastly different than a media company which either writes and produces its own content or pays people to write content for them. As companies like Google begin to hire professionals to produce content on platforms like YouTube, it is only at that point that they become media companies themselves.

These distribution companies decide for themselves whether they wish to publish particular content. If Twitter opts to not publish political ads, that is its choice. If Facebook does not want to be a platform for nudity, it has full discretion to do so.

But it is the content itself which should be the focus of attention and possible derision.

Freedom from Fear

While Article 19 of the UDHR clearly articulates that all opinions should be available on any media, the preamble to the resolution makes clear that people should be able to live with “freedom from fear.” As such, any content which calls for violence against any person or group should be banned from all platforms. No ifs, ands or buts.

But what constitutes “fear?” A perceived insult or slight might trigger “microaggressions” such as using the wrong pronoun for a transgender person. But that cannot truly be the benchmark of what the UDHR had in mind.

Many videos by the conservative Prager U have been banned by YouTube, despite the videos not advocating any violence. Dennis Prager testified before Congress in July 2019 that the social media platforms have been banning conservative voices because the media outlets are run by “coastal liberal latte-sipping politically-correct out-of-touch folks,” as President Obama called them. Prager said that “liberals and conservatives differ on many issues but they have always agreed free speech must be preserved. While the left has never supported free speech, liberals always have.

Prager considered that “the left” has become overly sensitive about a wide range of issues and have used that as an excuse to shut down free speech with which they disagree. The notion of “freedom from fear” is being abused to shut down free speech.

The Powerful Institutions versus the Common Man

These same alt-left progressives have taken to the notion that large institutions like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Goldman Sachs and Walmart are inherently evil. The socialists in Congress have been looking to pass numerous laws to punish them, tax them and break them apart. While Prager sees the social media companies as liberal outlets, the left sees them as corporate thieves who helped defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

As such, the left-wing socialists have waved the banner of support for the failing media companies who have peddled their half truths for years, arguing that they are on the front lines of democracy. (If only it were true.) But these media outlets can still write their pieces – and use the social media companies as outlets for distribution.


The big social media companies should NOT be in the fact checking business. However, they can improve upon their core distribution business by allowing people to see the source of the content placed before them and have greater control of the algorithms which tailor the content they see.

Allow people to have “freedom from fear” but not freedom from opinions of which they disagree.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Uncomfortable vs. Dangerous Free Speech

The Noose and the Nipple

Students for Justice in Palestine’s Dick Pics

The Press Are Not Guardians of the Galaxy

New York Times: “Throw the Jew Down the Well”

Ban Ki Moon Defecates on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Elie Wiesel on Words

Apostasy

Selective Speech

Subscribe YouTube channel: FirstOneThrough

Join Facebook group: FirstOne Through Israel Analysis

Time to Dissolve Key Principles of the “Inalienable Rights of Palestinians”

During the Palestinian hijacking heydays of the 1970’s, the United Nations passed an infamous resolution equating Zionism as a form of racism. While particularly odious during the years until its repeal in 1991, the underlying anti-Zionism has remained a plague at the global forum. Part of the disease lies in timeless antisemitism, while part is a fault of the flawed approach to settling the “Question of Palestine” that the UN endorsed and has continued to exacerbate.

On November 22, 1974 the UN General Assembly passed A/RES/3236 (XXIX). That resolution became the baseline of the “inalienable rights of the Palestinian people” that expanded and evolved until the present day. The text is distorted at its core, with declarations without equivalents nor precedent. The rights enumerated are gross exaggerations that cannot – and should not – ever be met.

While the resolution had a kernel of truth, it was overwhelmed with fatal flaws:

“no just solution to the problem of Palestine has yet been achieved and recognizing that the problem of Palestine continues to endanger international peace and security,”

If the Middle East has taught the world anything since the resolution was passed in 1974, it is that the Arab and Muslim nations do not need the “question of Palestine” to endanger the global community. Whether it was a war between Iran and Iraq or Iraq and Kuwait, civil wars in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen or Libya, or the terrorism in Niger, Chad, Egypt and Ethiopia, the Arab violence is seeded from and breeds its own hatreds.

“the Palestinian people is entitled to self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations”

This is probably the only true statement in the resolution of which anyone concerned with peace in the Middle East would like to see achieved. The Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs) should have citizenship somewhere. When this resolution was drafted, they had Jordanian citizenship, which was given to them in 1954 but repealed by Jordan in 1988. The Israelis also offered the Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem citizenship, but only a few thousand Arabs have taken it. A broader solution should be found.

“Expressing its grave concern that the Palestinian people has been prevented from enjoying its inalienable rights, in particular its right to self-determination,”

As noted above, the Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank had Jordanian citizenship and Israel offered Jerusalem Arabs citizenship, but it must be noted that the Arabs in Gaza were not afforded Egyptian citizenship. Was this resolution language only related to Gazans? Did it also cover the Arabs in the West Bank, since Yasser Arafat (fungus be upon him) failed to overthrow the Jordanian monarchy in 1970?

“1. Reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in Palestine, including:
(a) The right to self-determination without external interference;”

What does the phrase “without external interference” mean? That they will not be a puppet state like Lebanon is to Syria? That they won’t become a terrorist group like Hezbollah with the backing of Iran? That Palestinian Arabs are entitled to have a full-standing army that could attack Israel? When Turkey and Qatar backed Hamas in Gaza, was that considered “external interference?”

“(b) The right to national independence and sovereignty;”

This is a key fatal flaw of the 1974 resolution, which has regrettably been elaborated upon over the decades: There is no such inalienable right to independence and sovereignty. For anyone.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights established in 1948 enumerated dozens of rights that every human on the planet must have. Article 15 of the UDHR stated that “everyone has a right to a nationality.” That is it. A nationality, not a new specialized new one. Are the Kurds getting a unique UN resolution for their “independence and sovereignty?” Is Tibet? What about Western Sahara? The SAPs should have a nationality, but they have absolutely no inalienable right to national independence and sovereignty.

“2. Reaffirms also the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return;”

There is no basis in the rights of mankind to afford the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of people who left homes many decades ago to return to such homes. Especially homes that no longer exist.

Article 13 of the UDHR stated that “everyone has a right to leave any country, including his own, and return to his country.” A COUNTRY. Not a town. Not a house. Only to the country of which they were a citizen. The grandparents of today’s SAPs were not Israeli citizens when they left, and the SAPs today most certainly are not Israelis.

If this is a real issue, are the 1 million Jews that were displaced from Muslim Arab countries getting the right to return to their homes and to recover all of their property? Not only did the Jews leave homes and property, but they actually left A COUNTRY. I have yet to see any UN General Assembly resolution drafted asking for such “inalienable right” for the Jews from Arab lands. Maybe Yemen is working on a draft resolution now.

“3. Emphasizes that full respect for and the realization of these inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are indispensable for the solution of the question of Palestine;

The question of Palestine revolves around giving the SAPs citizenship – either in a new country of Palestine or Israel or Jordan or somewhere. Returning to homes and property is neither a right nor part of “the solution.”

“6. Appeals to all States and international organizations to extend their support to the Palestinian people in its struggle to restore its rights, in accordance with the Charter;”

This UN resolution called for the countries of the world to “support the Palestinian people in its struggle.” Such a statement is not just a flawed call for rights that do not exist as detailed above, but a call to take sides in the conflict. It declared that “all States” should work against Israel. How could the UN possibly imagine that Israel would ever take any UNGA resolution seriously, after declaring openly that it is a biased party in the dispute?


Palestinian flag at the United Nations in New York


The Israelis and Palestinian Authority were last able to reach mutual agreements when they signed the Oslo Accords in 1993 and 1995. Those agreements NEVER mentioned a “two state solution” anywhere. They also do not mention any rights to “homes and property,” just the generic issue of “refugees.” And the accords do not ask the world to advocate on behalf of fake “inalienable rights.”

On December 17, 1991, the UNGA finally rescinded the Zionsim is racism resolution after intensive lobbying and threats by the United States under President George Bush. At that time, US Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger said that rescinding the resolution improved the “reputation for fairness and impartiality” of the UN. It arguably helped create the environment for the Oslo Accords.

It is similarly time to rescind UNGA Resolution 3236 and to put the parties on a course for an enduring peace that is actually achievable, with a fair and responsible United Nations as a facilitator as oppose to a perpetual hindrance.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables It to Only Find Fault With Israel

The United Nations’ Remorse for “Creating” Israel

Losing Rights

Ban Ki Moon Defecates on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The UN’s Disinterest in Jewish Rights at Jewish Holy Places

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

A “Viable” Palestinian State

The UN’s #Alternative Facts about the 1967 Six Day War

Subscribe YouTube channel: FirstOneThrough

Join Facebook group: FirstOne Through  Israel Analysis

Ban Ki Moon Defecates on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

One of the basic laws established on December 10, 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the ability to change one’s religion. Yet apostasy – converting from Islam – remains a capital offense in various countries including: Afghanistan; Brunei; Mauritania; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Sudan; United Arab Emirates; and Yemen.

So how did the outgoing Secretary General of the United Nations choose to recognize the basic rights of people? He rewarded one of those countries with a “humanitarian” post.

On December 8, 2016 – two days before the anniversary of the UDHR – Ban Ki Moon announced that Ahmed Al Meraikhi of Qatar would be his Humanitarian Envoy.  The press release included the role of that position:

“The Humanitarian Envoy will ensure stronger linkages between the United Nations and decision makers in Qatar and the broader region.  His overall objective will focus on supporting multilateral humanitarian response efforts by raising the profile of humanitarian crises with Governments and non-governmental organizations and increasing their engagement with the international humanitarian community.”

Imagine that a country that flagrantly defies the basic premise of human rights is awarded with a position by the same United Nations.

It underscores the current farce of the United Nations and its embarrassment to humanity.

ban-ki-moon-9-16
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon


Related First.One.Through articles:

An Easy Boycott: Al Jazeera (Qatar)

Al Jazeera (Qatar) Evicts Jews and Judaism from Jerusalem. Time to Return the Favor

The Holocaust and the Nakba

Goodbye Moon

The Termination Shock of Survivors

Elie Wiesel on Words

Subscribe YouTube channel: FirstOneThrough

Join Facebook group: FirstOne Through  Israel Analysis

 

Apostasy

In response to the mass and gross atrocities committed by Nazi Germany in World War II, the world sought to enshrine a list of basic human rights which were due to every person on the planet. In December 1948,  the United Nations passed those laws as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UDHR.

Today, many members of the United Nations continue to routinely trample on those rights.

For example, Article 18 of the UDHR provides for the freedom of religion and worship:

  • “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

The action of changing one’s religion is called “apostasy”. Not only is it considered a crime in many countries, several Islamic countries consider it a capital offense according to their established law:

  • Afghanistan
  • Brunei
  • Mauritania
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sudan
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Yemen

Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag
Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag sentenced to death by hanging in Sudan for apostasy,
May 2014

Not all Islamic countries call for killing apostates, but many still criminalize the act of leaving Islam by punishing the apostate with civil penalties including negating the person’s inheritance and nullifying their marriage.

In some countries, specifically: Mauritania; Saudi Arabia; Jordan; and Yemen, individuals can be charged with apostasy for simple matters of writing something negative or controversial about Islam, even a post on social media.

Here is a summary of some countries laws regarding apostasy.

  • Afghanistan: Apostasy is considered a serious offense and persons so charged may “possibly face death by stoning, deprivation of all property and possessions, and/or the invalidation of their marriages.
  • Brunei: A Muslim who declares himself non-Muslim is punishable with death, or with imprisonment for a term not exceeding thirty years and corporal punishment, depending on the type of evidence.
  • Egypt: There have been cases where people have been placed in jail or marriages nullified due to apostasy.
  • Iran: While Iranian law does not provide for the death penalty for apostasy, the courts can hand down that punishment, and have done so in previous years, based on their interpretation of Sharia’a law and fatwas.
  • Jordan: While there is no express statutory prohibition on apostasy, conversion trials are heard by Islamic courts and may be instituted by any member of the community. According to Islamic law, there are consequences when Muslims adopt religions other than Islam.  For instance, if someone is convicted of apostasy, the Islamic courts adjudicating matters of personal status have the power to void the person’s marriage and deny his/her right to inherit from a spouse and from Muslim relatives.
  • Kuwait: According to Law 51 of 1984 on Personal Status, which is based on Islamic Sharia law, Under Article 18, the marriage of a non-Muslim man to a Muslim woman is considered annulled. Article 145 of the aforementioned law applies such legal and religious principle to Muslim husbands that might adopt other religions than Islam during the marital relationship. Moreover, under article 294 of this law, an apostate is not able to inherent from his Muslim relatives or marital spouse.
  • Mauritania: Apostasy is punished under article 306 of the Mauritanian Criminal Code.  This article provides that “any Muslim guilty of the crime of apostasy” is to be given the opportunity to repent within three days.  If the accused does not repent within that period, he/she is to be sentenced to death, and all of his/her property shall be confiscated by the government.

Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed
Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed sentenced to death for article about Islam,
December 2014

  • Morocco: In April 2013, the Supreme Council of Religious Scholars issued a religious decree (fatwa) that Moroccan Muslims who leave Islam must be sentenced to death.
  • Pakistan: There is no specific statutory law that criminalizes apostasy in Pakistan.  In 2007, a bill to impose the death penalty for apostasy for males and life imprisonment for females was proposed in Parliament but failed to pass.
  • Qatar: While apostasy is one of the offenses subject to the death penalty, Qatar has not imposed any penalty for this offense since its independence in 1971.
  • Saudi Arabia:  Islamic law imposes the death penalty on apostates based on statements attributed to the Prophet Mohammed.
  • Sudan: Article 126 of the Sudanese Penal Code, on apostasy, provides that any Muslim who declares publicly that he/she has adopted any religion other than Islam commits the crime of apostasy and is punishable with the death penalty.
  • Tunisia: Has begun to institute new laws to protect people from Sharia law regarding apostasy. Article 6 of the Tunisian Constitution of 2014 protects its citizens by preventing any attacks against them based on accusations of apostasy.
  • UAE: Article 66 states that among the “original punishments” under the law are the punishments of hudud crimes, including by imposing the death penalty.  However, there have been no known prosecutions or legal punishments for apostasy in court.
  • Yemen: The crime of apostasy may be subject to the death penalty by virtue of Article 12 of the Yemen Penal Code of 1994, as amended by Law 24 of 2006, which identifies crimes, including apostasy, that are punished according to the provisions of Islamic Sharia.  Furthermore, Article 259 provides that individuals committing the act of apostasy may be punished with the death penalty.

KSA apostasy
Man in Saudi Arabia to be beheaded for ripping up Quran,
February 2015

These laws are often not considered radical by the country’s citizens.  Many Muslims in the world specifically support the death penalty for apostasy.  The countries with the highest percentage calling for the murder of converts:

  • Egypt 88%
  • Jordan 82%
  • Afghanistan 79%
  • Palestinians 66%
  • Pakistan 62%
  • Malaysia 62%

Have you ever seen a censure in the United Nations against any of these countries for trampling a basic human right?



Sources:

Country apostasy review: http://www.loc.gov/law/help/apostasy/index.php

Pregnant Sudanese woman gets death sentence for apostasy: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/05/sudan-woman-given-death-penalty-apostasy-20145159264775754.html

Vast majority of Muslims support death penalty for apostasy: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/05/01/64-percent-of-muslims-in-egypt-and-pakistan-support-the-death-penalty-for-leaving-islam/

Related First One Through article:

Blasphemy: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/blasphemy-or-terrorism/

US Working with Countries with terrible human rights records: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/dancing-with-the-asteroids/