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Gaza Debate Goes Virtual 644

Posted by Soulskill
from the fighting-with-tweets-and-mashups dept.
Ian Lamont writes "The war of words over the conflict in Gaza has moved from the real world to the Internet. Besides a furious stream of mini-debates on Twitter between supporters of and critics of Israel's military actions, there have also been demonstrations in Second Life at an Israel-themed sim and a collection of Facebook applications, including 'QassamCount' and 'Stop Israel's war crimes in Gaza.' Another project — 'mapping the war in Gaza' — was launched by Al Jazeera and takes user-submitted reports, tweets, and Microsoft Virtual Earth to track the number of casualties and other developments." In addition to this, the series of website defacements we discussed a few days ago has now extended to sites controlled by NATO and the US Army.
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Gaza Debate Goes Virtual

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  • Second life sim (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 10, 2009 @12:22PM (#26398875)

    there have also been demonstrations in Second Life at an Israel-themed sim

    ...and it's only a matter of time until the virtual Islamic trolls fire virtual rockets and bomb their virtual busses while cowardly hiding amongst virtual women and children.

    • by alcmaeon (684971) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @12:37PM (#26398993)
      yeah, and the virtual Jews can bewail their virtual victimhood while carpet bombing virtual UN safe houses and virtual civilian populations with virtual US supplied advanced weapons.
      • correction (Score:5, Insightful)

        by alcmaeon (684971) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @12:41PM (#26399025)

        I should have said "virtual Zionists" instead of "virtual Jews" since a lot of Jews, including Israeli ones, have courageously condemned Israel's actions.

        Israel, the Jewish state, wants to conflate itself with all Jews, and obfuscate the reality, but the fact is, it doesn't speak for all Jews anymore than Saudi Arabia speaks for all Muslims.

        • Re:correction (Score:5, Informative)

          by h4rm0ny (722443) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @01:09PM (#26399287) Journal

          Yep - you definitely should have, but you more than make up for it by attempting to counter the Israeli government's attempts to portray Jewish = Supporter of Israeli Government. To provide a little balance, there are some pretty nasty people who pretend that they represent the Arab people when they clearly are some its worst enemies (Egyptian rulership, I'm looking at you). Would it kill the Egyptians to open the Gaza gate and let some aid and supplies through? Well no, it wouldn't, but it might cost them some favours from the US government.
          • Re:correction (Score:5, Insightful)

            by burris (122191) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @01:26PM (#26399431)

            Would it kill the Egyptians to open the Gaza gate and let some aid and supplies through? Well no, it wouldn't, but it might cost them some favours from the US government.

            As Egypt has consistently pointed out, Gaza is occupied by Israel so it's up to Israel whether the border is opened. Ignoring Israel would jeopardize the peace they have found with them.

            • also (Score:3, Insightful)

              That's true, but it's also convenient for Egypt to keep things this way because it gives the Egyptian government (like the other Arab governments in the region) a very convenient distraction from all of its domestic problems. Hey, Egyptians, ignore our mismanagement of the economy, the torture that goes on in our prisons, and the pervasive corruption in our government -- instead, get angry at what the Israelis are doing to our Palestinian brethren! In the end these governments don't really want to help th

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by hkmwbz (531650)

              Gaza is occupied by Israel

              It is not. Israel pulled out in 2005 or so.

              it's up to Israel whether the border is opened

              Israel decides when Egypt is to open its borders?

          • Re:correction (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Idiomatick (976696) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @02:47PM (#26400201)

            Yes, Yes it would kill them. Probably not as bad as the gazans but letting gazans escape into Egypt without israels permission (which it wont give). Could very well jeopardize Egypts safety. Israel has given them very stern warnings about this, and no body wants to be israels next target. Cowardly? Sure. But they are doing it so the barrel doesnt swing south west.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by b4upoo (166390)

            Perhaps I am some sort of dim bulb but I see the Gaza situation as being quite simple. People who live in Israel understand that the existence of Israel is not popular with many Arabs. That will never change but it does nothing to confront the reality that Israel will persist in its existence for some time to come.
            The second thought that I think would occur to most people is that any nation that is under fire from rockets has the right to inv

            • by arminw (717974) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @07:44PM (#26402967)

              ...Frankly in twenty or thirty years I seriously doubt that Israel can survive....

              Which is diametrically opposed to countless passages in the Bible, specifically the Old Testament. There it is predicted that the Jewish people would be scattered among the nations, who would hate them. Furthermore we read in these sacred texts that Jerusalem would be under Gentile control until the time of the Gentiles (nations) is fulfilled.

              It is also prophesied that near the end of history, these people would be gathered again into the very real estate promised to Abraham. It also states that Jerusalem would once again come under Jewish rule.

              The last, final scattering happened in 70AD under the auspices of the Roman General Titus Vespasian. There was no nation of Israel for all the intervening centuries until 1948 and Jerusalem was under the domination of a number of gentile rulers, none of them Jews. That changed in 1967 when that city once again became part of Israel, after having been under foreign rule since long before Jesus Christ was on Earth. The Hebrew language is also the ONLY once dead ancient language ever to come back to life for everyday use in living people.

              We read that at some point ALL nations, (under the UN banner?) will come together for a battle (Armageddon) in a valley just north of Jerusalem. It will be the last battle of the last war before control of this planet will once again revert to the on who made it in the first place -- God the Son, Jesus Christ. Just before foolish humans manage to render themselves extinct by war and pollution, He will enforce His peace terms at last on bickering, strife and war torn humanity. The capitol, seat of government, for the entire planet, will be Jerusalem, as it was promised to Israel's King David more than 3000 years ago.

              Just as surely that 1948 and 1967 events were history written in advance, by the One eternal God who exists outside of and sees all time, the rest of what is written in these sacred writings will come to pass at the appointed time and place. All the nukes on the planet cannot and will not change what the eternal Creator God has planned for Israel and all the rest of the inhabitants of this third rock from the sun. We humans have this grand illusion that we are in charge of our own ultimate destiny. I am sure glad that someone more righteous than mere humans is the ultimate boss of the universe.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          How nice of you to tell people what the Jews of Israel really believe. It's a pity that you got that off stormfront rather than reality. Israel doesn't try to exclude non Jews the way Muslim nations do to non-Muslims. They live in a bloody war zone, surrounded by Arabs that have been trying to ethnically cleanse since WW1. When "Zionists" were legally migrating back to their old homeland and buying up land from the Ottoman Empire, it was considered worthless wasteland until they developed it into garden. Af

          • Re:correction (Score:5, Informative)

            by Idiomatick (976696) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @03:03PM (#26400321)

            Pst. It isn't their old homeland. Even if you read the bible god expelled the jews from the area. They have never owned or run any land in the area, they lived in the region sure. Oh and the orriginal Zionists were terrorists that carved a chunk out of muslim land for themself. After the holocaust nobody could politically say anything bad about the jewish people. And they were pitied so they were given land which had been promised to return to muslims. The borders were more than shaky since its inception and have since that date ever increased in israels favour thanks to them being significantly richer than their neighbors. Oh and as for expulsion, arabs have been expelled from israel more than a few times, the arabic population in israel is much much smaller than it was in the 80s obviously.

          • Re:correction (Score:5, Interesting)

            by makomk (752139) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @04:42PM (#26401195) Journal
            The way the early Jewish settlers founded Israel was nowhere near as rosy as you claim. Basically, Palestine underwent mass immigration of Jews, starting with the growth of anti-Semitism in Europe, and hugely changing the population make-up. This had the same ugly results as such immigration usually does - paranoia, violence, murder, the usual. The Jewish population responded with more violence and terrorism. Britain tried limiting immigration to keep a lid on the situation, but were attacked by Jewish terrorists and driven out.

            In the end, the British and UN proposed a two-state solution, which was accepted by most of the Jewish population (but notably not the Jewish terrorist organisations). However, the Arab nations weren't happy, since it involved kicking out the current Arab residents of the areas making up the proposed Jewish nation (i.e. the majority of the residents of said areas) - they wanted a one-state solution. The Jewish leaders declared independence prematurely, the surrounding nations invaded "to protect the Arab population", and in the end the Zionists won (and carried out a lot of ethnic cleansing in the process). Then they seized the land of Arabs who'd left or been forced out, without compensation, and handed it to Jews.

            Also, you need some historical perspective:

            Israel doesn't try to exclude non Jews the way Muslim nations do to non-Muslims.

            Muslim nations didn't, in general, exclude Jews up until the founding of Israel. You additionally neglected to mention that Jews have a special right to citizenship that other people don't, and that a lot of the housing is Jewish-only. (Oh, and there's lots of racism, too.)

            When "Zionists" were legally migrating back to their old homeland and buying up land from the Ottoman Empire, it was considered worthless wasteland until they developed it into garden

            Not really. Firstly, people had been living there for millenia - it wasn't great compared to what the Jewish immigrants were used to, but it was hardly worthless wasteland. Secondly, converting arid land into something close to garden isn't hard - you just need some infrastructure and loads of water. A lot of said water was (and is) obtained from taking far more than their fair share of common rivers and water supplies - basically, they stole it. Despite this, and strict regulation of water use, they still ended up with unsustainable usage - and that's going to catch up with them in the future.

        • by Peaker (72084)

          You won't find many non-Zionist Jews in Israel.

          Non-Zionists believe Israel has no right to exist, and that creating a refuge country for persecuted Jews around the world is not worth the trouble.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DriedClexler (814907)

      Actually, now that you mention it, when I was on Second Life, I made a few items that could be useful in virtual warfare.

      1) Virtual covert activities: I scripted listening bugs and planted them in people's virtual apartments so I could hear them in non-IM chats.

      2) Virtual propaganda: I scripted objects named after people so that I could put words in people's mouths by having the objects say offensive stuff.[*]

      3) Virtual charity laundering: I scripted a bank so that people could hide their money. On certain

    • Terrorism is horrible. That being said, how many Palestinians die for every Israeli? Last time I checked 8 Israeli's died because of the rockets and there have been well over 500 Palestinian deaths as a result of the Israel's latest military action. I used to be pro Israel. Now I'm not so sure. The death toll is very lopsided and it isn't exactly a new development. The whole thing is disturbing and both sides are at fault.
      • Something about not picking a fight you can't win comes to mind.

      • by Octorian (14086)

        You cannot judge conflict simply by the body count. What you're doing is punishing Israel for actually training their soldiers and building bomb shelters for their people.

        Also, believe it or not, Israel goes out of their way to avoid killing innocent civilians. The problem is that Gaza is so heavily populated, and that the militants hide amongst civilians, so keeping things clean and meeting objectives is pretty much impossible. If Israel actually *wanted* to massacre people, the numbers would be *much*

      • by sycodon (149926)

        What? You think war should be fair?

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Fortunately, the worse that can happen on Second Life is an attack of flying penises... The Second Life is far more forgiving than the first one.
  • by Scareduck (177470) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @12:28PM (#26398919) Homepage Journal
    What, how does this go? Infidel! Terrorist! Am not. Are so! Twitter: insanely useless or just a huge waste of time?
    • by DriedClexler (814907) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @12:33PM (#26398973)

      In a submission I made that didn't get accepted, I linked the New York Times [] article on Israel's use of Twitter to give their side (israelconsulate page) []. Favorite response?

      israelconsulate: we R pro nego[tiation]. crntly tlks r held w the PA + tlks on the 2 state soln. we talk only w/ ppl who accept R rt 2 live."

    • by timeOday (582209)

      What, how does this go? Infidel! Terrorist! Am not. Are so! Twitter: insanely useless or just a huge waste of time?

      On the other hand, this war - even more than most - really is fought through public opinion. Israel could be slaughtered if they lose US backing, while Gaza is being slaughtered because they haven't yet won the backing of a powerful and willing ally.

    • by Cally (10873)

      No, it goes:

      Israel: <intense, ten days of round-the-clock barrage of artillery shells, H.E., white phosphorus, and assault rifle fire>

      Hamas: Silence! I keeeel you []!

  • Subject (Score:2, Funny)

    by z-j-y (1056250)

    Twitter debate? So Jews and Muslims follow each other on twitter?

  • by Samschnooks (1415697) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @12:32PM (#26398963)
    It sounds like having a "discussion" about this conflict is a great way to generate traffic to ones website.
  • by feepness (543479) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @12:45PM (#26399075) Homepage
    Since my side is completely blameless and your side is the obvious aggressor.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 10, 2009 @01:10PM (#26399293)
    No really. The definitive solution : me move all palestinian to say, the south pole. We move all Israelien to the north Pole. We let them cool down there. Then while everybody is gone, we double check no living being are left in the "holy" shitty land. Then we put atom bomb at regular space, to transform the whole shebang in a giant parking lot. Once this is done, we SALT the earth. In depth. Once this is done, we put all kind of traps, mine, bomb, automated gun sentries. Anybody trying to go back on their shitty holy land get blasted to smithern. Problem solved.
  • Some twenty eras ago people suggested that many conflicts might better had been solved by chess. Today, a Quake Deathmatch seems more appropriate.. And, it is virtual.


  • When was the last time the Palestinians tried non-violent protests?

    It would be very hard for Israel to justify a military response against people who openly acknowledge they have no desire for violence.

    They would probably do it anyway, but world opinion would be decidedly different I suspect.

    Instead you get geniuses who bring a knife to a machine gun fight, and complain that they're getting shot at for firing rockets into civilian areas.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Why do you think that the whole security council of UN except USA wants Israel to stop its current attack ?

      Palestinians used to have Yasser Arafat as a leader, a Peace Nobel Prize. Israel didn't want to negociate with him and played a big role in his death. There are a lot of things that are very hard to justify for Israel, which is a nation that is considered democratic, developed and that plays a role on the international scene. This is why many people try to pressure it. Saying that Israel does things
    • by ragnathor (955771) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @01:43PM (#26399589)

      Try everyday in small villages no one gives a shit about. Read Palestinian media and Arab news and you'll see plenty of non-violent protests (one sided reporting of course).

      What happens at these non-violent protests, such as demonstrations against the construction of the "security wall" in the West Bank? The protesters get stoned by right wing Israeli settlers, or are dispersed by tear gas and rubber bullets from the Israeli army.

      • Irrelevant (Score:2, Insightful)

        by GuloGulo (959533)

        "What happens at these non-violent protests, such as demonstrations against the construction of the "security wall" in the West Bank? The protesters get stoned by right wing Israeli settlers, or are dispersed by tear gas and rubber bullets from the Israeli army

        Which is EXACTLY what they want.

        Then some fucking imbecile fires off some rockets at Israel and undoes every single bit of sympathy those people who got stoned and shot at earned with their blood.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      When was the last time the Palestinians tried non-violent protests?

      Non-violent demonstrations happen all the time (but they don't get much press in the USA). The kind of "non-violent" civil disobedience that Gandhi used just gets people arrested by the Israeli military (and very few people in the USA even notice).

      So, actually, the Palestinians are trying both violent and non-violent approaches (and neither has had much success) - but it's the violent approaches that you hear about in the USA because it allows Israel to justify what it's doing to the Palestinians.

      • You are wrong (Score:2, Insightful)

        by GuloGulo (959533)

        "So, actually, the Palestinians are trying both violent and non-violent approaches"

        No, they aren't.

        ANY attempt at non-violence protest is immediately and totally undermined by accompanying violence. You cannot have any credibility when you are protesting non-violently in one place, and using violence in another

        It's one or the other, and Palestinians chose violence.

        And it's really telling how many people cam out of the woodwork to defend violence, or give lame idiotic excuses for why non-violence won't work

  • by ZekoMal (1404259) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @01:29PM (#26399463)
    Why does it have a right to exist? I understand perfectly well that the good ol' Bible tells us Israel ought exist, but it didn't exist for a while because everyone sacked the place and took it as their own. We didn't bring back Rome Israel or Persia Israel; we brought back the first Israel, for the 'league of nations' opted to do it. After the first World War. Now, I'm not that good with math...but from the end of the reign of a Judaism country to World War 1....gonna guess other people lived there.

    To give you a faaaaint idea of what I'm hinting at. Imagine if the US wasn't in the UN, and the UN decided that Native Americans needed their land back. So, they gave them the entire east coast of the US, to be their land. They were given basically whatever they wanted, and they began to push the US citizens gradually to the west, claiming various areas that are more desirable than others (IE, they take Yellowstone national park, leave us Death valley). They are far richer than the US citizens, and have far more support (although Canada and Mexico support the US citizens, lets just say the UN has marked them as third world terrorists). So, let's say that the US citizens scrap together some money, and a small group that want to win back their land, bomb the native Americans. The retaliation? The natives start bombing the civilians that didn't have a thing to do with it. They keep bombing, despite the UN telling them to stop.

    Seems like a stretch.

    Of course, I don't see why Israel was reinstated. People lived there after the Israelites got wiped out, and then the rest of the world told the Palestinians (arguably not the same exact people who did this), were told to shove over.

    I'll probably get modded troll's very mean and uncool to be pro-Palestine civilians. Nope, if you think Israel is wrong, you are a pro-terrorist.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ppc_digger (961188)
      This [] presentation has a little more truth in it than the parent's post.
    • by jjohnson (62583) on Saturday January 10, 2009 @02:43PM (#26400147) Homepage

      You're massively underinformed about the history of that specific region and the formation of Israel. Rather than type it up here, I'll refer you to Wikipedia for the (very contentious) history of Palestine, which gives a reasonably balanced view.

      I'll address your analogy, though: Israel's right to exist is inherent in the same right to exist that most nations have. They have successfully defended their territory in three wars (and it's in those wars that were launched against them that they expanded their territory). It's not noble, it's not morally right (or wrong), it's just how most nations come into existence and stay there. The U.S. was founded by settlers who moved in on the natives, took over their land, and used force to marginalize them on reserves. If, by your argument, you're saying that Israel has no "right to exist", then neither does the U.S.

      As a general matter of history, the early 20th century was dominated by the idea that every distinct people should have a homeland. Much of the border drawing following WWI was done with that in mind, and Zionism is only the most successful of a wide variety of ethno-nationalist movements from the early 20th century, largely because they were able to defend themselves in those three wars.

  • and exactly how many battalions does virtual have?
  • You can use [] for a continuous Al Jazeera (English) feed that you won't get on your cable. I won't claim it's objective, but I don't think you'll hear an unfiltered viewpoint from the "other side" in the U.S. media. Also, they have the only reporters inside of Gaza, since Israel has apparently banned the mainstream media.

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