Monday, December 10, 2007

How do you say "No Facebook" in Arabic?

In case you missed it, here's some week-old news from that noted hub of tolerance, Syria.

Can there be a more destructive force in the universe than Facebook? According to Damascus, the answer is, "No, there cannot be."

Heaven forbid Jews and Arabs find a way to build bridges with each other without it being some sort of Mossad plot to overthrow the magnificently benevolent regime of Bashar Assad.

Syria blocks Facebook access, citing Israeli 'infiltration'
The Associated Press

Friday, December 7, 2007

Syrian authorities have blocked Facebook, the popular Internet hangout, over what seems to be fears of Israeli "infiltration" of Syrian social networks on the Net, according to residents and media reports. Residents of Damascus said that they have not been able to enter Facebook for more than two weeks. An Associated Press reporter got a blank page when he tried to open Facebook's home page Friday from the Syrian capital. Syrian officials were not available for comment Friday because of the Muslim weekend, but some reports have suggested that the ban was intended to prevent Israeli users from infiltrating Syrian social networks. Lebanon's daily As-Safir reported that Facebook was blocked on Nov. 18. It said the authorities took the step because Israelis have been entering Syria-based groups. Human rights groups have regularly criticized Syrian authorities for blocking opposition sites and Internet sites critical of President Bashar Assad's government. Former President Hafez Assad's death in 2000 after three decades of authoritarian rule raised hopes of a freer society under his British-educated son and successor. But the younger Assad cracked down on political opponents and human rights activists, putting many of them in jail.
The Internet – apparently rapidly becoming the next "Great Satan".


FrumDaddy said...

According to, Facebook is the 8th most popular website in Syria today.

Blintzkrieg said...

Interesting. I wonder how Alexa compiles it's stats...

Jorge said...

(Blintzkrieg - I've posted this comment on the JUMP article too in response to yours).

I understand your point, Blintz. I would think that Heebonics could only benefit from having real names listed.

I have downloaded several Heebonics pages from the cjnews website and see that the stories are written by staff reporters (e.g. Sheri Shefa), whose names appear on other stories posted through the website. Why can't those reporters put their names on their blog postings that have little or no editorializing?

This JUMP story is a good example. There's nothing that shows kosherspeare's personal opinions or biases. What couldn't he/she just use his/her real name? I'd like to hear your response.

Blintzkrieg said...

Hi Jorge,

That's something to consider. I, and the rest of my colleagues at Heebonics, appreciate your comments (to say nothing of your continued patronage on the blog).

We'll be sure to engage in some lively, internal debate on the matter in the new year.

Out of curiosity, how big is the Jewish community in Mexico?

Jorge said...

Here in Mexico City we have about 40,000 Jews, evenly split between Ashkenazim and Sepharadim. Chabad has a growing presence here too. Most of our youth attends Jewish day schools.

We live a prosperous life without the problems that Jews in other Latin American countries (Venezuela, Argentina) face daily.

Blintzkrieg said...

That's really interesting, Jorge. 40,000 is a sizeable community.

Have relations always been good between the government and Jews in Mexico?

Jorge said...

Jews have mostly had good relation with previous Mexican governments. Presidente Fox has done quite a lot to bolster his image with the Mexican Jewish community.

Blintzkrieg said...


What initiatives has Presidente Fox introduced?

also, I'm curious about the demograohics of the Jewish community in Mexico. Is it an aging one? And is it concentrated mainly in Mexico City?

Jorge said...

Presidente Fox passed laws against discrimination several years ago. They were mostly a formality, but included outlawing antisemitism. Overall, things have been good for us in Mexico.

Many of the youth leave for the United States and Israel when they're in the 20s. However, we have a growing number who stay and are committed to life in Mexico, which has allowed our Jewish population to remain constant in recent years. With so many of our children in day schools, we feel we have an advantage over many other North American Jewish communities that struggle with rampant intermarriage. We also have made inroads in welcoming conversos back into the fold.

As Zionistic as we are (and we are ardent supporters of Israel), we're hopeful that our future will continue to be bright living in Mexico.

Anonymous said...

I'm Lebanese but live in America.
I don't like facebook but have MySpace, Xanga, AIM, Yahoo, MSN.

And btw.
No Facebook would be "La haadha Facebook" Which means I have no FaceBook.