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August 13, 2014

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David,

As is often the case, you are right up to a point. Excessive political posting, particularly of a fringe or inflammatory nature, is genuinely irritating behaviour and often a legitimate cause for unfriending or worse.

But the recent "shitstorm" over Israel and Hamas' recent altercation highlighted a legitimate rationale for posting political content actively. During the conflict, the bulk of the posts were strident and one-sided, and many of those posts were directed at seeking the affirmation of allies or outing the hostile.

What I found were that my own views (a pro-Israel view tempered by support for a two-state solution and long-standing opposition to Prime Minister Netanyahu, and as sense that the conflict was giving license to anti-Semitic conversations and behavior) were not being well represented in the general flow of traffic. So, when I found content reflecting those views, I shared it, even though I knew it would be irrelevant to many of my connections.

I lost about a half-dozen Facebook friends in the last weeks, and jettisoned a similar number for crossing some red lines during the online debate. Of course, I would have deeply preferred that the whole discussion been unnecessary. But sometimes, there is a need to speak on these channels, even if the message isn't intended for everyone.

Mike, you make a good point--one that, had it occurred to me while writing my post, would have caused me to temper it that one degree. Or two:

That is, there are times when one legitimately feels a special stake and a heightened responsibility to speak out. Many of my Jewish friends have been posting more political stuff than usual lately (on a number of sides of that conversation), and I haven't begrudged them a bit, even if I haven't religiously read everything they've written.

And there are also times--elections, national debates on whether to go to war--when MOST of us feel a special stake, and each of us feels it important to publicly state which side we're on.

I'm talking about people who in neutral, normal times (so obviously, I'm talking in THEORY, cuz times never do feel neutral or normal) post political opinions as if they're being paid to do it ... by us.

When in reality, we might consider paying them NOT to.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Mike.

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