Thursday, April 02, 2015

Anonymous Threatens Israel with "Electronic Holocaust" One Week Before Holocaust Remembrance Day...

The hacker group known as Anonymous is planning an "electronic holocaust" against Israel on April 7th. Their stated goal is to "take down [Israeli] servers, government websites, Israeli military websites, and Israeli institutions" and to send "a message to the youth of Palestine: you are a symbol of freedom, resistance and hope".

The planned electronic holocaust is to take place one week before the actual Holocaust Remembrance Day, known as Yom HaShoah, on April 15-16th.

Without even taking a side in the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, let us list the many reasons why this is a disgrace.

For starters, the term "holocaust" is of such great import and serious meaning that it's not something to be thrown around mindlessly.  The very phrase "electronic holocaust" is a display of ignorance.  A "holocaust" refers to the murder of an entire class of people.  Simply by equating murder with "taking down a server" ought to be pretty instructive about all anyone needs to know about Anonymous.  And their very use of the phrase "electronic holocaust" degrades the seriousness of what a holocaust even refers to.  Whether you support the Israeli or the Palestinian cause, I'm pretty sure every rational person would agree that taking down a server is not in the same category as genocide, and it's completely offensive to suggest otherwise.

Also, Anonymous is repeating the strategic problem it faces in almost every action it takes.  I've criticized the group in this blog before for how it seeks to fight censorship through... censorship.  It fights to promote free speech by... denying others the ability to speak.  They claim to be in the service of protecting civil liberties, yet over and over again their strategy has been to intimidate, censor, defame, and outright launch attacks against individuals and institutions who don't agree with their worldview.  Their hypocrisy lies in their tactics being diametrically opposed to the values of civil society which they claim to support.

So here's an idea.  On April 7th, when Anonymous pushes their "holocaust", people ought to fight back by posting all over social media that "Taking down a server is not the same thing as genocide #FightAnonymous".  Because, by the way, collective action in support of civil liberties is best accomplished through the actual exercise of those civil liberties, and not through their destruction.