Update (6/6/2019): Benay Blend, writing on Mondoweiss about my Quora case: “Other Jewish writers and readers on Quora felt they could more easily bring me back into the fold, whereas many, especially Israeli Jews, who are strongly represented there, consider Palestinians as Other, never to be admitted into chosen ranks. At one point, one of the administrators for a Space called “Strength in Unity,” a space devoted to Palestinian/Jewish dialogue (and really one of the clearest examples of “normalization” I have ever come across), tried to convince me that our Jewish rituals are all linked to Israeli landscapes, so it would be good for me to switch my love of the New Mexican desert, where I live, over to my “homeland” which she felt should be Israel. When that didn’t work, I’m pretty sure she reported me as violating the Be Nice, Be Respectful policy.”
“Rima Najjar and Benay Blend are just not right for Quora at this time,” writes Cynthia Chan, a Top Writer at Quora, “When they change their attitudes and support a two-state solution, then maybe, just maybe, we’ll welcome them back into the fold.”
Chan wrote the above in answer to a question posted in a Quora Topic called “Specific Quora Users”.
In the letter I wrote to Tatiana Esteves, Writer Relations Administrator at Quora, I noted, “It is clear to me, and to many others on Quora, that this ban, while on the surface seems to be concerned with civility on Quora [in reference to the Be Nice, Be respectful (BNBR) policy she claimed I had violated], is more about ‘how I engage in Quora’ in terms of my political point of view.”
The following answer and ensuing comments make it clear that I was right. Quora uses rules of civility to contain Palestine speech within certain ideological boundaries and, at the same time, serves as a hasbara venue to post outright disinformation. Not only is “pro-Palestine” speech unwelcome, it is also falsely characterized as a call “for exterminating the Jews.” In expressing her views about what is acceptable “pro-Palestine” speech, Chan says, “You can be all for establishing a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip, but without calling for the destruction of Israel.”
The disinformation and ignorance of the facts exhibited here in Chan’s answer and the comments that follow it finds its way into google searches for “knowledge and information” — the spreading of which is Quora’s raison d’être.
Why has Quora banned Rima Najjar and Benay Blend?
This topic is for content about specific Quora users. Questions, answers and reviews with this topic are only shown in feed to people who follow the topic. This topic should not be applied to content about Quora users who are well known outside of Quora.
For reviews about people, please see: What is Quora’s Policy on Protecting Individuals?
Cynthia Chan, Top Writer 2018
Because they are pro-Palestine.
As the admin of Rules of Decorum, I’ve had to decline a submission of Rima’s because I feared that a flame war would result from what she posted. A lot of what she posted and answered seemed to be very pro-Palestine and anti-Israel, and this article that she submitted was no exception.
Flame wars are not what we want on Quora. It’s one thing to be pro-Palestinian, but another to be anti-Israel. A good friend of mine suggested a two-state solution, but that doesn’t seem to be what the two banned users are supporting.
Rima Najjar and Benay Blend are just not right for Quora at this time. When they change their attitudes and support a two-state solution, then maybe, just maybe, we’ll welcome them back into the fold. But until then, I’ll have to admit that Quora did the right thing here.
Too bad for them.
Comments: Michael Shtalman
“very pro-Palestine and anti-Israel” — — I don’t believe the destruction of Israel serves the best interests of Palestinian Arabs. Similarly, when the German Nazis exterminated the Jews, it only hurt Germans in the end.
Thus, “very pro-Palestine and anti-Israel” sounds like an oxymoron to me. These people are anti-everybody, they are misanthropes.
Original Author · 16h ago
You can be all for establishing a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip, but without calling for the destruction of Israel. The two-state solution is best, but not all parties are willing to accept it as a solution.
Following is Doug Sandlin’s right-on-the-nose but somewhat resigned answer to the question, “Why has Quora banned Rima Najjar and Benay Blend?” Sandlin frames the situation in careful terms, but clearly shows the topsy-turvy nature of the discourse on human rights on this issue:
Doug Sandlin, have studied issues related to Palestine for many years
Because Quora reflects the cultural attitudes of the U.S., where speaking up in favor of human rights for Palestinians is often arbitrarily punished in ways that are inconsistent with the values that most people, including most people in the U.S. support.
Obviously, in most situations, speaking up in favor of human rights is applauded, and speaking against human rights is opposed.
Except in the case of discussions related to Israel-Palestine, where the exact opposite is true.
Because the humans in question, when support for human rights was advocated, were Palestinians, people voicing such support have lost tenure (Norman Finkelstein), been fired (Marc Lamont Hill), been falsely called anti-Semitic (Rep. Ilhan Omar), and have been banned from Quora (Rima and Benay).
The only safe ground in such discussions is to side firmly with Israeli oppression against, and harm of, Palestinians.
Crazy, yes, but that’s how it is.
And for anyone who supports human rights, keep in mind that general support for human rights is generally applauded and respected; Palestinians are, tragically, the only exception.
I do know that both Rima and Benay did their best to comply with Quora policy, but in the end, it wasn’t enough.
For anyone who appreciates Rima’s writing, you can follow her on Medium.
For more information on this issue, please read “Most Viewed Writers” on the topic “Palestinians” in Quora are almost exclusively Zionist and rabidly anti-Palestinian
Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank. She contributes stories/opinion to PalestineChronicle.com and other publications.