Spewing anti-Arab, anti-Israel chat


WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (JTA) — As people across the country try to come to grips with the terror attacks in New York and Washington, their feelings are pouring out over the Internet with a mix of anger against Arabs, Muslims and Israel.

In Internet chat rooms, where emotions often run high, many are calling for some form of revenge against the prime suspect, Osama bin Laden. Some blame all Arabs and Muslims, and some fault the United States for its close relationship with Israel.

Many people sounded torn and frustrated about the tragedy that likely killed thousands and continues to wreak havoc and touch the lives of every American citizen.

“I pray for all of the loss anyone has suffered and hold this whole incident in my mind each moment I breathe. I believe that we must fight for what is ours and kill the cowards who have committed these acts,” one America Online participant wrote.

Others looked for places to lay blame.

“Tragic is the loss of innocent life, but the U.S. has been sticking its nose all over the world, look for the devil and you will find him,” one person wrote in a Yahoo chat room.

Whether message boards and chat rooms are truly representative of the American public is questionable. Nevertheless, they give an idea of what is going through people’s minds and how they are reacting to the worst act of terrorism ever perpetrated on American soil.

Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, who condemned Tuesday’s acts of violence, was tagged guilty and responsible for bringing about the terrorist attacks.

“Arafat and bin Laden should be dead already,” one person said. Another warned, “Freedom just ended for you guys in the USA that believe in Arafat.”

Some chat room participants defended Israel. When one participant charged that the United States supports Israelis in “all its acts against the Palestinians” two instant responses popped up.

“So what if Americans support the Israelis?” one person said. The other wrote: “I suggest you really look into the behind-the-scenes relationship between the United States and Israel. It’s not as strong or as blind as you think.”

A number of people pointed out the positive reactions of Palestinians and others to the terrorism.

“Millions of Muslims in the Middle East were celebrating!!!!” read one posting.

Another participant tried to explain that reaction: “People in the Middle East are told when they are children that the USA is the enemy and they grow up with all this anger for Americans and the USA.”

In its Chat Rules and Etiquette, AOL says it discourages any activity that “contains vulgarities directed toward another individual or group,” or “contains material that defames, abuses, threatens, promotes, or instigates physical harm or death to others, or oneself.”

The rules were broken left and right.

“What was the motivation of the terrorist? If we know the motivation maybe we can lessen our exposure? Maybe we should get our of bed with Israel……” read one posting.

Blaming Israel was a main message for some participants. One person even suggested an Israeli was one of the terrorists

Another said the Israelis were at fault.

“Israel is no better than the Taliban. They are religious freaks who think all gentiles are animals. Its true just read the Talmud, the holiest book in Judaism. They are responsible for this event — let them solve their own problems. No money and NO American lives for Israel!”

Recommended from JTA