Comments and the Roar of the Crowd: A Wholly Holy Land, and Why is Facebook Compulsory?


Jerusalem as depicted by 19th century painter David Roberts.

From: …
Date: Sun, May 25, 2014
Subject: Re: IDNS: Pope Francis Arrives in the Holy Land

Could I just ask why,you usually call Israel, Israel, but because it’s the Pope arriving, you call it the Holy Land, Israel is the State that he is visiting, I just don’t see the logic, as someone who loves and supports Israel, just would like you to tell me why the change.

That’s an interesting observation. I don’t frequently refer to Israel as the Holy Land, but I did use term more use during the papal visit. Religious issues are beyond the scope of HonestReporting’s work, but sometimes, events like the papal pilgrimage bring out a spiritual facet to current events that we don’t see often. “Holy Land” is an acceptable way of giving expression of that reality. I think it it lent itself to better nuance too.

The events of the Bible took place long before more modern warriors and diplomats traced the first Green Line through the Judean Hills. The holy sites of Jews, Christians and Muslims are scattered throughout Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and (to a lesser extent) Jordan. So my use of  “Holy Land” was actually a reference to the region, not to the Jewish state alone.

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FacebookFrom: …>
Date: Sun, May 25, 2014
Subject: Why is Facebook compulsory?

I have asked you before and I’n asking again : Is there some way I can participate in these discussions without joining Facebook? Or are you continuing to limit participation to Facebook subscribers?

I’m afraid there’s no way to participate without joining Facebook. Since moving to a Facebook commenting system, we’ve seen a lot of benefits: The discussion is more civil, mainly because there’s no more anonymity. We have seen a significant rise in traffic to our website from Facebook. Using a Facebook-based system is much easier for our web site maintenance. And the positive feedback we’ve received absolutely outweighs the negative feedback.

Joining Facebook is a personal decision, and plenty of people get along fine without it. But the majority of our readers are on Facebook, and the services it offers are big part of the direction the Internet is going.

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