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memri
January 27, 2011 No.
660

Jordanian Queen Rania's Clarification Following MEMRI Report On Holocaust Denial Posts On Her Facebook Page

By: N. Maruani*

On January 25, 2011, MEMRI reported on Holocaust denial posts featured on Jordanian Queen Rania's official Facebook page. On January 26, the Office of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdallah emailed MEMRI, stating that the Facebook page is a "fan page" and that only "profane" posts are removed by the administrator, since Queen Rania "welcomes full and frank discussions of all issues."

After receiving this email from the Office of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, MEMRI posted an updated report including it, commenting: "It should be noted that the reason why MEMRI chose to report on these posts is that the link to this Facebook 'fan page' appears on Queen Rania's official website: http://www.queenrania.jo/." MEMRI added that "questioning whether the Holocaust is a myth was not considered 'profane' enough to justify removal."

Some time after the posting of this second updated report, the content in question was entirely removed from Queen Rania's Facebook page. A note by the administrator clarified: "There are now well over a thousand topics posted, and many have been inactive for several months. As a general administrator's urge to tidy, all topics that have been inactive for three months or more will be deleted." It should be noted that such an "urge to tidy" notice had never before appeared on the page.

Following is the administrator's full explanation for the removal of Holocaust denial posts, followed by the abovementioned emailed response from the Office of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah to the MEMRI report, and by the report itself.

I. Removal of Holocaust Denial Posts from Queen Rania's Facebook Forum

With the following explanation, Queen Rania had the controversial Holocaust denial discussions deleted from the forum of her Facebook account:

"It is always exciting to see so many animated and diverse discussions taking place on Queen Rania's discussion board. Fans have posted all manner of topics, from education and tourism to internships and driver safety. Some have proved powerful forums for discussion; others still await their first reply. Either way, they've all been posted freely and without hindrance from administrators. Only comments or threads that use profane language have been deleted; all other deletions were performed by users themselves.

"While Queen Rania may not have endorsed or agreed with any particular view point, Her Majesty felt it was important to allow people the space to speak their minds. You, the fans, definitely rose to the challenge! There are now well over a thousand topics posted, and many have been inactive for several months.

"As a general administrator's urge to tidy, all topics that have been inactive for three months or more will be deleted. This way, we can keep focus on the urgent discussions of the day and maintain Queen Rania's discussion board as an open forum for open minds. Thank you for understanding and we look forward to seeing what other interesting threads start up in 2011!" See: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=77319320825&topic=18036

II. Queen Rania's Response to MEMRI Report on Holocaust Denial Posts

"To Whom It May Concern,

"Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah's Facebook page is a fan page and, as such, has an administrator. The administrator only removes posts which are profane. No other posts are removed. Any other messages which have been deleted have been removed by those who post them. Queen Rania welcomes full and frank discussions of all issues on her Facebook fan page.

"Thank you,

"Office of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdallah"

III. Original MEMRI Report: Posts on Queen Rania's Facebook Forum Question Veracity of Holocaust, Legitimacy of Israel's Existence

By: N. Maruani*

Queen Rania Al-' Abdallah of Jordan has been internationally acclaimed for defending the rights of women and children worldwide, and is the recipient of numerous international prizes. She has contributed to the empowerment of Jordanian women by founding the Jordan River Foundation, which helps women to start small businesses, and recently she launched the Madrasati Palestine project, aimed at "combat[ing] the deteriorating state of education in East Jerusalem by renovating its disadvantaged schools, under the auspices of the Jordanian Ministry of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs."[1] She is also the author of The Sandwich Swap, a children's book promoting tolerance and acceptance of the other.

In July 2010, she was criticized for allegedly refusing to allow the publication of her book in Hebrew,[2] though official Jordanian sources denied this, saying Queen Rania had never received any offer from Israeli publishers.[3]

However, a look at Queen Rania's Facebook account – one of the most visited accounts on Facebook, with almost 600,000 "friends" – reveals some disturbing content. A thread titled "Is Holocaust a Reality or a Myth" features a lengthy discussion about the veracity of the Holocaust, as well as posts denying Israel's right to exist and presenting the 9/11 attacks as a Western conspiracy. Another thread opens with a post suggesting that peace with the Jews will only be possible after Israel ceases to exist.

It is noteworthy that neither one of these two threads, nor any of the posts within them, have been censored or removed. At the same time, a post titled "Palestine solution", which was posted several weeks ago and then deleted, suggests that the forum administers do occasionally remove posts. Furthermore, a forum member related that, after she had posted a message about a case of child abuse in Jordan, the Queen had contacted her and addressed her concerns, which suggests that the Queen is aware of the content of the forum and occasionally responds to it.

The following is information about Queen Rania's Facebook account, and some excerpts from the forum.


Homepage of Queen Rania's official website with links to her accounts on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.

Queen Rania's Facebook Account: Almost 600,000 "Friends"

The homepage of Queen Rania's official website[4] features links to her accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr. On Facebook, Queen Rania has almost 600,000 "friends," making it one of the most visited accounts on the site.[5] On her Facebook "wall", she posts regular "tweets," mostly in English and some in Arabic, usually on political and Islamic topics, such as her recent visit to Mecca. For example, an English message from December 15 said: "Today I feel privileged to be visiting Mecca. For me it's the ultimate place on earth to feed and recharge spiritually." During the Ramadan fast, she underscored her strong attachment to her Muslim faith, saying that Ramadan was her favorite time of the year. In a recent comment, from January 1, 2011, she condemned the Alexandria church bombing, saying: "A cowardly act of hatred in Alexandria makes for tragic news this New Year's morning..." Many of her comments aim at fostering understanding between Muslims and the West. Interestingly, Queen Rania has not posted any tweet on the situation in Tunisia, and has not posted any English tweet since January 13.

"Is Holocaust a Reality or a Myth?"

The title of each thread on Queen Rania's Facebook forum is accompanied by a small photo of her, as a reminder of the forum's affiliation. The English threads include many personal messages addressed to her, like birthday greetings, as well as numerous political discussions. The thread titled "Is Holocaust a Reality or a Myth?" was launched on October 7, 2010 by a member calling himself Raheem. While most of the responses reject Raheem's message of questioning the Holocaust, providing counterarguments and chiding him for his position, others support him, calling the Holocaust propaganda meant to justify Israel's existence and stating there is no proof that it happened. The following are excerpts from a sample of posts (some lightly editing for clarity):

Raheem (Original Poster): "Did any one ever ask where are the graves of 6 million Jews killed by Nazis during World War II? Does anyone have all the names of 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust?..."

Claudia: "People burnt in crematories do not need graves and mostly they happened to be burnt. The rest digged in 'mass tombs.'

Mohammad: "Quite right claudia. An unfortunate problem with the Muslim world is the extreme paranoia that has developed, resulting in wild conspiracy theories born of resentment toward Israelis..."

Samuel: "Holocaust Denial is a criminal offence in France and other countries. Queen Rania does not join in this, I am sure…"

Raheem: "…Why did the Jews and other Western countries use this myth for the creation of Israel on Palestinian land?..."

Saud: "[The Holocaust is] propaganda... no proof, a tourist spot, getting sympathies of people for being the victims…"

Talia: "No proof. No one to testify, no testimony at all... Right, Saud?"

Saud: "Sure."

"Saud" then posts a "very good link about the Holocaust, banned from YouTube," which leads to a site devoted to videos denying the Holocaust (http://www.onethirdoftheholocaust.com/), including an interview by notorious French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson. The link to this site has not been removed from the forum.

"9/11 was a Strategic Plan to Invade Middle Eastern Countries and the Muslim world."

In one of the posts in the thread, Raheem describes September 11 as a conspiracy concocted with the aim of justifying the invasion of the Muslim world: "9/11 was a strategic plan to invade Middle Eastern countries and the Muslim world. This genocide event was planned and executed by the US and its Western allies. If I had any authority in my hands, I would have initiated a fact finding team from the UN and other independent organizations which are not influenced by American's voracious policies to know the facts behind this portrayed drama."

"If the Jews Were Killed in the Second World War, Why Should Israel Exist in the Middle East?"

Another thread, with 75 posts, titled "If the Jews were killed in the Second World War, why should Israel exist in the Middle East?", was launched on October 7, 2010. In this discussion, Raheem comments that peace with the Jews can be considered only when Israel ceases to exist: "Why didn't the US or Europe give space to create ISRAEL in their homeland?... First Jews should leave our land, then we will talk peace with them!!!!"

Post Titled "Palestine Solution" Deleted from Forum

On the other hand, a message posted one month ago, titled "Palestine solution," was deleted before a thread could even develop. This suggests that, on some occasions, Queen Rania or those in charge of her forum do remove unwanted posts.


Post titled "Palestine solution". Beneath the title: "message deleted."

In addition, it appears that Queen Rania knows what in going on in her forum and occasionally addresses issues raised there. On January 19, 2011, a forum member posted a link to a YouTube video in which some Jordanian teachers were allegedly seen tormenting a six-year-old pupil. She expressed outrage at the teachers' behavior and asked the Queen to intervene in the case. The following day, the same forum member reported that the Queen had contacted her and responded to her message (see screenshot below). It should also be mentioned that the video has been removed from YouTube.


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