Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places — Why is JDate advertising in the Gaza Strip?

on 30 Comments

I live in the Gaza Strip, that sliver of land with a 37.4% unemployment rate Israel likes to claim is no longer under occupation.  But whenever I open my laptop and connect to the internet here, I get ads in Hebrew like this one for JDate:

אתר הכרויות לדתיים -‏ מי לא מכיר מישהו שהכיר בג’יי דייט? הירשמו בחינם – מקסימום מצאתם שידוך. ‏  www.JDate

Whether I’m reading the New York Times, perusing Facebook or checking my gmail account, Israeli companies bombard me with deals on manicures and massages beckoning me to “meet Jewish singles in my area.”

But I live in the besieged Gaza Strip, where 77% of the population lives below the poverty line of $2 a day, where 15% of children are stunted from malnutrition and the Israeli blockade has caused 163 key medicines to go out of a stock. The only Jewish singles in my area are those routinely flying F-16s above my apartment, firing at Palestinian fishermen off the coast, driving tanks through bulldozed orchards or shooting at me when I’m taking a Friday evening stroll. I really don’t want to meet them in my area “for dating and romance” or any other purpose.  And, given those bullets that passed eerily close to my head two weeks ago, I’m pretty sure they don’t want to meet me.

So why does .il — the domain for Israel — come up when I connect to the internet in Gaza City? Why am I enticed to read about Kim Kardeshian in Hebrew or encouraged to download “the world’s first Jewish news ipad app?”  Perhaps my laptop is telling me what anyone who spends more than five minutes in Gaza knows — that the Israeli Occupation is alive and well. Just because the Jewish-only settlements are gone, doesn’t mean that Israel no longer controls the sky, the water, the earth — and the internet of the Gaza Strip.

Radhika Sainath is a civil rights attorney and a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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30 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    November 11, 2011, 3:40 pm

    That is not evidence of occupation. That is just commercialism.

    At some point, Gaza or Palestine will have its own suffix.

    • Chaos4700
      November 11, 2011, 6:03 pm

      It already has! It’s *.ps and seriously, how ill-informed are you?

    • James
      November 11, 2011, 6:05 pm

      ….”what anyone who spends more than five minutes in Gaza knows — that the Israeli Occupation is alive and well. ”

      well that wouldn’t include you would it witty? maintain your arrogance from a safe distance…

    • James North
      November 11, 2011, 6:24 pm

      Richard Witty said, ‘My insensitive response above is more evidence for those who believe that Phil and Adam pay me to comment — and thereby further undermine the pro-Israel argument.
      ‘Radhika Sainath posts about a minor, amusing feature of an Israeli occupation that is usually not amusing — and all I, Richard Witty, can do with my tin ear and my lack of social skills is jump in at the head of the thread with a lame comment.
      ‘My comment total is up to near 11,000. If I keep alienating 2 or 3 people with each of my comments, the 1-state solution will be here before you know it.’

      • James North
        November 11, 2011, 6:25 pm

        Richard Witty said, ‘Correction. My comment total has already reached 11,009!!’

      • libra
        November 11, 2011, 7:47 pm

        Richard may indeed be busy again here at MW but for a few weeks he went rather quiet as he was hanging out at Larry Derfner’s new blog. And he has the chutzpah to lecture us about boycotts!

        I wonder what it took to lure him back? I think we should be told.

    • eljay
      November 11, 2011, 6:39 pm

      >> That is not evidence of occupation.

      The great quibbler strikes again:
      – It’s not apartheid, it’s apartheid-like.
      – It’s not occupation, it commercialism.
      – Dammit, woman, it’s not rape – it’s just, y’know, a violent-y episode of sexual-ish assault-iness. Kwitcher whining and make the better argument already!

      • Mndwss
        November 11, 2011, 9:43 pm


        I copied and pasted this into a document of comments that i have to remember.

        If i translate and use it in Norwegian, i will not pay you anything, but i will feel like a thief.

      • Richard Witty
        November 12, 2011, 7:05 am

        The article was another instance of “Israel imposes”, whereas my take is that commercialism imposes.

        Its the difference between the social movements of J14 and OWS, and the political approach of BDS and anti-Zionist agitation.

        J14 is humane and has the possibility of incorporating Palestinians, but into something new (a single community). Whereas BDS doesn’t really have a bridge articulated between its current nationalist orientation and characteristics of the necessarily reality for a single state to be viable.

        You don’t think much, but call names frequently.

        Political is another form of us vs them, rather than the J14’s “they are part of us”.

      • LeaNder
        November 12, 2011, 8:36 am

        The article was another instance of “Israel imposes”, whereas my take is that commercialism imposes.

        did you miss the article or comment about Israel’s control of the Palestinian web? Well nowadays that comes with commercialism, the question is what is cause and what effect?

        its current nationalist orientation

        do you think that Palestinians want to get rid of the occupation is evidence for their “nationalist orientation”, or simply the mirror image of the Israeli nationalist political theology?

  2. eee
    November 11, 2011, 3:46 pm

    Really, nobody is forcing you to have an internet connection through Israel. Israel will do nothing to Gaza if Gaza decides to disconnect from the Israeli network. Why don’t you just do that and ask Hamas to connect to the Internet through Egypt? Israel is doing you a favor supplying a decent internet infrastructure and yet you complain.

    • Chaos4700
      November 11, 2011, 6:03 pm

      I mean after all, if the camp guards are the ones who feed you, why bite their hands?

    • Eva Smagacz
      November 11, 2011, 6:08 pm


      Nobody is forcing a quadraplegic to lie down.
      “It would not be until the second round of the Oslo Accords signed in 1995, that Palestinians were promised direct domestic and international telephone and internet access. But, crucially, while the Accords stated that the Palestinian side had the right to build and operate a separate and independent telecommunications system, the agreements also set the conditions within which an independent system would be rendered impossible . Palestinians could adopt their own standards and import certain equipment only when the Palestinian network would be fully independentfrom Israel’s. This would become a catch-22.. Until today, the Palestinian network is not independent. Until today – despite the ‘death’ of Oslo – Israeli legitimises the limitations it imposes as abiding by the Accords and in the process, keeps the Palestinian network dependent.”

      • James
        November 11, 2011, 10:04 pm

        thanks eva… eee is not going to let inconvenient facts that result from israels oppressive regime stand in the way of him telling a person in gaza just what to do!

    • justicewillprevail
      November 11, 2011, 6:11 pm

      Yeah, big favour locking you up and deliberately impoverishing you, depriving you of basic goods, resources and access to your own land and fishing. Why the favour? Oh yeah, so they can monitor everything, and retain total control over it. Such a benevolent, neighbourly little tyrant state.
      OT, just remind me why Israel is deliberately blocking prosthetic limbs for Gazans who lost them thanks to Israeli bombing, as featured on channel 4 uk this evening. Such generous behaviour, an example to demagogues and dictator states everywhere.

      • seafoid
        November 12, 2011, 2:10 am

        I think it’s funny. The 2 forces that drive Israel are rabid nationalism and consumerism. Without consumerism generating economic growth rabid nationalism will wither.

        Under rabid nationalism Gazans are non people. They cannot date Jews.

        But commercially they are consumers and consumers can do anything

        including date Jews, as long as it makes money, honey !

    • Charon
      November 11, 2011, 7:16 pm

      eee, Israel is still considered the occupying power over Gaza. This is why they are obligated to provide them with ‘aid’

      Disengaging from Gaza does not mean Gaza is independent of Israeli occupation. The maritime blockade is a good example. Gaza has a natural gas field in their territorial waters which Israel currently claims as their own. Israel no doubt has some sort of say in how the Rafah border crossing is handled too.

      I don’t think Israel would allow Gaza to connect through an Egyptian provider because of any of this

    • libra
      November 11, 2011, 7:35 pm

      eee, I think you’re being entirely too complacent here. I’d be more worried about these rampant dating sites than any imagined Iranian nuke as an existential threat to Israel. Thank goodness those fences and minefields are in place or the “Jewish state” could be literally over in one night.

      • James
        November 11, 2011, 10:05 pm


    • Djinn
      November 12, 2011, 2:04 am

      Eee’s right. I’ve often wondered why people got so upset over slavery in the US, those slaves were provided with enough food and water to enable them to work and a shack to sleep in by their benevolent owners. Bloody ingrates.

      • Citizen
        November 12, 2011, 5:52 am

        And the strong male slaves were encouraged to mate as often as possible to churn out more strong babies for victorian Masteh.

    • JohnAdamTurnbull
      November 12, 2011, 4:48 am

      @eee You have no idea how networks are established and inter-connected, and the vast body of international law that supports the commercialization of this — and finally, how this is affected by legal status as a state.

      Israel supplies the service because it’s worth a few bucks on a very small marginal cost. And by the way, the tax due on the transaction made to place dating adds on a screen in Gaza goes to Israel.

      Radhicka’s report is a wonderfully comic demonstration that Palestinians are not even recognized as a market segment let alone humans with rights.

  3. Mndwss
    November 11, 2011, 3:49 pm

    Did the germans drop leaflets over the Warsaw Ghetto, telling jews to date the friendly germans?

    • Citizen
      November 12, 2011, 5:57 am

      Most Germans got their radios from the government at the time, broadcasting the All Goebells, All The Time show. The only leaflets remotely like that dropped during the Era were the ones dropped down over the rail by the White Rose. There were no Jews on the tiles below to pick them up. But you know that. :)

  4. justicewillprevail
    November 11, 2011, 4:01 pm

    It’s there just to remind you of who all your communication goes through, who controls and runs your infrastructure, and as another of the many small humiliations and petty infractions Israel loves to indulge in. As was the demonstration recently of the power they have to switch off the whole thing. It’s the smug, sadistic jailer mentality.

  5. Chaos4700
    November 11, 2011, 5:08 pm

    I say embrace the opportunity. Invite eligible bachelors to come see you in your neighborhood! Obviously, you won’t be able to meet them in their Jewish neighborhoods after all…

  6. dumvitaestspesest
    November 11, 2011, 7:28 pm

    I think it is just another “daily reminder” of who the Real Master in Gaza is. Just in case if Gazans would forget, for a minute.

  7. RoHa
    November 11, 2011, 11:56 pm

    “The only Jewish singles in my area are those routinely flying F-16s above my apartment, firing at Palestinian fishermen off the coast, driving tanks through bulldozed orchards or shooting at me when I’m taking a Friday evening stroll. I really don’t want to meet them in my area “for dating and romance” or any other purpose.”

    You’re just prejudiced against Jews, aren’t you?

  8. Kevbarring
    November 12, 2011, 9:38 am

    Hey Radhika,

    I am sitting here having a lonely lunch in Dublin and I feel for you: dating is hell.

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