An update on the Jews Against the Internet story from a couple weeks ago. The big convention of Orthodox Jews did indeed meet at New York Mets’ Citi Field to discuss the perils of the internet. They did in fact pack the stadium, and apparently spilled over into Arthur Ashe Stadium as well.
These were all men, of course. Women attending “viewing parties” in Orthodox neighborhoods.
According to The Verge, the message was basically “Internet? Bad!”
The main thrust of the meeting, as espoused by spokesperson Eytan Kobre, was to identify and guard against the major threats posed by the internet, primary among them being ready access to pornography, which “has reached epidemic proportions” and is “eating away the fabric of society.” It’s difficult to agree with Mr. Kobre’s sweeping conclusions that broken marriages, violence against women, and social disintegration can all be blamed on some nudity and over-aggressive comments sections online, but he goes on to raise some salient points later in the article. He notes that as we’ve grown more connected online, we’re also becoming more distant in person, replacing conversation with “tweeting and twittering.”
What’s interesting is that the whole affair seems to have been one big commercial, or possibly a huge case of affinity fraud:
According to The New York Times, the meeting was sponsored by a rabbinical group that is connected to a software company specializing in selling web filtering software to Orthodox Jews. You won’t be surprised to find, therefore, that the conclusion reached at the end of the rally was that we should all, Jews or otherwise, install internet filtering software on our machines as a “minimal base line of protection.”
I’d be curious to find out if an Orthodox Jewish web filter would block an atheist site. Because, you know, all the bacon jokes we make.