There’s a Filter for That

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.

  • John

    That’s a lot of hats. Most of which are Asshats.

  • mikespeir

    If they don’t like pornography, they should convince everyone to quit looking at pornography. You don’t chop down the apple tree because one or two pieces of fruit have worms.

    • Yoav

      That’s because it has nothing to do with porn or violence against women (like these a*sholes really care about that) or any of the other issues listed, its about control. The internet scares the shit out of the people at the top of autocratic cults because they realize that there is no way that they can prevent their subjects from getting information that wasn’t approved and that may lead to independent thinking and when that starts is bad news for the rabbi (or priest, or beloved leader).

      • mikespeir

        Yup. I’m sure that has a lot to do with it.

      • FO

        100 times this.

      • Atheist Pilgrim

        I totally agree with this comment !

  • FO

    Fundies are afraid of foreign ideas, their bigotry can exist only in a sheltered world.
    Attacking pornography or “think of the children” scaremongering is a way to open the door to Internet filtering, and this is my main concern.
    You can bet that they will filter out atheist websites.

    The catch is, who will control the filters, and decide what’s kosher and what’s not?
    Will the filter criteria be made public?

    Anyway, religious people are weak.
    They cannot resist porn so they need to be defended from Internet pornography… And they need their marriage to be defended from teh gays, they need their ideas be defended from teh blasphemous…
    Weak, gullible, unreliable, unable to take responsibility, and it’s not me saying this.
    It’s some very pious leaders.

    • Revyloution

      ‘Decide what’s Kosher and what’s not’

      I see what you did there :)

      • FO


  • Paul

    The only filters I find acceptable – by which I mean that I would use – are those that I set myself. When I see an email in my inbox that sounds either likely to carry a virus or just is about something I do not want to know more about, I just delete it. If I am surfing and find a site that I don’t want to bother with I go somewhere else.

    I don’t filter based on my beliefs. I find it important to hear the other side, not so much because I might have a sudden epiphany and suddenly will rush to the nearest baptist church, but because when I read things that disagree with my beliefs I test my beliefs against theirs. It keeps me honest in my beliefs or lack of beliefs. When I see someone wanting to limit access to images or ideas I think that this is someone who does not feel that his beliefs will stand up to testing.

  • vasaroti

    Wilford Brimley cat does not seem pleased with his Israeli scarf.

    Isn’t one group of NY Jews supposed to have very high IQs? It would be kind of a shame if smart people choose to opt out of modern technology-driven life. Yet another way in which religion make everything a little bit worse for everyone.

  • Francesco

    There are two thing you cannot possibly avoid while on the internet: porn and bacon jokes.

    • dmantis

      Those two things are the ONLY reason I have internet access.

  • Night

    Hahahaha, internet condoms!

  • UrsaMinor

    Hey! I’m an atheist, and I never joke about bacon. It’s serious stuff.

  • busterggi

    Bacon is no joke!

    Anyone know a store that carries Celebrity Bacon? I can’t find it around here anymore and no other brand is the same.

    • Sunny Day

      Sorry, I can only find the Kevin brand.

  • Hitchslapper

    Take all the Orthodox Jews, and all the useless christians and put them all on an uninhabited Island in the middle of the Ocean…. with no means to get off!

    • FO

      It’s exactly what God did, but apparently those pesky atheists pop up anyway…

  • Jer

    Pornography “has reached” epidemic proportions? Where have these people been? I can attest that it was as endemic to the internet 16 years ago as it is now.

  • RickRay1

    The jews are so afraid their children will learn the truth about religion and the bible that the only solution for them is to totally cut off information and knowledge about the 21st century from them. That’s what religion is; fear and guilt! Fear of going to hell and guilt of original sin. Neither one exists.
    The bible is so full of holes you could use it as a strainer!

    • FO

      The priest/rabbi/cleric leader is usually where people go for information and questions.
      Internet is a competitor, and even offers -horror!- a variety of different ideas.
      They are just protecting their profession.