Israel’s President Shimon Peres visited the headquarters of social network giant Facebook yesterday in what he described as an effort to use social networking to promote peace and open a dialogue with the Arab world.
Peres met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who helped him launch the 88-year-old leader’s personal page aimed at creating a dialogue with young Arabs who live in countries that do not have diplomatic ties with Israel. In his welcoming post on his Facebook page Peres invited residents of Iran, Libya, Syria and Egypt to “join me and promote peace between the people.”
“What you are doing is convincing people that they don’t have any real reason to hate,” Peres, told Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg during a 41-minute interview streamed online. “Hatred is an unnecessary addition to our life.”
Peres added that Facebook helped “open eyes” and gave voice to the people during last year’s Arab Spring revolutions that toppled neighboring governments. “The greatest thing in life is not free speech, but free expression,” he said. “To express yourself, your hidden talents, your great potential, your thirst for freedom, that’s the great revolution.”
“I don’t look upon it as a technology,” he said of Facebook. “I look upon it as a change, a revolution, for the better,” he added.
Peres, who along with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, visited the Menlo Park company amid a four-day Bay Area tour, the first visit to the region by an Israeli president.
You can access the page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shimon-Peres/240142419406136