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Ground Zero Mosque Fires Twitter Team Over 'Anti-Semitic' Tweet

By Nicole Bode | August 19, 2010 11:22am | Updated on August 19, 2010 11:19am

By Nicole Bode

DNAinfo Senior Editor

MANHATTAN — Developers of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero say they have fired their Twitter team after engaging online with their critics backfired in a burst of perceived anti-Semitism.

The social media team behind @Park51, the Twitter account named after the group pushing to build a mosque and Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site, originally used their Twitter account to push out links and updates supporting their project. But in recent weeks, the Twitter team began engaging the mosque’s detractors directly, taking a distinctly snarky and biting tone.

The tactic went up in flames this week when Park51 responded online to what they called an erroneous report by Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, which claimed Monday that the project was relocating away from Ground Zero.

An offensive post on Park51's Twitter page prompted organizers to fire their social networking team.
An offensive post on Park51's Twitter page prompted organizers to fire their social networking team.
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"If Haaretz likes publishing fables, perhaps they could go back to the Yiddish ones with parable," Park51 wrote.

The post sparked immediate outrage, prompting Park51 to yank down the post and make an apology. The following day, organizers Tweeted that the old team had gotten the boot.

“We are in the process of introducing a new team and are issuing apologies for any prior tweets that may have caused offense,” Park51 organizers wrote.

"We would like to issue a formal apology for the Yiddish tweet yesterday, it was meant in jest and no insult was intended," they added in a subsequent post.

Monday's comment about Haaretz wasn’t the first controversial online comment by the Park51 social media team — as earlier tweets took aim at opponents with sarcastic comments like, “You can let me know when you're done not listening,” and “Lol - good job at taking conversations out of context ^_^”

By Tuesday, organizers sounded like they'd given up hope of keeping up with the flood of opposition online.

"For the past week, we've focused on trying to respond to attacks and detractors of our project. what's become clear is - they won't listen," they wrote.