Social-Media Platforms Are Quick to Stamp Out Racism. Less So Incitement to Anti-Jewish Violence

July 28 2020

Last week, the British musician Richard Cowie, Jr. (known by the stage name Wiley), declared on Twitter that Jews were “cowards” and “snakes,” and made all-too-familiar comments about Jews’ malign power. Twitter, after considerable outcry, removed the offending comments, and temporarily suspended Cowie’s account. But thousands of users of the platform—including the British chief rabbi and various figures from politics, journalism, and entertainment—were dissatisfied with its slow and tepid response, and are currently staging a 48-hour boycott of the website.

The episode raises the persistent problem of how to regulate social media, and the undeniable fact that social-media companies’ own censors rarely respond to anti-Semitic invective and incitement with the alacrity and firmness with which they respond to other forms of bigotry. Nitsana Darshan-Leitner comments:

Social-media platforms enjoy absolute immunity from any liability over the user-generated content they feature. [Instead, they] have an internal mechanism for dealing with “content that violates the community’s rules,” and remove posts according to their sole discretion. The broad immunity afforded to them by law often translates into selective enforcement.

There have been dozens of cases in which right-wing activists and journalists had their Facebook accounts suspended for allegedly violating the community’s rules with their posts, all while someone sitting in Facebook headquarters in Ireland has no problem allowing posts inciting the murder of Jews to stand.

Facebook’s own interpretation of the limits of freedom of expression has had a clear impact on the waves of stabbing and ramming attacks in Israel and around the world. This has been clearly shown in examples of inciting social-media posts included as evidence of motive and intent in many cases of mayhem and murder. The evidence proves that the killers were often inspired by, and drew ideological justification for, their actions from posts by extremist religious leaders. It also proves that they received “training” from videos posted by terrorist groups on their websites as well as on social media.

For years, social-media giants have refused to abide by any regulation or to cooperate with state authorities because they had no intention of sharing the immense power they have amassed in terms of navigating global discourse. That is not only senseless, it violates U.S. laws that bar aiding and abetting any form of terrorism.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Anti-Semitism, Facebook, Social media, Terrorism


President Biden Should Learn the Lessons of Past U.S. Attempts to Solve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Sept. 21 2023

In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Joe Biden addressed a host of international issues, mentioning, inter alia, the “positive and practical impacts” resulting from “Israel’s greater normalization and economic connection with its neighbors.” He then added that the U.S. will “continue to work tirelessly to support a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians—two states for two peoples.” Zach Kessel experiences some déjà vu:

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and review how past U.S.-brokered talks between Jerusalem and [Palestinian leaders] have gone down, starting with 1991’s Madrid Conference, organized by then-President George H.W. Bush. . . . Though the talks, which continued through the next year, didn’t get anywhere concrete, many U.S. officials and observers across the world were heartened by the fact that Madrid was the first time representatives of both sides had met face to face. And then Palestinian militants carried out the first suicide bombing in the history of the conflict.

Then, in 1993, Bill Clinton tried his hand with the Oslo Accords:

In the period of time directly after the Oslo Accords . . . suicide bombings on buses and in crowded public spaces became par for the course. Clinton invited then-Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to Camp David in 2000, hoping finally to put the conflict to rest. Arafat, who quite clearly aimed to extract as many concessions as possible from the Israelis without ever intending to agree to any deal—without even putting a counteroffer on the table—scuttled any possibility of peace. Of course, that’s not the most consequential event for the conflict that occurred in 2000. Soon after the Camp David Summit fell apart, the second intifada began.

Since Clinton, each U.S. president has entered office hoping to put together the puzzle that is an outcome acceptable to both sides, and each has failed. . . . Every time a deal has seemed to have legs, something happens—usually terrorist violence—and potential bargains are scrapped. What, then, makes Biden think this time will be any different?

Read more at National Review

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Joe Biden, Palestinian terror, Peace Process