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February 15, 2016 4:24 pm

Israel Decries Facebook, YouTube Policy Allowing Anti-Jewish Incitement, Holocaust Denial on Pages

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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A cartoon depicting Palestinian "unity," surrounding the slaughter of an Orthodox Jew, posted to a UNRWA employee's Facebook page. Photo: Elder of Ziyon.

A cartoon depicting Palestinian “unity,” surrounding the slaughter of an Orthodox Jew, posted to a UNRWA employee’s Facebook page. Photo: Elder of Ziyon.

An official in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs slammed Facebook and YouTube for rejecting repeated requests to automatically intercept content that could lead to assaults against Jews, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Monday.

Akiva Tor, head of the Foreign Ministry’s World Jewish Affairs and World Religions Bureau, expressed his dismay during a speech before a gathering of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem on Sunday.

“Facebook and YouTube are hiding behind the First Amendment of the US Constitution,” Tor said. “They are American companies, and whenever we contact them [about this issue], we are told to complain about individual posts, because they cannot prevent content from being uploaded.”

“Why are these companies, which are capable of sending specific ads to target audiences any time they want, incapable of blocking content that calls for causing physical harm to Jews all over the world?” Tor asked. “Why is such content tolerated? … Israel, France and the EU all feel that incitement on Arabic social media sites leads to [violence against Jews]. So why is it continuing?”

Tor said Israel has been demanding that social media sites set clear criteria for antisemitism and incitement against Jews and to prevent posts that fit these criteria from being uploaded and shared.

“Jewish communities across the world feel they are under attack,” Tor said. “And in the absence of action on the part of the large Internet companies, they feel victimized and in need of protection.”

In addition, according to nrg, Ido Daniel, an Israeli activist fighting against incitement on social media, revealed that Facebook also refuses to stop Holocaust denial on its pages. “At a public forum, a senior Faecbook employee said that denying the Holocaust is a legitimate historical debate that has to be conducted.”

Last week, according to nrg, Facebook’s UK and Ireland Policy Director Simon Milner came to Israel and met with Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan to discuss the legislative initiatives led by Israel and other countries to compel the social media giant to block sites that include incitement to terrorism.

Erdan stressed the problematic nature of the recruitment on Facebook of many young people by radical Islamist groups like ISIS, and of the “lone-wolf” Palestinian terrorists who have been incited to kill Jews in Israel over the past few months. Erdan reportedly recounted to Milner about numerous cases of assailants who told Israeli interrogators that they had been influenced by messages circulating on social media to commit stabbing, car-ramming or other attacks.

Milner, according to nrg, said he would convey Israel’s concerns to the heads of his company, in order to find the right balance between preventing incitement and enabling freedom of speech.

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  • Yoel Nitzarim

    Having taught about the Holocaust for more than thirty years in high schools, colleges, and universities in the metropolitan Chicago area until I made came back to Israel as a returning resident, I absolutely do not understand what moral compass the media utilise in allowing Holocaust denial to be debated anywhere in the media. The Holocaust is probably the most extensively documented event in world history; therefore, debating whether it occurred seems absurd. As a Jew, I find Holocaust denial extremely painful concomitant to morally corrupt. Considering the following quotation from this article, I have to wonder whether the senior Facebook employee quoted is an out-and-out anti-Semite, or for that matter whether his boss, who is a Jew, is anti-Semitic: “In addition, according to nrg, Ido Daniel, an Israeli activist fighting against incitement on social media, revealed that Facebook also refuses to stop Holocaust denial on its pages. “At a public forum, a senior Facebook employee said that denying the Holocaust is a legitimate historical debate that has to be conducted.”

  • Kurt Hengl

    Facebook does broadcast information and opinions (this is the essential function of any “media”). But the freedom of speech and expression of opinions ends, where they endanger likewise or even more vital interests of others. No serious newspaper would publicise openly antisemitic, antimuslim or any other anti-race hate- “opinions”.
    How long will facebook be hiding behind the anonimous perpetrators of such antisocial and hideous praactices?


    Suppressing “Holocaust Denial” wouldn’t be so bad if accompanied by the parts of the history that are usually omitted. Everyone is always ready to blame someone else but never confess to their own role in it and, so, the cycles vengeance go on and on, Jews included. Objectivity, or telling the entire truth, was originally a Jewish virtue that not even Jews adhere to, anymore. And we’d certainly be foolish to expect that of our politicians on either side of the Atlantic.

  • Gregory Lewis

    There are several things wrong with some of the above comments, not the least of which is the posters don’t use their real names and don’t condemn obvious calls to murder Jews. Just because what you say or write is “free speech” doesn’t also mean it’s not conspiracy to murder. Facebook isn’t a public forum, and they remind you of their terms of service and so-called “community standards” again and again. So enough with your phony “free speech” argument, since you don’t have it on Facebook. And since Facebook DOES get to censor content, what does it say about them (and Mark Zuckerberg)that they allow images, like the one posted by an UNRWA employee?

  • SteveHC

    The Israeli government should consider working with IT professionals and major Jewish organizations to instruct the general public on easy ways to block YouTube and Facebook via persnal routers and/or DNS service providers. The ONLY circumstance under which such companies will “get the message” is if and when they feel the public’s wrath in their corpirate pocketbooks.

  • Jack

    It can only be changed by bringing a law suit at an appropriate

  • james ginn

    Facebook does not broadcast information. So no one is having someone elses point of view forced on them. This is simply free speech.

    • ZG

      Free speach to promote murder? Is that an acceptable policy? Can One call for the elination of blacks, for example, or “Chinese? I do doubt that it would pass?

    • Dale K
    • A Zionist

      The right to freedom of expression is crucial in a democracy. Article 10 of the Human Rights Act safeguards the right to free expression, which includes the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without State interference.

      The right to free expression is, however, not absolute – it can be limited to protect the rights of others. Any limitations on the right must be necessary and proportionate, and criminalising even the most unpalatable, illiberal and offensive speech should be approached with grave caution in a democracy.

      Criminalising the incitement of violence or threats can be seen to be a justifiable limit on freedom of expression. What is controversial is the criminalisation of language (or behaviour) which may be unpleasant, may cause offence but which is not inciting violence, criminality etc.

      The following criminal offences raise particular concerns for freedom of expression in the UK:

      Sections 4A and 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 (POA) make it an offence for a person to use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour that causes, or is likely to cause, another person harassment, alarm or distress. This can have serious implications on peaceful protestors and others exercising their freedom of expression, as someone who uses insulting language that might distress another were they to hear it could be guilty of an offence;

      Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 makes it an offence to send a message by means of a public electronic communications network which is grossly offensive, or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character. This offence is incredibly broad and has been used to address jovial, albeit misjudged communications – it carries huge implications for freedom of expression especially now that social media is so widely used. Section 127 has been used to prosecute a young man who tweeted his frustration about being unable to see his girlfriend due to airport closure. His tweets, which were made without intent to carry out their content or incite others to do so, resulted in his conviction for being a menace under the Act – thankfully that conviction has now been overturned;

      In 2006 the Racial and Religious Hatred Act amended the POA to make it an offence punishable by up to seven years imprisonment, to use threatening words or behaviour intended to stir up religious hatred;

      In 2008 the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act amended the POA to add an offence of using threatening words or behaviour intended to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation;

      The Terrorism Act 2006 criminalises ‘encouragement of terrorism’ which includes making statements that glorify terrorist acts, punishable by up to seven years imprisonment. It is an offence even if the person or group making the statement doesn’t intend to encourage terrorism. As the definition of terrorism is so wide this could criminalise people speaking out against repressive regimes anywhere in the world;

  • truth

    to identify the truly sick racists google: chief rabbi of
    Israel says goyim exist only to serve jews, goyim life worth same as a
    donkey.netanyahu says this chief rabbi was the greatest mind of this generation.

    • Dave

      Yeah, some stupid remarks. Hardly on a par with incitement to murder and rape, but.

    • citizenstat

      You’re a sick racist, yourself! The old coot died four years ago and, as the link you cite points out, his remarks outraged nearly all Israelis. Compare that with the anti-Jewish knifings, shootings, firebombing, and car-rammings provoked by social media posts from Palestinians and their supporters. You should have both your mouth and your brain washed out with soap!

    • ZG

      You are truly sick. I haven’t seen Jews hunting non Jews. You are a dick, and a sick
      Bigoted racist.
      Keep supporting the Jews through using the keyboard and allow Israel to collect royalties, moron!!

    • golum…

      ….sooo this alte kaker was the sickest racist you can find on google???
      YOU truely have a screw loose!!!

    • sidney sands

      What a stupid comment you make, there is no way that your comments are valid, in Jewish law all people are regarded as equal, unlike another religion which indeed regards women and those not of their religion inferior, get your facts right and not believe what you see and hear on the Muslim media, which spread lies on a daily basis.

    • nita singh

      Well said, we are all learning the Germans were the true victims of WW2. They never mention mass murdering Jews Lazar Kaganovic and Genrikh Yagoda as they don’t want us to know the truth. The Germans were defending themselves against an international Jewish conspiracy to starve and enslave them. Lazar Kaganovich a communist Jew starved 10 million Ukrainians to death in 1933 the same year Hitler came to power, which totally changes the dynamics of what happened and yet they omit all of that and just get their liars in to brainwash the masses. Today not only Germany but the whole world is awakening. Poor Hitler was innocent and he banned circumcision, kosher animal torture and Purim and THIS is why they hate him so much.

  • Sharon

    And to think that a jew is the owner of Facebook. Jewish leaders should go and set him in the right direction concerning his people!

    • Reform School

      Facebook: Founded (a few say stolen) and controlled by Mark Zuckerberg, son of a Jewish dentist.

      Youtube: Purchased 1996 by Google for $1.65 Billion. Google was founded and is controlled by Larry Page, son of a Jewish mother and Sergei Brin, son of Russian Jews.

      Three self-loathing Jews, rich beyond their dreams before facing normal challenges of living, have few experiences to challenge their socialist indoctrination.

      Why expect anything else?