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May 31, 2016 4:11 pm

Israeli Lawfare Warrior: Facebook Lip Service to European ‘Code of Conduct’ Won’t Stop Online Incitement Leading to Murder in Streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv

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Social media outlets. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Social media outlets. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The problem that Facebook, Twitter and other social-media outlets need to tackle is not merely hate speech, but incitement that leads to murder in the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, an Israeli lawfare warrior told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.

Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, founder and chairwoman of Shurat HaDin-The Israel Law Center, was responding to the release of a “Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online,” a document produced by the European Commission (EC) and signed by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube.

The social-media giants in question, said Darshan-Leitner, who is in the midst of conducting a class-action suit against Facebook in the United States, “have to do something real, not just pay lip service to the European Commission. In order to put a stop to incitement, they have to be vigilant about locating, monitoring and removing it. Signing a document and patting themselves on the back for doing so has no meaning whatsoever.”

Using the 2008 EC “Framework Decision” definition of hate speech, the Code of Conduct refers to it as “all conduct publicly inciting to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.”

The document goes on to state that the EC and IT companies (Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube) “also stress the need to defend the right to freedom of expression, which, as the European Court of Human Rights has stated, ‘is applicable not only to “information” or “ideas” that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population.’”

As Darshan-Leitner — listed last year by both Forbes and Israeli financial newspaper Globes as among Israel’s 50 most influential women – told The Algemeiner last October, “Though freedom of expression is a democratic ideal, both morally and legally, it cannot be without limits.”

At the time, she also scoffed at the notion that the massive traffic on social media makes combating incitement and antisemitism almost impossible.

“It is ridiculous to say that Facebook cannot monitor these things,” she said. “Notice its millions of algorithms that know exactly what you like to wear and eat, who your friends are, what music you’re interested in, etc. How else do ads aimed specifically at you mysteriously appear in your feed and on the side of the page? If it’s got algorithms for consumer purposes, it can have algorithms for other purposes, as well.”

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor had the opposite reaction to the EC initiative and signing by IT companies.

“This is a historic agreement that could not arrive at a better time,” he told the UK’s Jewish Chronicle on Tuesday. “We have seen a massive growth of online hate speech and incitement in recent years and it is very important that governments, law enforcement agencies and online companies work in tandem to make the internet a safer space for all.

“It has been demonstrated that many of those who have shed blood on the streets of Europe in recent years have been indoctrinated online, so hopefully this agreement can cut off a means of recruitment into extremist organizations.”

Darshan-Leitner is currently in New York, where she is waiting for the next court hearing on her suit against Facebook, to be held in two weeks.

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  • As long as Jewish and Israeli organizations are defaming and demonizing Israel, incitement of hatred and terror against Israelis and Jews will go on.

    I am of the opinion, that the most evil and destructive organization is the so called “new Israel fund”, NIF (Notorious: Infamous:Fiendish), which is one of the first Jewish supporters of the anti-Semitic BDS-movement. BDS has been developed and launched with its founder Barghouti (yimach shemo) and the PA and I suspect with at least ideological help from the NIF.

    For well-documented information, please revert to http://www.financingtheflames.com .

    To my opinion, it is time to boycott the NIF, its members, its followers and supporters. They must be boycotted socially and financially. Boycott is the language these persons understand very well.

    Other Jewish anti-Israeli organizations in the USA are: Jews for Peace, JStreet and JCall.

    In meantime, the PA under Dr. Mahmud Abbas together with the BDS-Movement introduced into their hate and incitement policy against Israel and Jews the “Apartheid-Libel”.

    It was a custom of the haters of Israel and Jews to use the social net, mainly Facebook. Its owner is only active against Jewish protesters.

  • Robert Davis

    Ms Darshan-Leitner is right about Facebook and if she can blame those who incite hate it cannot do wrong to Israel. However to think that political problems can be solved by law or philosophy is totally delusional. Political problems are solved only by politics or pr which is very much linked topolitics since it affects the minds of millions of people not by technical means such as law suits no one even knows of. The only politicazl mean to end this conflict and the hate it incites is arabs’ transfer to jordan. Nothing serious will take place before this is done.

  • It is clear that Facebook and Twitter etc are complicit in racial hatred and killings. They should face the full might of the law and or be closed down.

  • In the Swiss online news TA and NZZ hate speech and incitement of commentators against Israel and Jews takes place almost daily. It is a very special “rhetoric” which is used, the incitement is in indirect language and based mainly on Islamic and Arabic propaganda. In fact even the evil “Protocols” is used as a basis for slander.

    Complaints to the editors are in vain, if readers complain too often they will be blocked.