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November 2, 2021 3:25 pm
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New Twitter Curator for Middle East News Apologizes for Past ‘Ill-Informed’ Tweets About Israel

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The Twitter App loads on an iPhone in this illustration photograph taken in Los Angeles, California, U.S., July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Twitter’s newly-appointed “editorial curation lead” for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) began her new job with an apology after coming under fire for previous tweets about Israel.

Fadah Jassem announced her new position on Monday in a Twitter post, saying, “Very excited to get stuck in and delve deeper into the discussions that matter from this diverse and lively region.” The London-based, former Al Jazeera reporter added the emoji flags of 16 countries in the MENA region, as well as the Palestinian one, but the Israeli flag was not included.

After Twitter users noted the missing Israeli flag, Jassem posted another tweet that featured the flags of Israel, Turkey and Djibouti, adding that she could not access the flag of Oman.

Other users resurfaced several years-old posts from Jassem, including a September 2010 retweet that said Israel was “not born” but instead “dropped like a bomb in the middle of Palestine.” In December of the same year, she quoted Nation of Islam leader and notorious antisemite Louis Farrakhan at least four times in posts singling out Israel, such as “we give you our tax dollars to support Israel every year.” She called his speeches “a great example of faith transcending boundaries.”

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The Farrakhan-related posts were uploaded shortly before Jassem was employed as a freelance producer by NBC News’ London desk, the media watchdog HonestReporting said.

Jassem later issued a public apology on Twitter. “I can see that I have been ill-informed with some tweets when [I was] younger. I apologize for any offense caused by these particular tweets and like I said for forgetting the Israeli flag with reference to MENA as I did others,” she wrote in response to HonestReporting’s Emanuel Miller on Monday.

She has since made her Twitter account private.

According to Jassem’s job description, she will lead efforts to facilitate “the curation of the best, most relevant, and timely content that reaches, engages and delights one of the largest daily audiences in the world.”

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