Facebook, Israel Seal Deal to Crack Down on Palestinians Online
Facebook and the Israeli government agreed to set up joint teams in order to fight what they call “incitement” posts on the social media website which officials said were meant to target Palestinians and Arab-Israelis, local media reported Monday.
“The meeting took place under the assumption that Facebook has the capability, the responsibility and the willingness to help mitigate incitement and terror from the network,” said a joint statement issued by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Interior Minister Gilad Erdan.
The Israeli ministers, who belong to the most conservative right-wing government in the history of the country, further argued that criticism and response to Israeli operations, extrajudicial killings and targeting of anti-occupation protests is “incitement and terror.”
“In the recent spate of terror it was proven that the internet has become a home to incubate terrorists and we must fight together to prevent this. The companies must and can do much more,” the statement added according to the local Times of Israel.
“Facebook and internet companies have a responsibility regarding the content they allow on their sites that encourages incitement and terror, and they should actively operate to monitor it,” Erdan said.
Justice Minister Shaked, who has previously called all Palestinians, including women and children “the enemy,” further used the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. to call for a crackdown on Palestinian “terror.”
“Particularly in the week in which we remember 9/11, an event that changed the face of the U.S., it is clear that there is a joint interest among all parties that are in a position to fight terror.”
Such a crackdown on incitement by Facebook would never be used against Israelis who suggest killing Arabs and Palestinians, according to the Intercept.
During the 2014 war on Gaza, many Israelis took to social media platforms to call for more killing of Palestinians.
Last year when an Israeli soldier was arrested for shooting and killing a wounded Palestinian point blank in the head, his fellow troops used Facebook to praise the killing, while Israeli extremists justified the killing and called for his release.
The same Shaked who is worried about online incitement, used Facebook to post the text of an article by the late Israeli writer Uri Elitzur that referred to Palestinian children as “little snakes.”
In a another example, the justice minister posted on Facebook that Palestinians are all “the enemy” and therefore all legitimate targets.
“This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people,” she said in a Facebook post in 2015. “Every war is between two peoples, and in every war the people who started the war, that whole people, is the enemy.”
Both of those posts were deleted upon her appointment to the justice ministry.
Facebook and Israel have been developing an intimate relationship over the past few years. In June, Mondoweiss reported that Jordana Cutler, current chief of staff at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. was hired as head of policy and communications at Facebook’s Israel office.
Facebook has also been very responsive when asked by Israel to delete posts it deems as inciting terror over the past year.
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