In a simple test, the organization tracked down two existing Facebook pages – one pro-Israeli, and one pro-Palestinian – and uploaded content to each that was rife with incitement to violence and hate.
“Guess which page Facebook removed for violating rules against incitement,” said attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, who heads the organization.
“With over 30 Israelis killed in terror attacks since October – with many of the murderers receiving encouragement and motivation from social media – it is shocking that Facebook would continue to ignore instances of incitement against Israelis, while quickly fulfilling its obligation to remove other instances of incitement when it sees fit to do so, as we showed in this experiment,” she said.
In one example from mid-October, Shurat HaDin said that a 19-year-old Palestinian, “Mohammed Halabi, published a post on his Facebook page stating that the Third Intifada had erupted and that the current war is for the al-Aqsa Mosque. One day later, Halabi stabbed and murdered Aharon Benita z”l and Rabbi Nehemia Lavi z”l.”
“There are many examples. In general, Facebook is being flooded with many messages in support of terrorists,” and the platform has consistently ignored requests to intervene and prevent posting of such messages, the organization claimed.
In the test conducted by Shurat HaDin at the end of December, the group tracked down two pages with similar names and similar but opposite purposes, one called “Stop Israelis” and the other, “Stop Palestinians.” The group uploaded relevant, equally ugly and hateful messages to both groups, in which the language, images, and messages were equally weighted.
Thus, the group uploaded to the pro-Palestinian group messages that included text like “the Zionist bite palestine part after part and the world is silence. we’ll stop them any we can,” retaining the punctuation and style common on many of these posts. On the pro-Israel page, the group uploaded messages that said things like “Greater land israel should return soon from the hands of the muslim enemy back to jewish sovereignty!We’ll do it any we can.”
Ramping things up, the test continued with unmasked hate and calls for violence. Messages in this phase included “Revenge against the Jewish enemy that threatens Al Aqsa! Death to all the Jews!,” and “Revenge against the arab enemy. Death to all the Arabs,” with images – some by now famous, others new – to illustrate the points.
After several days of this, Shurat HaDin filed complaints against both pages for incitement and hatred, using Facebook’s standard complaint procedure. The result: Stop Palestinians was pulled because, as Facebook told the group in response to the complaint, it “contains credible threat of violence and it violates our Community Standards.” The Stop Israelis page, on the other hand, did not violate anything, and was not taken down, said Darshan-Leitner.
Below is the video (which I found via the Israel Project) which was produced by Shurat HaDin, and it shows in very stark simple terms the dreadful anti-Israel and even anti-Jewish bias that goes on in the media. As the blurb under the video states:
This particular case, and the video itself, deal only with Facebook, but the truth is that matters are no different in any media, whether the new social media or the classic mainstream media.
The “good” news is that eventually, Facebook “saw the light” and took the anti-Israel page down too – but only after it had been embarrassed – and sued – into doing so.
Shurat HaDin went after Facebook and hit them where it hurts – in the pocket:
Facebook also insisted it “does not tolerate hate speech, including against people on the basis of their nationality. We review all reports and take down such content. Both these pages have now been removed from Facebook.”
Shurat Hadin, however, did not buy the statement.
“Unfortunately we do not believe it was a simple ‘mistake’ as Israelis and Jews worldwide have been relentlessly protesting that Facebook is completely unresponsive to this type of Palestinian incitement to violence,” Shurat Hadin founder, attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, told The Observer.
“Two months ago we filed a lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court on behalf of over 20,000 Israeli citizens, seeking an injunction against Facebook for “intentionally disregarding the widespread incitement and calls for murder of Jews being posted on its web pages by Palestinians. This simple experiment and its results speak for themselves,” she continued.
This sorry tale shows us the importance of all of us not letting the bigots and haters get away with their bigotry and hate.
If you see bias and hate, confront it, report it, and if necessary, embarrass the perpetrators publicly.