Israeli Official Who Promoted Genocide on Facebook Now Fighting 'Incitement' on Social Media
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who used Facebook in 2014 to promote genocide against Palestinians, is leading her government’s successful efforts to press Facebook and Google to censor content that her government deems “Palestinian incitement.”
Shaked recently claimed that Facebook has agreed to 95 percent of her requests for deletions.
“Our main aim is for those companies to do their own monitoring of material containing incitement,” Shaked said on Monday at the International Conference on Counter-terrorism near Tel Aviv, following a meeting with Facebook representatives.
“Just as ISIS (Islamic State) video clips are being monitored and removed from the network, we want them to take the same action against Palestinian material that incites terrorism," she continued, according to Reuters reporter Steven Scheer. "The world now understands that (social) networks serve as a greenhouse for terrorists.”
The remarks are striking, given that Shaked—who hails from the far-right HaBayit HaYehudi—took to Facebook during the summer of 2014 to call for the destruction of Gaza, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.” She did so by posting text that she said is from the unpublished work Uri Elitzur, a prominent leader of the settler movement and an advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Here is a translation of an excerpt from her Facebook post, which garnered thousands of Facebook likes from Israelis and their supporters:
What’s so horrifying about understanding that the entire Palestinian people is the enemy? Every war is between two peoples, and in every war the people who started the war, that whole people, is the enemy. A declaration of war is not a war crime. Responding with war certainly is not. Nor is the use of the word “war”, nor a clear definition who the enemy is. Au contraire: the morality of war (yes, there is such a thing) is founded on the assumption that there are wars in this world, and that war is not the normal state of things, and that in wars the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.
… Actors in the war are those who incite in mosques, who write the murderous curricula for schools, who give shelter, who provide vehicles, and all those who honor and give them their moral support. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.
Facebook did not censor this clear call for genocide against a militarily occupied people. In fact, it was deleted by Shaked herself after public outcry forced her on the defensive.
Now, Shaked is working alongside Israeli Interior Minister Gilad Erdan to press cyber giants to monitor and delete online material they say constitutes incitement. The two officials are also working to advance legislation to force social media companies to comply with Israel’s demands for censorship.
But according to Shaked, companies are already voluntarily caving to Israel’s demands. She claimed at the security conference that, over the past four months, Facebook agreed to 95 percent of Israel’s requests to remove content and that YouTube, which is owned by Google, complied with 80 percent of such requests.
Facebook released a statement on Monday stating that "online extremism can only be tackled with a strong partnership between policymakers, civil society, academia and companies, and this is true in Israel and around the world."