Racist and inciting Facebook statuses by Israeli Jews have become commonplace on the Internet. Yet not a single Israeli has ever been sent to prison for publishing a status on social media.
By John Brown* and Noam Rotem
We do not live in a state where people are equal before the law. This is a fact that shouldn’t surprise anyone. The Internet, on the other hand, has maintained a kind of facade where freedom and equality are set in stone. But no more. This week, 23-year-old Uday Biyumi from Jerusalem was sentenced to 17 months in prison for publishing Facebook posts “systematically and widely.”
The sentence is not something out of the ordinary. Sami Da’is received eight months for his posts on social media; Omar Shalbi was sentenced to nine months; and many others are still being held until the end of legal proceedings, waiting for a decision on their case. All of them for publishing statuses on Facebook.
Perhaps you have noticed that there is not a single Jewish person among those arrested—this isn’t a coincidence. The following article will compare some of these remarks to those made by Jews, who were never forced to spend seven months in jail. Not a single Jewish citizen of Israel has ever been sent to prison for publishing a status on social media.
These social media users are usually accused of the following clauses in Israeli law: “incitement to racism,” “incitement to violence or terrorism,” and sometimes “support for a terrorist organization.” The first clause is simple: anyone who publishes remarks “for the purpose of inciting to racism,” regardless of the probability that the remarks will lead to violence—is guilty. According to the second clause, incitement to violence or terrorism—or praising an act of violence or terror—is forbidden only if the content of the remarks and the circumstances in which they were published include a a real possibility to lead to an act of violence or terrorism. This requires finding out whether anyone who read the status was inspired to commit an act of terrorism or violence. As for the third clause, anyone who expresses support for a terrorist organization is guilty.
Eight months for 14 ‘likes’
The court takes into account how much exposure these statuses receive when determining the defendant’s sentence. Sometimes they have over 200 likes, other times they are far less popular. Such is the case of...Read More