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'Hate speech against Palestinians posted every 71 seconds'

A new report published by 7amleh documents anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian content on Hebrew-language social media and highlights the disparities in the way Israeli authorities treat violent speech online. 

Illustrative photo of a man using Facebook on a laptop computer. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Illustrative photo of a man using Facebook on a laptop computer. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Hate speech, derogatory statements, and calls for violence against Palestinians are posted on Israeli social media every 71 seconds, according to a report published this week by 7amleh (pronounced Hamleh), the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media.

One out of nine social media posts about Palestinians in Hebrew contain calls to violence or curses, according to the 2017 “Index of racism and incitement in Israeli social networks against Arabs and Palestinians,” which 7amleh says was developed by monitoring violent and inciting rhetoric according to a list of 100 keywords of expressions, names, and personalities in Hebrew. Some 50,000 Israeli social media users published at least one post that contained “incitement” against Palestinians, according to the index.

Headquartered in Haifa, 7amleh provides social media training for Palestinian activists in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank and advocates for greater internet access and for the protection of Palestinian freedom of expression online.

The group’s use of the term “incitement,” which can be a crime in Israel, is intended to draw attention to the asymmetry in the way Israeli authorities treat violent speech on social media. Hundreds of Palestinians — in Israel and in the occupied territories — have been arrested and jailed for posts deemed incitement, while comparatively few Israeli Jews have faced similar charges.

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour seen in the Nazareth court, December 4th, 2017. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour seen in the Nazareth court, December 4th, 2017. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Notable cases of Palestinians arrested and prosecuted for social media incitement include Dareen Tatour and Nariman Tamimi. Israeli police arrested 34-year-old Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour in October of 2015 for a poem and several statuses she posted on Facebook. Charged with incitement to violence and identifying with a terrorist organization, Tatour has thus far spent over two years in prison and under house arrest — and she has yet to be convicted of a crime.

Nariman Tamimi, mother of teenaged Ahed Tamimi, was charged with incitement in an Israeli military court for livestreaming the now-famous video of her daughter’s attempt to push two armed Israeli soldiers off of the porch of the family’s home. Nariman was denied bail and, like her daughter, will remain in prison until the end of her trial.

Palestinian political figures — both members of Knesset and Fatah and Hamas leaders — were most often the targets of violent social media content, 7amleh found. Joint List MKs Ahmad Tibi and Haneen Zoabi received the most online hate: 40,000 and 35,000 posts respectively.

Nadim Nashif, 7amleh’s executive director, said that the group’s research “exposes Facebook’s complicity in perpetuating the double standards of the Israeli government of silencing and shutting down Palestinian content whilst allowing for the spread of Israeli incitement.”

“Furthermore,” Nashif continued, “the Israeli government fails to hold any Israeli accountable for online violence while at the same time it jails hundreds of Palestinians based on this unfounded claim of incitement.”

According to data published by Facebook, the social media company restricted access to 472 posts at the request of the Israeli government.

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    1. Lewis from Afula

      How can you hate a Nation that never existed and never will ?

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        I dunno, tell us how you achieved this remarkable feat, champ.

        Reply to Comment
        • Lewis from Afula

          No, the point is that it is impossible to hate that which does not exist.
          Ben, do you hate Narnians, Middle-Earthers and Dorothy’s OzLanders too?

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Ahem. The point, which inexplicably escaped your bear trap mind, is that you clearly do hate the same nation and people you’ve managed in another dark corner of that bear trap mind to convince yourself don’t exist. So how did you accomplish this remarkable feat, genius? Scientists want to know.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Ben, I don’t hate the Narnians …..because the Narnains never existed and never will.
            That is the point that I am making that certain silly people cannot grasp.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            We see very well the point you are making, Lewis from Afula. LoL. You have a track record and a reputation. For the severest, blunt, open hatred. For openly advocating ethnic cleansing and mass population transfer of a specific ethnic, national group: Arab Palestinians, whatever it was you called them. You can’t run away from that. You wrote it all down in black and white. Repetitively. We all read it. No one talks passionately of ethnic cleansing “Narnians.” No one who is not psychotic, at least. You are not psychotic. Your talk comes from very real hatred. There is nothing subtle about it. Or about you.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Gershom

      The poor fellow who tries so hard, in another article in todays posting, to keep the conflation of Jews, Judaism from zionists, zionism and their proclaimed “Jewish state really is up against it here. The privileges accorded to those who by religious description are Jews to engage in hateful, vicious anti-social acts against others while the voices of their victims is suppressed and, again, jailed cannot but make his good intentions worse than useless, they will make his intentions appear to be an attempt to cover our ass and further supress the resistance of those victims. It is really difficult to not understand how the actions of some Jews does not foment-perpetuate hatred against Jews called anti-semitism. I am gladly Jewish myself and I am having a really difficult time keeping it all clear in my head. I what F-Ked up world do I get to envy my grand parents?!

      Reply to Comment