Facebook is embroiled in an Israeli political war

   There is a growing debate about how censors should treat the term 'patriotism'.
   On November 10, a Facebook employee sent an unusual email to an unknown outside, in hopes of arranging a conversation about how the platform censors against anti-Semitism. "We are looking at the question of how should we explain the attacks on 'Zionists'," read the letter the recipient wrote down, "to determine if the term is present. must represent attacking Jews or Israel"


   That strange but seemingly harmless email caused a storm of fire in some of the left corners. Since Tuesday, activists have issued a petition calling on the platform to stop any potential change to how Facebook censors the word "Zionist". Both sides agree that the term is often used as part of a racist rhetoric that is accurately described as hate speech and should be removed. At the same time, this term is also used by Jewish critics for specific Israeli policies, especially the country's settlement policy. Categorizing the term as hostile agitation will stifle those criticisms - at least on Facebook.
Organized by the Jewish Progress for Peace group (JVP), the petition eventually garnered more than 20,000 signatures, including art activists like Michael Chabon, Peter Gabriel and Wallace Shawn. "We are extremely concerned about Facebook proposing to revise its hate speech policy to see‘ Zionist ’as representing‘ Jews ’or‘ Jews ’, the petition said. "This is the wrong solution to a real and important problem."
   "THIS IS A Wrong Solution to an Important and Practical Problem"Approaching to comment, Facebook denies that there are any plans to reclassify this word in its hate speech policy. But at the same time, Facebook does not dispute the authenticity of the email or deny that the platform's classification of the term "Zionist" is under review - only saying that no decision has yet been made. .
   “According to our current policy, we allow the term 'Zionist' in political discourse, but remove it when it is used as a representative of Jews or Israelis,” a Facebook spokesperson said. in a violent or humanistic manner. ”“ Just as we routinely do with all of our policies, we engage independently with experts and stakeholders to ensure that this policy In the right place, but this doesn't mean we will change our policy. ”
   Even without a specific policy change in response, the JVP sees Facebook's email as part of a broader campaign to change the way the platform treats criticism against the Israeli government. Rabbi Alissa Wise, deputy director at Israel Voice for Peace, said: “Limiting the word 'Zionist' as part of a policy of hate speech won't really make Jews safer. holds the Israeli government accountable for the harm to the Palestinian people.
   "Social media companies should allow people to hold our governments accountable," Wise continued, "not shielding governments from accountability."