Join the Campaign “Facebook, we Need to Talk.”

Published on Tue Jan 26 2021 - modified on Wed Feb 03 2021

More than 35 organisations and 31,000 signatories are supporting the campaign “Facebook, we need to talk – and you’re not letting us.” calling the main social media platform to not add Zionist to its hate speech policy.

Right now, Facebook is reaching out to stakeholders to ask if critical conversations that use the term “Zionist” fall within the rubric of hate speech as per Facebook’s Community Standards. Basically, Facebook is assessing if “Zionist” is being used as a proxy for “Jewish people or Israelis” in attacks on its platform.

This move is part of a concerning pattern of the Israeli government and its supporters pressuring Facebook and other social media platforms to expand their hate speech policies to include speech critical of Israel and Zionism.

Facebook says it will make a decision as soon as the end of February 2021.

Why is this happening?

The Israeli government and its supporters falsely claim that equating “Zionist” with “Jew” or “Jewish” will help fight antisemitism. In reality, they hope that that by mischaracterizing critical use of the term “Zionists” as anti-Jewish, they can avoid accountability for its policies and actions that violate Palestinian human rights.

Attempts to stifle conversations about Zionist political ideology and Zionist policies carried out by state actors — both of which have real implications for Palestinian and Israeli people, as well as Jewish and Palestinian people around the world — are part of an emerging pattern of political censorship by the Israeli government and some of its supporters.

What would the result be?

If Facebook does move to restrict use of the word Zionist, this would block important conversations on the world’s largest social media platform, harm Facebook users attempting to connect across space and difference, and deprive Palestinians of a critical venue for expressing their political viewpoints to the world.

What should Facebook do?

Facebook should allow us to hold governments accountable — not shield governments from accountability. It should refuse to cooperate with governments and politicians who are hoping to shut down our conversations and build more walls to keep us apart. That means Facebook should make sure we can discuss, debate, and even disagree about political ideologies like Zionism, about government policies and actions and accountability, and about our lives and families — as part of our commitment to safety for Palestinian people and Jewish people wherever they are in the world.

Why should you support?

We need to talk about the best ways to dismantle antisemitism and all the connected machinery of racism, bigotry, and xenophobia.

We need to talk as Palestinians, with our friends and families and with rest of the world, sharing our experiences about daily life under military occupation and the violence of Zionist settlers.

We need to talk as Jews, discussing and debating our many relationships to Zionist political ideology.

We need to talk about holding the Israeli government accountable, like all governments must be held accountable, by bringing to light violations of human rights on the world’s biggest social media platform.

Facebook, we need to talk.

Read more about the campaign and support by signing the petition!

Read the articles on The Verge and on Mondoweiss

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