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Facebook finally acts – The Australian Jewish News



FACEBOOK has removed an antisemitic comment that it had previously said did not violate its standards after probing by The AJN.

A member of the Jewish community alerted the social media giant to the comment last week, which was under an article posted to the page of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network.

The article, from the Middle East Eye, was about clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in the West Bank, in which it said three Palestinians were killed (a Times of Israel article about the same events said two were killed).

“Yet another Devilish act by the so called people god [sic]. Just like the Nazis did, absolutely no empathy for human life”, the comment read.

But when the Jewish user reported the comment, Facebook responded that “it doesn’t go against our community standards”.

The AJN contacted Facebook this week to ask how the comment did not violate its standards, pointing out that it holds all Jews collectively responsible for Israel’s actions and equates Jews with Nazis – both of which are identified as examples of antisemitism under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

After a review, the comment was removed.

“We have removed this comment for breaching our hate speech policy,” a Meta spokesperson said. Meta is Facebook’s parent company.

Commending Facebook for removing the “overtly racist comment”, Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim said, “It should not have been a difficult decision to make. Facebook’s community standards acknowledge that hate speech includes ‘dehumanising speech or imagery in the form of comparisons … to or about subhumanity’. A posted comment that characterises Israelis, or Jews more generally, as ‘Devilish’, ‘the so-called people god’ and ‘just like the Nazis’, clearly falls into this category.

“If this kind of discourse was directed at First Nations people or Muslims or any other group, I doubt that the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network would have allowed such a comment to be posted on its webpage.

“This incident demonstrates once again the validity of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism, and the morally compromised agendas of those who seek to undermine it.”

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