How Terrorists Are Using Twitter to Incite Violence Against Israelis

A guest post by Richard Clark

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On March 15, 2018, Hamas called on Palestinians to participate in a “Day of Rage.” This phrase is a veiled call to violence against Jews and Israelis intended to be less upsetting to Western ears than chants of “death to the Jews!”

Following the recent Hamas incitement, terrorist attacks against Israelis surged.

On March 16, a Palestinian terrorist rammed a group of Israelis with his car, killing Ziv Daus and Netanel Kahalani. He injured two other innocents.

On March 18, a Palestinian terrorist stabbed a Jewish Israeli in Jerusalem. The victim, Adiel Kolman, just 32 years old, left behind a young family.

Clearly, incitement to violence is deadly. And such Israeli deaths are the primary means to Hamas’ end of destroying the Jewish state.

So how does Hamas incite violence? Increasingly they’re using social media. In fact, the call for a “day of rage” prior to the two recent attacks came via the official Hamas Twitter accounts.

Most are shocked to learn that Hamas is allowed to use Twitter to advance their deadly agenda. After all, Hamas is a recognized terrorist entity in many jurisdictions, including Canada, the United States, the European Union, and Israel. And, quite rightly, other terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda and ISIS, have been booted off the fourth-largest social media platform in the world.

But, when it comes to Hamas, Twitter has refused to act. This is somewhat confusing, considering the company’s own rules were updated in December to explicitly reference promotion of terrorism as unwelcome on the platform.

If Hamas’ status as a terrorist entity isn’t enough to be banned, surely their use of the platform to incite violence should be. But, despite more than two million impressions of the #GetHamasOffTwitter hashtag, Twitter has remained silent.

So, what’s to be done about this deadly problem? Well, experience has taught us that Twitter responds to public pressure. They’re quick to shut down hate speech when it goes viral – because they know it reflects poorly on them: following intervention from concerned citizens, the company stepped up to purge more than 300,000 accounts that supported the Islamic State.

We must keep up the pressure. You can join thousands of concerned members of the Jewish and pro-Israel community and do two things right now:

  1. Add your name to a letter to Twitter at cija.ca/HamasTwitter
  2. Tweet using the #GetHamasOffTwitter hashtag.

Combined, these two steps will take you less than two minutes. You’ll be part of a global movement, and your action may well save lives.

Richard Clark leads digital at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada. He was a candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada in the 2015 federal election. Previously he worked in Prime Minister Harper’s government.

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