ISIS isn’t allowed on Twitter. Why is Hamas?

What would you think if Al Qaeda was allowed a Twitter account? What about the Islamic State? You would likely be shocked and outraged. Of course, neither Al Qaeda nor ISIS is permitted on Twitter because the social media giant quickly closes accounts associated with these terrorists.

But there is another terrorist organization which, for years, has proudly and publicly waged a deadly campaign of violence targeting Israelis and is highly active on Twitter: Hamas.

Hamas Twitter accounts, which spew hatred in Arabic, English, and French, have a combined audience of nearly a half-million followers.

Times of Israel readers are no doubt familiar with Hamas’ record and agenda, which sadly seems to have been lost on Twitter. The Hamas Charter openly rejects Israel’s right to exist and glorifies the killing of Jews. Since its inception, Hamas has claimed responsibility for the murder of more than 1,300 Israelis. Hamas violence against civilians has included suicide bombings, missile attacks, mass shootings, stabbings, and vehicle rammings.

Many democracies, including Canada, the United States, Israel, and the European Union, have designated Hamas a terrorist entity and prohibited citizens from providing it material support. As a matter of basic corporate responsibility, this fact alone should be sufficient for Twitter to halt Hamas’ use of its platform immediately.

But, if further evidence is needed to demonstrate the urgent need for Twitter to shut Hamas accounts down, one need look no further than Hamas’ use of the platform to foment acts of violence against innocent civilians.

On March 15, 2018, Hamas tweeted a call for “Mass Participation in Day of Rage,” a phrase that’s used to urge Palestinians to wage violence against Jewish and Israeli citizens.

Following Hamas’ call for “rage,” violence against Israelis spiked. On March 16, 2018, a Palestinian terrorist rammed a group of Israelis, killing two and injuring two more. On March 18, 2018, a Palestinian terrorist stabbed and killed a Jewish Israeli in Jerusalem. In response to the attacks, Hamas issued statements commending these perpetrators.

Clearly, incitement to violence has deadly consequences. Until Twitter acts to uphold its own stated policy, it remains complicit in Hamas’ heinous agenda.

In the past, Twitter has properly addressed terrorism on its platform. It has rightly removed or suspended thousands of accounts associated with Islamic State. Twitter also recently updated its regulations to explicitly reference terrorism.

It’s time for Twitter to apply its own rules consistently and ban Hamas from the platform. You can join CIJA and our partners in a global effort to get Hamas’ propaganda off Twitter. Add your name to our letter to the social media giant here.

About the Author
Based in Ottawa, Shimon Koffler Fogel is President and CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) - the advocacy agent of Canada's Jewish Federations.
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