Stop Facebook from adding Zionist as a protected category under hate speech

Following is an open letter to Facebook:

Just yesterday, emails from an employee in the Facebook content policy regarding the company’s position on the term “Zionist” were leaked widely online. The emails revealed that Facebook is “looking at the question of how we should interpret attacks on ‘Zionists’ to determine whether the term is used as a proxy for attacking Jewish or Israeli people.” The email also stated that this evaluation was taking place in the context of Facebook’s policy of prohibiting hate speech. 

To draw a parallel between critiques of racist Israeli apartheid and racist hate speech is insulting and inaccurate. Every day, the Palestinian peoples’ rights to self-determination are trampled. The racist Zionist state of Israel constantly wages war upon Palestinian communities in a land where the Israeli government is the real trespasser. A week ago, Israeli tanks carpet bombed multiple neighborhoods in Gaza City in the middle of the night. Brutally awoken from sleep, families were forced to flee from their burning homes. This is normal in occupied Palestine. Human rights violations of this level require strong public condemnation. When Palestinian organizations and freedom fighters attack Zionism online, they aren’t attacking Judaism. They’re attacking a brutal, racist system of oppression bent on the exploitation and murder of the Palestinian people. 

On that note, it is crucial that Zionism is distinguished from Judaism. They are not the same thing. There is a common misconception that Zionism came about as a popular movement in the Jewish community. Quite the opposite is true. Zionism is an ideology of the few and the wealthy. After the horrors of the holocaust, opportunist Jewish and non-Jewish capitalists and fascists took advantage of a people reeling from Nazi persecution to establish an imperialist satellite in Palestine. Since that time, Israel has diligently served the United States and its imperialist allies.The distinction between Zionism and Judaism is further shown by the growing anti-Zionist consciousness among the younger Jewish community. For many young people, it is impossible to rationalize the values taught in synagogue and the horrific war crimes perpetrated in the name of a “Jewish homeland.” 

In reality, Zionism is bad for all Palestinians and all working-class Jewish people. This toxic ideology divides the global working-class community and creates a false mythology of inherent hatred between Jews and Arabs. The anti-Zionist Jewish authors of this letter and the entire Socialist Unity Party stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their battle against Zionist apartheid. We wholeheartedly condemn Facebook’s attempt to thwart the discourse of that struggle. 

Lev Koufax, Miranda Etel and Ian Shlakman

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