Twitter Defends Censoring Trump, Allows Iranian Leader to Call for Israel’s ‘Genocide’

July 30th, 2020 3:12 PM

It takes a special kind of chutzpah to tell the Israeli parliament that calls for Israel’s destruction are more acceptable than Trump’s tweets. 

“A Twitter spokeswoman has defended the company’s decision to block and restrict tweets from President Trump but not those of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei which call for genocide of the Israeli people,” The New York Post reported July 29. International Human Rights Lawyer and political analyst Arsen Ostrovsky tweeted a video of a Knesset (or Israeli parliament) hearing on anti-Semitism, where a Twitter representative was roasted for restricting President Donald Trump’s tweets while allowing Iran's Supreme Leader Imam Sayyid Ali Khamenei to call for Israel’s violent destruction

Ostrovsky, who was himself present at this meeting observed: “You have recently started flagging the tweets of President Trump,” but then inquired, “Why have you not flagged the tweets of Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has literally called for the genocide of Israel and the Jewish people?”

The Twitter representative claimed that “foreign policy saber-rattling” and “commentary on political issues of the day” are “generally not in violation” of Twitter’s rules. Trump’s condemnation of rioters, however, “was violating [Twitter’s] policies regarding the glorification of violence” and “could “possibly inspire harm.”

Knesset member Michal Cotler-Wunsh interjected: “Calling for genocide is OK, but commenting on politics is not? Just so we understand.” Cotler-Wunsh then reiterated her question: “Calling for genocide on Twitter is OK, but commenting on political situations in certain countries is not OK?”

The Twitter spokeswoman explained:

“[The Trump] tweet was violating our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line of that tweet and the risk that it could possibly inspire harm and similar actions.”

In a May 21 tweet, Khamenei wrote, "The only remedy until the removal of the Zionist regime is firm, armed resistance." The next day he followed up by infamously calling Israel a “deadly, cancerous growth” that “will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed.” Neither of these tweets has an interstitial, or filter. 

In late May, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) sent an open letter to the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury to call for a criminal investigation into Twitter for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and Executive Order 13876.

Cruz quoted the wording of Executive Order 13876 “which prohibits ‘the making of any contribution or provision of… goods[] or services’ to persons designated pursuant to that order,” including Iranian leadership.

The May 29 letter explained that Cruz had previously sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey informing him “that Twitter and its principals face criminal liability and sanctions exposure for providing social media accounts” to Iranian leaders.