On Wednesday, Facebook reinstated the official account of the ruling Palestinian Authority faction Fatah after shutting it down earlier in the week. After the page was taken down, Palestinian Authority protested the closure as “evidence of unfair collaboration between Israel and Facebook against the Palestinians”.
“The page was removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate. We apologize for this mistake,” said a Facebook spokesman after the page was reinstated.
Fatah’s page, which has 70,000 followers, was taken down after Facebook decided that it violated its community standards after it posted a photo of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat posing with current Fatah deputy chairman Mahmoud al-Aloul, while holding a rifle that belonged to an Israeli soldier abducted in the 1980s by Palestinians in Beirut.
Fatah has been inciting Palestinians to violence against Israeli Jews for years. Last year, it boasted that its members killed more than 11,000 Israelis. According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), some examples of Fatah incitement on Facebook include a video urging Palestinians to carry out stabbing and car ramming attacks, celebrating a female suicide bomber and glorifying the murderers of 116 Israelis in its “top 10 most outstanding operations”.
Earlier in February, citing its policy on “dangerous organizations”, Facebook removed the official page of the Jewish Defence League of Canada (JDL Canada). A Facebook spokeswoman told Canadian Jewish News that JDL pages “are not allowed to be on Facebook, so they were correctly removed”, but did not reply to an email asking her to explain what, in Facebook’s opinion, makes JDL a dangerous organization.
According to JDL Canada’s website, its stated mission is the restoration of pride and integrity to the Jewish People, the return of Jewish values, the reclamation of the Jewish sense of justice and the abolition of hatred and bigotry.
Ilana Shneider is the co-editor of CIJnews and the founding executive director of Canada-Israel Friendship Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the mutually beneficial, long-standing diplomatic, economic and cultural ties between Canada and Israel. She can be reached at [email protected]