Friday, September 21, 2018 -
Print Edition

Shooting the messenger

Oh, the irony. A media watchdog’s channel reporting on hate speech is shut down by YouTube for violating its terms. What was the violation? The watchdog was posting “hateful content.” So YouTube took the content down (they did leave some of the channel up).

Talk about shooting the messenger!

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) monitors official channels of the Palestinian Authority — including newspapers, television programs and websites — and reports on their troublesome content. In the case, it was a video showing a Palestinian girl reading a poem on official Palestinian Authority television calling for a “war that will smash the oppressor and destroy the Zionist soul.” We can all agree it’s a hate-filled message, but PMW isn’t propagating the message, they are merely reporting it for the benefit of all those that would deny that the PA is anything but a peace-loving entity. The goal of PMW is to inform the public about views held by some Palestinians — not to disseminate them!

Of course, it’s not YouTube’s job to investigate each and every video posted to its site. But is their something bigger going on here? Why is it the Israeli site being shut down for a hate message from Palestinians?

We don’t want to sound like conspiracy theorists, but you be the judge: In 2013, PMW posted a video from Fatah’s Facebook page from the Al-Aksa Martyr’s Brigade calling for the kidnap, murder and bombing of Israelis. The video was removed from PMW’s YouTube channel, but not from Fatah’s YouTube channel (the one without the English subtitles!).

It seems to us there are two possible conclusions to draw.

One: There are people out there who want to keep their heads buried in the sand. Instead of acknowledging there is a hateful element to Palestinian politics, they’d rather pretend is simply doesn’t exist.

Two: There are people out there who don’t want Israelis to disseminate any of the ugly facts because that might give Israel and its supporters some legitimacy, which these people don’t want Israel to have.

If the prime concern of YouTube et. al. was to rid their corner of the Internet of any form at all of hate speech, disregarding all context, why can one, for example, find on YouTube documentaries on the KKK, in which people share their views on ‘white power’? YouTube doesn’t seem to think those videos are disseminating hate speech.

Is this simply a case of mistakenly shooting the messenger, or is something more sinister going on? You be the judge.




Leave a Reply