Global: Zionism/Zionist hate speech policy review must not stifle legitimate criticism of Israel’s oppressive policies

‘Meta must ensure that its content policies are neither discriminatory nor biased against pro-Palestinian voices’ - Alia Al Ghussain

Responding to Meta’s proposed revision of its content policies regarding use of the terms “Zionism” or “Zionist”, Alia Al Ghussain, Amnesty Tech’s Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights researcher and advisor, said: 

“Meta must ensure that its content policies are neither discriminatory nor biased against pro-Palestinian voices.

“A blanket ban on the criticism of ‘Zionism’ or ‘Zionists’ would be a disproportionate and arbitrary restriction on free expression and would lead to the stifling of Palestinian, Jewish and other voices trying to call attention to atrocity crimes committed by Israeli forces in Gaza, where at least 28,000 people have been killed in just four months, or to Israel’s system of apartheid against Palestinians.   

“There is a real danger that such policy revisions would stifle free expression of voices speaking out against the Israeli government’s systematic violations of Palestinian rights, and its ongoing onslaught in Gaza, where a real and imminent risk of genocide looms large.

“This proposed revision is especially disturbing given the current dire situation in the Gaza Strip. Meta should not limit criticism of a state’s wrongful actions and curtail freedom of expression under the guise of the legitimate fight against discrimination and racism.

“Along with other corporations, Meta has responsibilities under, among other things, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to respect all human rights throughout their operations, including the rights to free expression and non-discrimination.” 

Call on social media platforms

Amnesty International has previously called on social media platforms to reform their business practices in conflict-affected settings, and for social media platforms to step up their crisis response to online hate against Palestinian and Jewish communities. Amnesty has documented serious violations by Israeli forces in Gaza, including unlawful attacks, apparent indiscriminate attacks and direct targeting of civilians and collective punishment. 

Amnesty does not take positions on ideologies or political systems such as Zionism. Our statement does not assess or comment on Zionism as a political idea.  

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