ANALYSIS: Israel Asked Twitter to Ban Khamenei. Here’s Why
The question now is if the Internet giant will honor its own policies regarding incitement and racism
Despite a coronavirus crisis that opposition figures estimate has claimed the lives of more than 44,000 Iranians, the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei remains focused.
No, Khamenei is not focusing on containing the COVID-19 outbreak or on improving lives of ordinary Iranians who are suffering due to the unprecedented economical crisis. He’s as usual pre-occupied with Israel and staying in power amidst calls for regime change.
If he would have cared for the wellbeing of his subjects Khamenei wouldn’t have allowed for the re-opening of religious sites, which were, in fact, the hotbeds of the Corona outbreak in Iran.
Iran became quickly the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Middle East after the regime refused to lock down the holy city of Qom, where at the beginning of the Corona crisis religious gatherings continued with people kissing the Shiite shrines.
Khamenei, however, has other worries. He’s focused on threatening Israel and uses Nazi-like rhetoric to intimidate the Jewish state, while again comparing the Israel to a cancerous tumor.
On the occasion of Quds Day, an annual hate-fest directed at Israel that was created by the founder of the Islamic revolution Ayatollah Khomeini, Khamenei used his Twitter account to publish a series of anti-Israeli rants and a poster with Nazi-like language.
Here’s one of the hateful tweets Khamenei fired off:
“Some argue that the Zionist regime is a reality that the region must come to terms with. Today the Covid-19 virus is a reality; should it be accepted or fought? The long-lasting virus of Zionism will be uprooted thanks to the determination and faith of the youth.”
Some argue that the Zionist regime is a reality that the region must come to terms with. Today the #Covid_19 is a reality; should it be accepted or fought?!
The long-lasting virus of Zionism will be uprooted thanks to the determination and faith of the youth. #Covid1948
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) May 22, 2020
Another Khamenei tweet stated that the “Zionist regime” is a “deadly cancerous growth” that should be “uprooted” and “destroyed.”
“The Zionist regime is a deadly, cancerous growth and a detriment to this region. It will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed. Then, the shame will fall on those who put their facilities at the service of normalization of relations with this regime,” wrote Iran’s leader.
4. The Zionist regime is a deadly, cancerous growth and a detriment to this region. It will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed. Then, the shame will fall on those who put their facilities at the service of normalization of relations with this regime.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) May 22, 2020
Khamenei also tweeted that the “West Bank must be armed, just as Gaza. The only thing that can reduce is the hand of power. Otherwise, compromise won’t reduce a bit of the cruelty of this usurping, evil, wolf-like entity.”
The West Bank must be armed, just as Gaza. The only thing that can reduce the Palestinians’ hardships is the hand of power. Otherwise, compromise won’t reduce a bit of the cruelty of this usurping, evil, wolf-like entity.#FlyTheFlag
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) May 18, 2020
The Iranian dictator then published a poster in Arabic, Farsi, and English that read:
“Palestine will be free. The Final Solution is Resistance.”
The words “Final Solution” are a clear reference to the Nazi’s and the Holocaust, which was Germany’s way of dealing with what Hitler called “the Jewish problem”.
Although this year’s Quds Day celebration was different than previous ones because of the Corona epidemic in Iran, the usual burning of Israeli flags and the military parades were replaced with hundreds of rallies with cars throughout Iran and the virtual burning of flags.
After mainly Jewish leaders and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well as EU Foreign Policy chief Joseph Borrell criticized Khamenei’s rhetoric, the Iranian leader posted a clarification: he did not mean the killing of all Jews, just the Israeli ones.
After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also took to Twitter and expressed disgust with Khamenei’s reference to the Final Solution, the new Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Orit Farkash Cohen confronted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and demanded the company close down Khamenei’s account, citing Twitter’s own Hateful Conduct Policy.
Twitter’s policies declare threatening violence on individuals or groups of people off-limits, whereas the company’s Hateful Conduct Policy clearly states that a user “may not threaten or promote terrorism or violent extremism.”
Twitter, furthermore, stipulates that a user “may not promote violence, or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin or religious affiliation… or calls for mass murder.”
Farkash Cohen now demands that Twitter immediately suspends Khamenei’s account because he is using the platform “to promote hatred against the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”
For once, the United Nations agrees with the Israeli government. UN Special Coordinator for the non-existent Middle East peace process, Nikolay Mladenov, also issued a statement in which he said that “dangerous calls for the destruction of Israel should be condemned by all. Such inciteful rhetoric is a modern form of anti-Semitism,” the UN envoy said.
It remains unclear if Mladenov will take concrete action against Khamenei or if the European Union will finally join the American “maximum pressure” campaign against the Iranian regime.