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YouTube Censors, Zionism, and The Death of Free Speech

Updated: Jul 24, 2019

NOTE: The word “Israel” as it pertains to the Zionist state is written in quotations to indicate Israel Versus Judaism’s staunch opposition to a nation-state whose existence is forbidden by the Torah in using a title historically reserved for tradition, Torah-observant Jewry. Israel Versus Judaism and the traditional Jews it represents have a firm policy of non-recognition in regards to the current national entity known as “Israel”.


As of Tuesday, July 2th, 2019, YouTube content monitors have suspended the channel “Israel versus Judaism”, for: “Content glorifying or inciting violence against another person or group of people…”

In a world rife with verbal incitement, how did a channel which publicises state abuses of pacifist, religious Jews in “Israel” in solidarity with those suffering and advocating for justice on their behalf become labelled hate-speech?


Let’s paint the scene:


A YouTube content censor, paid approximately $12.00 an hour, receives a report concerning an “anti-Semitic” channel called “Israel Versus Judaism”. Intimately familiar with today’s sublimely original anti-Semitic content (Jews control the banking system, Jews control Hollywood, Jews are lizard monsters from outer space) the censor notices that the channel seems to be run by Orthodox Jews. Nay, “Ultra” Orthodox Jews, those most Jewy of Jews. A furious, albeit brief, internal debate breaks out in the censor’s head. How could this be anti-Semitic?


However, counters the other side, they are criticising “Israel” and he had heard that that constituted anti-Semitism. Anti-Zionism was just a synonym for that, wasn’t it?


“But how can Jews be anti-Semitic against themselves, especially unapologetically religious ones?” comes the retort.


The above-mentioned synapses, however, were prematurely snuffed out with that most terrifying of possibilities. “If you don’t delete this channel, you’ll be labelled a racist and an anti-Semite. And racists loss their jobs.”


Done.


The channel is deleted. The individual who made the complaint and most likely scours the Internet to hate-watch anti-Israel videos and get them shut down afterwards feels morally vindicated, and both freedom of speech and basic human decency are smothered a bit more. The entire event takes place within a span of thirty seconds, a minute at most. Everyone wins.


Except they don’t.


As University of Montreal professor, Dr Yakov Rabkin, once wrote:

Many opponents of Al-Jazeera confuse all opposition to Israel and Zionism with anti-Semitism...Those who create this confusion have scored important successes: some American dictionaries now define opposition to Zionism as anti-Semitism, and at a recent gathering of Jewish and Catholic leaders in Argentina, in an unprecedented step, Catholic religious leaders signed on to a statement rejecting anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism. Israeli leaders speak ‘in the name of the Jewish people’ consciously blurring distinctions between Diaspora Jews and Israelis and claiming that Israel is ‘the state of the Jewish people.’ This is why the Israeli philosopher Joseph Agassi, in his preface to my book, emphasizes the importance of these distinctions: “When one talks about Israel as the Jewish state this creates a real and dangerous confusion between faith and nationality.”


The Zionist dream, such as it is, is based on the stifling of dissent and debate. Its raison d'ê·tre being starkly Mussolinian in its Revisionist manifestation and Stalinist amongst Labour pundits, David Ben-Gurion himself being an avid fan of the latter dictator. Whether on the right or the left, the result remains constant. Blood and soil first. There is no second. The Revisionist school of Zionist thought, that which is most prescribed to by Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu and the majority of his government, is particularly keen on this point. Criticism is unacceptable in any of its forms.


The State of “Israel” is today a pariah and public debate on its actions and even its inherent legitimacy as a state has opened up, something unthinkable even twenty years ago.


Be that as it may, former head of the UK Jewish Policy Research thinktank Antony Lemberg wrote an article in The Guardian in 2012, saying:

“But even as opportunities for expressing dissent appear to have grown, right-wing Zionists staged a media-savvy fightback, using the usual accusations of disloyalty and ‘giving succour to our enemies’, especially targeting liberal Zionist Jewish critics. The latest charge is "'Jew-washing', Jews using their Jewishness to give token cover for [boycotting Israel] and even antisemitism" – a calumny, itself redolent of antisemitism, promoted by the Israel-based, right-wing NGO Monitor. Spearheading this crusade is an assortment of columnists, bloggers and think tankers of an aggressive and apocalyptic mindset who smear their targets to the edge of actionable defamation.”


Zionism, a movement to create a nation like all the others, in this context a nation like those dreamed of by early 20th Century, bellicose nationalist movements, is the fawning younger brother of Fascist Italy’s Black Shirts and the Soviet Komsomol. One need only look at the awe and respect afforded “Israel” by white nationalists, those whose channels YouTube is specifically targeting, to see that perhaps a rehashing of the Anti-Zionism equals Anti-Semitism trope is needed.


Israel Versus Judaism is an organization which does nothing more than publicise state abuse of traditional, religious Jews who do not wish to serve in the melting pot of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), the same institution designed to take disparate groups of Jews from around the globe and mould them into the “New Hebrews”, an entity that, according to Vladimir Jabotinsky, is “the exact opposite to a Jew”.


It’s hard to blame the YouTube censor. It’s an unenviable job, with so much content that is genuinely inciting, there are bound to be channels which are deleted by accident. Nonetheless, with YouTube stating explicitly that they’re actively fighting bigotry on their platform, it would behove them to take a more thoughtful approach to the suspension/deletion of channels. More contemplative, less “bull in a china shop”.


Those most culpable, however, are those who filed the report, claiming that criticism of a nation, particularly one with such an abysmal human rights’ record as “Israel”, is hate speech. The social pressure placed upon many who would criticise “Israel” there and abroad is eerily similar to that exercised against Soviet citizens during repeated purges in the former USSR, with loss of jobs and social status being common consequences for those who dare to voice dissent.


Social tyranny, whether on the streets or on the Internet, is damaging for both the perpetrator and his victim. Those who reported Israel Versus Judaism as hate speech to YouTube content monitors have sullied themselves and help perpetuate the self-same anti-Semitism they claim to be fighting. Self-appointed Internet watchdogs are creating an environment where bigotry can flourish, fuelled by misguided rhetoric.


Make no mistake, the IDF is a tool of assimilation, immoral repression of numerous peoples, and most likely the single greatest contributing factor to anti-Semitic feeling the world over.


And Haredim (Ultra-Orthodox Jews) do not want to be its victims. A jail cell is preferable to military slavery within the armed forces of nation they don’t even recognise.


The State of “Israel” has stated unequivocally that Haredim are too “different”, too outside of the Israeli norm and that military service will serve as a vehicle in which to bring them more in step with Israeli cultural norms.


Haredim being “beyond the pale” of acceptability runs deep. They were overwhelmingly against the formation of the State of “Israel” and there is still a community of thousands, those whose stories were publicised by Israel Versus Judaism, whose families predate the Zionist settlement of Eretz Yisroel (The Land of Israel) and who still live outside of its framework for reasons of religious conscious, the Zionist State’s very existence being in direct violation of Torah precepts. When sincere religious objections to state-endorsed violence against pacifist protesters and press-ganging against a minority faith community who wish not to serve in the IDF because of Torah-based anti-Zionism is considered hate speech, freedom has taken mighty blow indeed.


For those who wish to see for themselves, Israel Versus Judaism encourages them to go visit its Facebook page at facebook.com/IsraelVsJudaism.