That headline is only partially true. The pro-Israel goons rule the Twitter algorithm. If you get enough of these slimeballs to report your account, it will be suspended for insulting a ham sandwich. Yesterday, I criticized foreign media (see Facebook post above) for calling Ari Fuld, a settler murdered by a Palestinian assailant in Gush Etzion, an “activist.” Fuld was many things. But activist was not one of them. He was a militant heavily armed settler. He served for decades in the elite IDF paratroopers unit. His websites revealed his absolute hatred of Palestinians and denial of their existence. He also organized armed patrols in his settlement, Efrat.
Before commenters getting their knickers in a knot over the term “activist,” let me pre-empt them. Just because someone promotes a cause, it does not make them an activist. Activists promote human rights, environmentalism, social justice, economic justice. But there are no neo-Nazi activists; no Wall Street activists. And someone promoting Judean supremacism in Israel is no activist. He is working to destroy, not construct.
Fuld was not an innocent. He was not a civilian in this war between peoples. He was a combatant on the battlefield. The West Bank was his battlefield. Ynet’s Hebrew headline explicitly used the term “warrior” to describe him. Combatants get killed…on both sides. Civilians do as well. But you can’t call a warrior a civilian.
There was much gnashing of teeth and attacks against me for being heartless and cruel, and ignoring the fact that Fuld was a father of four. To which I respond, tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians have been murdered in this war, many of them fathers. Why not acknowledge their murders as well? Why should only a settler Jew be mourned?
Now, is this “celebrating” his murder as the slimeballs claim? No. I don’t celebrate anyone’s murder, Israeli Jew or Palestinian. But considering that Israelis kill many times more Palestinians than the latter do Israelis, some perspective is in order. If the settlers and their defenders are going to mourn Fuld, it’s the height of moral hypocrisy to refuse to mourn an innocent Palestinian. You can certainly get away with this if you believe Palestinians are all murderers and terrorists, which Fuld’s supporters apparently do.
If enough Twitter users are incited to report an account, Twitter will automatically suspend your account, which happened to me early this morning. Five tweets of mine were reported for allegedly promoting hate and violence. They did nothing of the sort. Did I speak vigorously and defend myself? You bet. But there isn’t a single word that promotes violence. There are statements that drive these people crazy. But that’s not the same as promoting violence.
As for how I was treated yesterday…well, one slimeball urged me to take cyanide. Another urged someone to “beat me down.” A third hoped a Muslim would knife me in the back and kill me. And there were ten or twenty times more tweets like them yesterday. Talk about promoting hate and violence! None of these accounts faced any Twitter punishment. Because no one filed complaints against them except me.
This is how walking liposuction bag @richards1052 responds to the murder of a man who posed a threat to exactly no one. If you’re not already blocked by this aborted whale fetus make sure you let him know what a popped cyst he is.
Your life is easy Dickie. Not Ari’s type. pic.twitter.com/V26DiEtRQt
— The Mossad (@TheMossadIL) September 17, 2018
Two sites incited their followers to engage in this online ambush. @TheMossadIl and Israellycool were the key culprits. The former account even tweeted encouragement to his followers to report my account. Ironically, that tweet which I reported was not found to have violated Twitter rules.
I would ask you if you have a Twitter account to tweet to @twittersupport (or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org) your disagreement with my suspension. My twitter handle is @richards1052. If you are a journalist or blogger media coverage would prod Twitter to review and resolve this matter faster. The account will be locked (meaning I no longer have any access to Twitter) for at least a few days while a human (or hopefully one) reviews the algorithm’s decision to lock my account.
On a related matter, it is far past time to acknowledge that Israeli settlers are a cancer on Israeli society. That includes those settlers who are armed and those who are not. If you are a settler your life is based on theft of another people’s land, heritage and existence. Those settlers who routinely engage in killing and maiming of Palestinians implicate every settler in such crimes.
Neither Israelis nor Palestinians own the land under contention. It is leased from God (to use the settlers own religious terminology), who makes it clear in the Tanach that any people in this land who deals unfairly or unjustly or worship idols will be spewed out by Him. The settlers have made a fetish out of land, resources and power. THey have turned land into an idol. They have turned ancient rocks into objects of pagan worship. This is not the reason that God gave it to us.
Nor do I recognize the religion they practice as Judaism. It is some pagan form of idolatry (I call it “Judeanism”) which worships land, power, and violence. My Judaism worships spirit, justice, peace and tolerance. These two concepts cannot be reconciled within a single religious framework. That’s why settlers and their supporters need to read me out of the Jewish religion with epithets like “self-hating Jew” or “Judenrat” (all terms used in my timeline yesterday). But I will not permit them to do that to me. I remain a proud Jew who defends the Jewish values with which I was raised.
Settler militants are terrorists no different than neo-Nazis or white supremacists in the U.S. or European context. Prof. Yeshaya Leibowitz called them “Judeo-Nazis,” which is about right. They must be treated as such. Certainly not by the Israeli government, which is essentially ruled by a slightly more tidy version of a settler militant. But by other governments, world bodies and Diaspora Jewry. They must be shunned and sanctioned. They must not earn any special benefits such as they do now with hundreds of millions in tax-subsidies by American taxpayers in the form of deductible donations. I’d challenge Bernie Sanders to include such a provision in his coming presidential campaign.
If there are settlers who disagree with the militants or claim they’re somehow “different,” then it’s their responsibility to drive these people from their midst. It’s not enough to speak words any longer. Actions are demanded. Personally, I don’t think they can make any such distinction. But I urge them to do so if they can and show us how they have.
Liberal Zionists recoil at such strong language. They are the Rodney Kings of Zionism. They urge everyone to get along. If we just trusted each other or cared for each other like brothers/sisters, we can work things out. Even when the Israeli government spits in the face of Diaspora Jews (as it did in the case of the egalitarian prayer section at the Kotel), they turn the other cheek rather than fight back vigorously. As long as we lie down and roll over, we are the poodles of these ignorant hatemongers. Urgent, direct, responses are called for. Not faint expressions of regret.
I regret to say this is a fight to the death…for Israel, for Judaism, for survival. If you stand for hate and violence, whether you are an armed Jewish settler or Palestinian militant, you are the problem. And you are cursing the future and existence of your people.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.