Today is Censorship Day at my blog. Today, a group of pro-Israel Twitter trolls joined in reporting my account after I called one of them a treife Yid. Here is a different post in the thread containing the same phrase, which apparently Twitter had not (yet) censored. The culprits behind the lock-out of my account are the two mentioned in the tweet:
Lern a bissel Yiddish, treife yid. https://t.co/neNKg587Cq
— Tikun Olam (@richards1052) March 19, 2019
Most everyone will know that means an “unkosher Jew.”
My account is locked. I cannot access it, tweet, retweet or edit it (though viewers may see the account). I have appealed the decision and written to the Twitter press office with no response thus far. If my appeal is denied, the only recourse is to accept censorship and delete it. This would give a victory to the pro-Israel haters who targeted my account. It would permit them to police speech around Israel and suppress the full range of discourse.
I deliberately used Yiddish because I wanted to make the point that being a pro-Israel troll with Islamophobic views disqualified him as a proper Jew, as I know the term. Another reason is that Yiddish is the language of the European Jewish Diaspora and, as such, it has its own rich tradition largely divorced from Zionism.
But apparently the Twitter censor, with a boost from the pro-Israel cabal, has decided that the term “Yid” is anti-Semitic hate speech and outlawed its use. Of course, it is nothing of the sort. It is the word Jews have called each other in major quarters of the European (and U.S.) Diaspora for a thousand years (a koshereh Yid, a prosteh Yid, Yidl mitn fidl, etc.). While some may argue that the term in English has been abused by anti-Semites, that doesn’t disqualify its use. Many Jews speaking of themselves in English use the term. There is no connotation of hate speech or abuse when Jews use this term.
The Urban Dictionary offers this analysis of the misconceptions surrounding the word:
One of the many major problems with social media is that they have no sense of nuance in the use of language. When David Duke or a genuine anti-Semite uses a term he intends as derogatory toward Jews, that must not disqualify use of the word in all discourse. If that’s the case, then we’re permitting haters to define what is civil discourse. As a Jew, I insist on defining myself (and even other Jews) in my own terms. No one can deny me my own language and my own identity. And language, words are integral to identity.
If you have a Twitter account, please follow me @richards105 (my locked account is @richards1052). And please promote this message on this and other social media platforms in which you participate. My censored account has nearly 10,000 followers. My alternate account has far less. So help me combat censorship by amplifying my message.
Google Bows to Israeli Censorship
Many of you reading this blog know that censorship is also rampant in Israel. I’ve also had my work censored there both by the military censor and by the judicial system. I’ve been sued (unsuccessfully so far) for libel. The cyber-crime czar has demanded that both Twitter and Google censor my work inside Israel. Yet another example of that happened today, when Google announced that a post I’d published in 2017 identifying an Orthodox rabbi who was charged with stalking women and masturbating publicly outside their homes. The charges were reported in Israel, but the perpetrator succeeded in getting his own name suppressed in Israeli media.
I reject such censorship categorically, and published his name and picture, Rabbi Moshe Patron. That was the last of it as far as I was concerned. Though I did receive two notices from a relative, Bnaya Patron, who demanded that I remove the post. I didn’t respond to this request as Israel’s legal system has no jurisdiction outside Israel (except in cases like this when major tech companies permit themselves to be co-opted by foreign censorship). But today Google conveyed this notice saying they were excluding this post from searches performed in Israel. Why a sexual predator and stalker would want to remove a post nearly two years after being arrested is beyond me. Such posts generally have a fairly short shelf life in terms of readership or popularity. Most anyone interested in the case has read it already. This post I’m writing tonight will return the issue to notoriety when it could have subsided into oblivion.
Unfortunately, Google refuses to offer any further information about the claims offered against the post, who demanded it be removed, and why. It offers no appeal process either to Google or within the Israeli legal system.
But you can fight back on behalf of freedom of information and against censorship. If you are Israeli especially, I ask you to post this link widely. As there is no judicial order prohibiting you from doing so, there is no way you can get in trouble. And you would be striking a blow against the tedious Israeli censor hiding behind black robes.