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UPDATE: Twitter forced Anuradha Mittal to delete the tweet (displayed here) it defined as doxxing. After she did so the lock was removed from her account and she regained full access to it. This is a shameful example of censorship.
Since Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would abandon its market in the Occupied Territories, much of the hate and vitriol of the Israel Lobby and its supporters has been directed at the chair of the independent board of directors, Anuradha Mittal. She has received death threats and abusive messages filled with misogynist and Hindu-phobic hate. Among other comments, she was labeled “a cheap whore,” and accused along with other Hindus of “stinking up a room” for “not taking regular baths.” Hindu death rituals were labeled as “desecrating” the dead.
When she received such tweets, she reported them to Twitter. Instead of banning the accounts which posted this content, the social media platform locked her own account, claiming that she had doxxed one of the users by posting a screenshot of his e mail message which contained his purported e mail address. After an appeal, her account is now visible, but she has no access to it until the appeal is resolved. Twitter is in effect blaming the victim for her own suffering.
Undoubtedly her account was locked due to an organized campaign by pro-Israel users to get Twitter to shut down her account. I too have been subjected to such stalking which led to a similar response by Twitter.
I published here some of the abuse she has received, including the message displaying the e mail address (see above). Needless to say, Twitter has screwed up its priorities. When a woman of color is attacked based on her religious beliefs and gender, it should be defending her and not her attackers. I should add that out of fear for her safety, she has left her home. If anyone is in danger of doxxing, it is Mittal.
Further, I haven’t even been able to ascertain whether the purported “rabbi” who e mailed her exists. He may or may not be a hoax identity used to conceal the real person behind the hate. So Twitter has blocked a major public figure receiving death threats from someone it can’t even confirms exists. It’s a shameful betrayal of its users, especially one facing such personal distress and danger.
I’ve tweeted to Alan Jope, Unilever CEO and Ben Cohen, one of the company founders asking if they would release a statement of support for Mittal. Their silence (so far) is deafening and profoundly disappointing.
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.