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June 4, 2021

Big Tech’s Anti-Semitism Problem

Google and Facebook fail the simple test of having a consistent policy on hate speech.

We live in a nation where arguably offensive things someone said umpteen years ago are grounds for canceling that person now. Jobs are lost, credibility is destroyed, and an Orwellian two minutes of hate is allowed against the offender, all because of exposure of the kinds of intemperate things many folks say in their weaker moments.

Yet some kinds of hate speech are, to borrow more Orwell, more equal than others.

“If I Were a Jew” was the title of a recently rediscovered blog post written way back in 2007 by Kamau Bobb, a black man who until this week was the head of Google’s “diversity team.” In that post, written on a blog he still maintains but while he was a research associate at Georgia Tech, Bobb wrote that if he were Jewish he’d “be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of myself.”

“If I were a Jew today, my sensibilities would be tormented,” he wrote. “I would find it increasingly difficult to reconcile the long cycles of oppression that Jewish people have endured and the insatiable appetite for vengeful violence that Israel, my homeland, has now acquired.”

Upon discovery, he apologized, saying, “What was intended as a critique of particular military action fed into anti-Semitic tropes and prejudice.” One wonders if the word “black” had been substituted for “Jewish” whether he might have understood that he didn’t “feed into” anything; he clearly articulated and advocated those tropes.

A mild form of cancellation came Thursday, when Google announced that Bobb was a little too “diverse” for its diversity team, so he has been reassigned elsewhere in the company. Not fired, mind you, just shuffled. Why was he hired for that post in the first place? As Meghan McCain joked, “They’re Google. They should have googled him.”

Perhaps Facebook will do better. Or not.

The social media site that relentlessly demotes conservative or “unapproved” views about any number of subjects, resulting in real economic damage to conservative people and brands, regularly allows anti-Semitic posts of even worse nature than Bobb’s.

Well, sort of.

During the recent Hamas-fueled violence in Israel and Palestinian-controlled areas, The Jerusalem Prayer Team’s Facebook page — liked by 77 million people — was massively spammed. “On [a] single day, we received over 800,000 comments, the overwhelming majority of which were very negative, often crude, and anti-Semitic,” said JPT spokesman Michael Vaughn. Many posts included Nazi images and propaganda. “Clearly, this was not random. Someone somewhere was orchestrating this barrage.”

Facebook didn’t seem to have a problem with the people posting those comments, at least not until two days later when, Vaughn said, “With no notice, no attempt to reach us, Facebook told us they had unpublished our JPT Facebook, citing this was due to the page being spam and violating their policies.”

Just to clarify, Facebook punished the Jewish group for anti-Semitic hatred directed its way.

Even the left-of-center Anti-Defamation League has pleaded with Facebook to correct this widespread problem. As the group wrote in a letter, “Facebook’s inaction has helped spread hatred of Jews and has contributed to historical high levels of antisemitism in America and antisemitism online and offline across the globe.”

For social media companies that are part of the increasingly anti-Semitic Democrat Party’s power structure, this hatred is a feature, not a bug.

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