TEL AVIV — Israel’s on Sunday requested Twitter remove Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s account, citing his “antisemitic and genocidal” tweets in which the Iranian supreme leader called for the “elimination of Israel.”
In her first move as Israel’s new strategic affairs minister, Orit Farkash-Hacohen sent a letter to the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, calling for the “immediate suspension” of Khamenei’s account “over his consistent posting of antisemitic and genocidal posts.”
“Examples of such include Khamenei calling for the ‘elimination’ of the ‘Zionist entity’ while asserting the ‘Zionist regime is a deadly, cancerous growth,’ which must ‘be uprooted and destroyed.’ He also compared Israel to the deadly coronavirus, ‘the Zionist regime is a reality that the region must come to terms with. Today the #Covid_19 is a reality; should it be accepted or fought?!… Zionism will be uprooted,’” the letter said.
The West Bank must be armed, just as Gaza. The only thing that can reduce the Palestinians’ hardships is the hand of power. Otherwise, compromise won’t reduce a bit of the cruelty of this usurping, evil, wolf-like entity.#FlyTheFlag
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) May 18, 2020
Khamenei last week described Israel as a “cancerous tumor” and slammed some Arab states, like Saudi Arabia, for warming relations with Jerusalem. He also invoked Nazi Germany by calling for a “Final Solution.”
He was slammed by American and Israeli leaders, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying he was “echoing Hitler’s call for genocide” and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that “any regime that threatens the destruction of the State of Israel faces a similar danger.”
U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov also condemned the tweets.
“Dangerous calls for the destruction of Israel should be condemned by all,” Mladenov said. “Such inciteful rhetoric is a modern form of antisemitism.”
The United States condemns Supreme Leader Khamenei's disgusting and hateful anti-Semitic remarks. They have no place on Twitter or on any other social media platform. We know Khamenei’s vile rhetoric does not represent the Iranian people’s tradition of tolerance. pic.twitter.com/cfBhyOfFa9
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 20, 2020
On Sunday, in what was ostensibly a retraction following the outcry, he clarified his previous posts by saying that calling for “eliminating Israel” was not synonymous with calling for “eliminating the Jewish people” – the latter with which he claims to have no issue.
The enemies misinterpret the Islamic Republic’s idea of “eliminating Israel”. Eliminating Israel does not mean eliminating Jewish people. We are not #Antisemitic; Jews live in peace in Iran. Eliminating Israel represents elimination of the imposed Zionist regime. pic.twitter.com/4uKDxcccJI
— Khamenei TV (@Khamenei_tv) May 24, 2020
Farkash-Hacohen noted Twitter’s own policies do not allow for the dissemination of antisemitic content and incitement to violence.
“The company’s Hateful Conduct Policy stipulates that a user ‘may not promote violence against, or directly attack, or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin or religious affiliation… or calls for mass murder,’” her ministry said, and that users “may not threaten or promote terrorism or violent extremism.”
As of Tuesday, Khamenei’s account was still active.