Israel to Twitter: Ban Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei Over ‘Genocidal’ Tweets

In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting with a group of members of the paramilitary Basij force in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016. Iran's top leader has warned that renewal of …
Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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