Take Action: Sign the Petition: “Facebook, we need to talk”
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/1/21) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today joined the international campaign to call on Facebook to ensure any amendments to its hate speech policy keeps all people safe and connected.
Led by more than 30 organizations, the worldwide campaign, “Facebook, we need to talk” began in response to an inquiry by Facebook to assess if critical conversations that use the term “Zionist” fall within the rubric of hate speech as per Facebook’s Community Standards. Facebook may make a decision as soon as the end of February 2021.
As explained by one of the campaign’s leaders Jewish Voice for Peace: “Zionism is a political ideology and movement that emerged in the 19th century and led to the founding of the state of Israel on Palestinian land; It has been deeply contested since its conception, including within the Jewish community.”
“We are deeply concerned about Facebook’s proposed revision of its hate speech policy to consider “Zionist” as a proxy for ‘Jew’ or ‘Jewish,’” the petition reads. “The proposed policy would too easily mischaracterize conversations about Zionists — and by extension, Zionism — as inherently antisemitic, harming Facebook users and undermining efforts to dismantle real antisemitism and all forms of racism, extremism and oppression.”
This attempt to stifle conversations about Zionist political ideology and Zionist policies — both of which have real implications for Palestinian and Israeli people, as well as Jewish and Palestinian people around the world — is part of an emerging pattern of political censorship by the Israeli government and some of its supporters. The most prominent example of these efforts to shield the Israeli government from accountability is the current campaign to impose the controversial IHRA working definition of antisemitism on campuses and civil society, and to codify it in government legislation.
The IHRA definition conflates anti-Semitism with holding the Israeli government accountable for rights violations, stifling protected political speech that is necessary for healthy, open discussions about foreign policy and human rights.
After 12 hours, the petition already had thousands of signers, including: Atilio Boron, Judith Butler, Michael Chabon, Noam Chomsky, Julie Christie, Richard Falk, Amos Goldberg, Marc Lamont Hill, Adnan Jubran, Ronnie Kasrils, Elias Khoury, Karol Cariola, Ken Loach, Miriam Margloyses, Ilan Pappe, Vijay Prashad, Prabir Purkayastha, Rima Berns-McGown, Jessica Tauane, Einat Weizman and Cornel West. (SEE facebookweneedtotalk.org/petition-text/english for a complete list of initial signatories.)
The campaign was initially launched by 7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, Palestine Legal, MPower Change, Jewish Voice for Peace, Independent Jewish Voices Canada, Eyewitness Palestine, BDS National Committee, American Muslims for Palestine and Adalah Justice Project, and other civil, human rights and faith organizations.
To read the full text of the open letter, list of signatories, and background about the campaign, visit facebookweneedtotalk.org. For interviews with petition organizers or signatories, contact Sonya E. Meyerson-Knox at firstname.lastname@example.org or 929-290-0317.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.