Twitter has blocked the account of prominent Palestinian journalist and author, Dr Ramzy Baroud. It is the latest example of the ongoing crackdown on Palestinian solidarity by social media giants, which over recent years has escalated the targeting of free-speech critical of Israel.
Twitter claimed that Baroud’s recent posts about the Israeli war on the Palestinians in besieged Gaza Strip and the West Bank “violated the rules” of the company. Baroud is a regular user of social media. His last tweet was a video compilation produced by the Palestine Chronicle showing images and information about the three Palestinians killed in Nablus in an Israeli military raid on Tuesday. The video was a newsreel that had no violent or bloody images.
— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) August 11, 2022
His account has now been reinstated. Announcing his return, Baroud wrote: “I never violated any ‘community rules.’ There are those who are openly justifying, even praising the murders of children in #Gaza. They remain active on #Twitter & other social media platforms.”
I am back on Twitter. I never violated any 'community rules.' There are those who are openly justifying, even praising the murders of children in #Gaza. They remain active on #Twitter & other social media platforms. Those who expose them should not be banned #PalestineWillBeFree
— Ramzy Baroud (@RamzyBaroud) August 10, 2022
It is the first time that Baroud, a respected Palestinian academic, author of several books and the editor of the Palestine Chronicle, has been blocked from using the popular platform. The crackdown on Baroud is neither rare nor unique.
In recent years, the social media giants have practiced what commentators have referred to as “digital apartheid.” In their defence of the apartheid state of Israel they too have adopted policies that silence free speech exposing the occupation state’s many crimes and human rights violations.
Social media companies, from Zoom to Facebook and Twitter, have been accused of reinforcing Israel’s erasure of Palestinians, not to mention the mainstream media who also regularly come under fire for their apparent hypocrisy and double standards when it comes to covering Israel and Palestine.
Baroud himself has covered social medias “war on truth”, in an article where he highlighted, amongst others cases, Facebook’s targeting of the Palestinian Information Centre (PIC). The social media giant deleted the page of the popular Palestinian news website which had nearly five million followers.
More recently Zoom, Facebook and YouTube blocked the online academic event “Whose Narratives? What Free Speech for Palestine?” co-sponsored by the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) Studies programme at San Francisco State University, the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUFCA) and the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI).