Netanyahu bot gets Facebook ‘hate speech’ suspension

A Likud spokesman said that the freeze went into effect on Thursday morning. (AFP)
Updated 13 September 2019

Netanyahu bot gets Facebook ‘hate speech’ suspension

  • Israeli media reported that the post which said Israeli Arabs “want to destroy us all — women, children and men” appeared on Netanyahu’s official Facebook page

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party was found on Thursday to have violated Facebook’s hate-speech policy after a post from his account saying Arabs “want to destroy us all.”

Israeli media reported that the post which said Israeli Arabs “want to destroy us all — women, children and men” appeared on Netanyahu’s official Facebook page and was subsequently removed by Likud.

“After careful review of the Likud campaign’s bot activities, we found a violation of our hate speech policy,” a Facebook statement said, referring to an automated chat function.

“We also found that the bot was misusing the platform in the time period allowed to contact people. As a result, we temporarily suspended the bot for 24 hours. Should there be any additional violations, we will continue to take appropriate action.”

A Likud spokesman told AFP that the freeze went into effect on Thursday morning and would not affect the party’s online election campaign.

FASTFACT

Netanyahu has used similar tactics in the past, including warning on election day in 2015 that Israeli Arabs were voting in ‘droves,’ a comment for which he later apologized.

Netanyahu, who is fighting an election battle for his political survival, said the message had nothing to do with him.

“It wasn’t me. It was one of the workers at our election headquarters,” he told Israeli public
radio. “That mistake was fixed quickly.”

“Think logically: Do you think I would really write such a thing?“

“I have friends in Arab countries and I have respect for human beings regardless of whether they are Jewish or Arab, Muslim or Christian.”

Netanyahu has long faced accusations from critics that he has demonized Israel’s 1.4 million Arab citizens with his political rhetoric.

With the Sept. 17 vote looming, he and Likud drew outrage from opposition parties with a push for last-minute legislation that would allow party officials to bring cameras to polling stations.

His critics labelled it a naked attempt to depress turnout among Israel’s Arab population, as it could intimidate many into staying away.

Netanyahu has used similar tactics in the past, including warning on election day in 2015 that Israeli Arabs were voting in “droves,” a comment for which he later apologized.


Iraq prudent over taking foreign Daesh terrorists

Updated 18 October 2019

Iraq prudent over taking foreign Daesh terrorists

  • European states have been trying to fast-track a plan to move thousands of foreign Daesh militants out of Syrian prison camps and into Iraq

BAGHDAD: Iraqi officials appeared cautious on Thursday after holding talks with European powers this week aimed at accelerating efforts to create a judicial framework that would enable terrorists being held in Syria to face trial in Iraq.

European states have been trying to fast-track a plan to move thousands of foreign Daesh militants out of Syrian prison camps and into Iraq, after the Turkish offensive in northern Syria raised the risk of radicals escaping or returning home, diplomats and officials said.

Legal experts from Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have been in Baghdad this week for technical talks, and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was in Iraq on Thursday to discuss the issue with the Iraqi government and Kurdish leaders. Speaking at a news conference with Le Drian, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Hakim said his government’s priority was to bring back Iraqi fighters and their families “if possible.”

FASTFACT

European states have been trying to fast-track a plan to move thousands of foreign Daesh militants out of Syrian prison camps and into Iraq, after the Turkish offensive in northern Syria raised the risk of radicals escaping or returning home.

“With regard (to) foreign fighters ... these countries must take necessary and appropriate measures to try these people,” he said. 

Europeans comprise a fifth of around 10,000 Daesh fighters held captive in Syria by Kurdish militias which are under heavy attack by Turkish forces. If the militias redeploy prison guards to the front line, there is a risk of jail-breaks.

Europe does not want to try its Daesh nationals at home, fearing a public backlash, difficulties in collating evidence against them, and risks of renewed attacks from militants on European soil.