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Monday, April 6, 2020

Bipartisan Congressional Members Call on Twitter to Remove Hamas, Hezbollah

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Four members of the House of Representatives demanded that Twitter remove Hamas and Hezbollah from their platform in an Oct. 22 letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

The Oct. 22 letter was written in response to a Sept. 17 letter from Twitter Director of Public Policy and Philanthropy Carlos Monje, Jr. to Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.). Monje who wrote that Twitter bans accounts affiliated with Hamas and Hezbollah’s military factions, but not their political wings.

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“This is consistent with our long-standing approach towards groups designated on terrorist organization lists that also hold elected seats in government,” Monje wrote.

Fitzpatrick, Reed, Gottheimer and Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) called this Twitter policy “alarming” in their letter to Dorsey.

“This distinction is not meaningful, nor is it widely shared,” the four congressmen wrote. “Hezbollah and Hamas are terrorist organizations as designated by the United States government. Period.” They also said that Hamas and Hezbollah are “militant jihadist organizations determined to kill Americans and our allies.”

The four congressmen gave Twitter until Nov. 1 to “update your policy as consistent with our law” and de-platform the two terror organizations. 

Gottheimer told the Jerusalem Post that he would call Twitter officials to testify before Congress if they don’t adhere to the four congressmen’s demands.

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“This is about America before the party and about protecting our country and our allies, including, of course, Israel, a key ally in the fight against terror,” Gottheimer said. “We’ll continue to work on this in a bipartisan manner.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations like Hamas & Hezbollah have no place on any social media platform. Allowing access to spread their hate-filled rhetoric is not only troubling, but wrong. We hope Twitter takes immediate action to address this.”

Twitter removed Louis Farrakhan’s 2018 tweet in July which said, “I’m not an anti-Semite, I’m anti-termite” and temporarily suspended his account. Twitter did ban far-right activist Laura Loomer from Twitter in November after she called Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) “anti-Jewish” and “pro Sharia” in a tweet.

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The American Jewish Committee (AJC) launched a campaign in September calling on the European Union to designate Hezbollah’s political wing as a terrorist organization in addition to its military wing, arguing that “as Hezbollah leaders themselves declare repeatedly, it is one indivisible organization.”

This article has been updated.

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