Facebook bans far-right political figures Marzel, Ben Ari from its platforms

Company cites support for terror organizations Kach and Kahane Chai; Marzel says he doesn’t have an account, but may sue anyway over ‘libelous’ claim he backs terror groups

Otzma Yehudit party leaders Michael Ben Ari, left, and Baruch Marzel, in 2012. (Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Flash90/via JTA)
File: Otzma Yehudit party leaders Michael Ben Ari, left, and Baruch Marzel, in 2012. (Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Flash90/via JTA)

Facebook on Wednesday said it had permanently banned far-right Israeli political figures Baruch Marzel and Michael Ben Ari from Facebook and Instagram, citing “their ongoing support for Kach and Kahane Chai — groups deemed to be terror organizations by US and Israeli law.”

The social media platform said that “in order to prevent actual harm, we do not allow organizations and people who declare violent goals or who deal in violence to be active on Facebook.”

According to the Ynet news site, Facebook will also remove any content that is supportive of the two and/or their actions.

Marzel himself said he didn’t have an account anyway.

“I haven’t been blocked from anything because I don’t have Facebook,” he told Ynet. “They blocked pages that mention me. I don’t even have a computer at home. They’re lying that we support Kach and Kahane Chai to get legitimacy.”

Marzel led extremist rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach party after its founder’s 1990 murder, and has long been identified with the faction’s goal of forcibly cleansing the country of Arabs. He continued to be among its top supporters until it disbanded in 1994 after the Israeli government declared it a terror group.

Marzel on Wednesday said he’d never backed the movement since it was declared illegal. He called the company’s claim he backs terror organizations “libel” and said he would consider suing.

Marzel and former MK Ben Ari are founding members of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, alongside Itamar Ben Gvir and Bentzi Gopstein.

Ben Ari previously led the party but was disqualified from running by the High Court of Justice ahead of the April 2019 election due to what judges said was his repeated incitement against Arabs.

Ben Gvir managed to enter the Knesset in the 2021 election thanks to a merger of Otzma Yehudit with Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism party facilitated by then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and is currently Otzma Yehudit’s sole parliamentary representative.

Religious Zionism MK Itamar Ben Gvir outside Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, June 10, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

Otzma Yehudit leaders have described themselves as proud disciples of Kahane, who supported violently expelling Arabs from Israel and the West Bank and once proposed legislation outlawing inter-ethnic sexual relations.

Otzma Yehudit now says it supports encouraging emigration of non-Jews from Israel, and expelling Palestinians and Arab Israelis who refuse to declare loyalty to Israel and accept diminished status in an expanded Jewish state, whose sovereignty extends throughout the West Bank.

Ben Gvir has proudly stated that he has a photograph of mass-murderer Baruch Goldstein hanging on a wall in his home. Goldstein killed 29 Muslim worshipers and wounded another 125 in a shooting rampage at Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs holy site in 1994.

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