Israel on Monday asked Twitter to immediately suspend the account of Iran’s supreme leader from the social media platform for what it described as “anti-Semitic and genocidal” messages posted by Ayatolah Ali Khamenei.
Strategic Affairs Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey calling for the “immediate suspension” of Khamenei’s account “over his consistent posting of anti-Semitic and genocidal posts,” her ministry said in a statement.
“Examples of such include Khamenei calling for the ‘elimination’ of the ‘Zionist entity’ while asserting the ‘Zionist regime is a deadly, cancerous growth,’ which must ‘be uprooted and destroyed.’ He also compared Israel to the deadly coronavirus, ‘the Zionist regime is a reality that the region must come to terms with. Today the #Covid_19 is a reality; should it be accepted or fought?!… Zionism will be uprooted,’” the letter read.
Khamenei was panned last week for sharing a poster showing people celebrating at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem after apparently capturing it from Israel as a Palestinian flag is raised over the Al-Aqsa Mosque. “Palestine Will Be Free. The final solution: Resistance until referendum,” the text on the poster says.
After Israeli and American leaders accused him of encouraging genocide — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was “echoing Hitler’s call for genocide” — Khamenei tweeted that he seeks Israel’s destruction but not the annihilation of all Jews.
On Sunday, he again used the platform to call for “eliminating Israel.”
The enemies misinterpret the Islamic Republic’s idea of “eliminating Israel”. Eliminating Israel does not mean eliminating Jewish people. We are not #Antisemitic; Jews live in peace in Iran. Eliminating Israel represents elimination of the imposed Zionist regime. pic.twitter.com/4uKDxcccJI
— Khamenei TV (@Khamenei_tv) May 24, 2020
The regime has defended the tweets, saying the messages are not anti-Semitic, since the calls have been for destroying only Israel and not all Jews.
Farkash-Hacohen, a member of the security cabinet, said that Twitter’s own company policies ban the propagation of anti-Semitism, support of terror groups and calls for genocide.
“The company’s Hateful Conduct Policy stipulates that a user ‘may not promote violence against, or directly attack, or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin or religious affiliation… or calls for mass murder,’” her office said.
There was no immediate response from Twitter. As of this writing, Khamenei’s account remains active.
In the past, Israel has managed to have Twitter ban only Israelis from seeing tweets from terror groups, including Gaza rulers Hamas.
On Friday, Netanyahu warned Iran not to threaten Israel with destruction, saying the Iranians “will put themselves in a similar danger.”
“We repeat. Anyone who threatens to destroy Israel will put themselves in a similar danger,” Netanyahu said in response to comments by Khamenei, who described Israel as “a virus that must be eliminated.”
During a speech marking Iran’s anti-Israel Quds Day, Khamenei said Israel’s establishment was an unequaled “crime against humanity,” repeated his characterization of the Jewish state as “a cancerous tumor” and said it was the creation of “Westerners and Jewish corporation owners.”
“Westerners & Jewish corporation owners’ main goal by fabricating the Zionist regime & this cancerous tumor was to build a stronghold to influence & dominate West Asia. So, they equipped the bogus, occupying regime with all kinds of military & non-military tools, even nukes,” Khamenei said in excerpts from the speech that were also posted to Twitter.
Iran is openly sworn to Israel’s destruction and financially supports terrorist groups, like Hezbollah and Hamas, committed to this aim.