Citing Incitement, Facebook Closes Page of Group That Fights Intermarriage

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Facebook on smartphoneCredit: Reuters

Facebook has shut down the pages of a group that opposes intermarriage and of former MK Michael Ben Ari after readers complained they were indulging in incitement.

In recent weeks, Facebook has removed pages belonging to far-right Israeli groups bearing names like the Al-Yahud Gang, Death Penalty for Terrorists and Rescind Leftists’ Citizenship. Facebook also closed the page of right-wing activist Baruch Marzel.

The latest group, Lehava, says it aims to “prevent assimilation in the Holy Land.” The shut-down page had asserted that the organization seeks “to save Jewish girls tempted into a relationship with a non-Jew.”

Lehava members have also helped organize demonstrations against Arabs and African asylum seekers. The group’s head, Bentzi Gopstein, defended the teens who violently attacked three Arab youths in Jerusalem in 2012.

Ben Ari is a devotee of the late far-right Rabbi Meir Kahane. Facebook had previously considered closing his page in response to complaints, but only did so now. In a message to the people who complained, the social network said it had reconsidered its previous decisions.

Facebook and Twitter have already closed the accounts of Hamas’ military wing, Iz al-Din al-Qassam, following complaints by Israelis making similar claims of incitement and hate speech.

MK Michael Ben Ari speaking at a Knesset committee session in Sept. 2012. Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

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