Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Ali Khamenei

Ali Khamenei is the longstanding Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Republic of Iran, holding the title since 1989 when his predecessor Ruhollah Khomeini passed. According to a report issued by the U.S. State Department under the Obama Administration, Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. In his position, Khamenei has the power to promote peace, but instead he instigates terrorism and conflicts all around the world, specifically targeting the Jewish people and nation.  

 On June 8, Khamenei tweeted, “Today, #Zionism is an obvious plague for the world of #Islam. The Zionists have always been a plague, even before establishing the fraudulent Zionist regime. Even then, Zionist capitalists were a plague for the whole world. Now they’re a plague, especially for the world of Islam.” This message and its phrasing are blatantly antisemitic and reminiscent of Nazi hatred.

By referring to “Zionists” as “always…a plague, even before establishing the…Zionist regime”, Khamenei makes clear that his issue is not with Zionism, or even with Israel, but it is in fact with the very existence of the Jewish people themselves. As Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking antisemitism.”

Further proof of Khamenei’s antisemitic views is an article published by his representative in the Keyhan newspaper in April, which stated that Hitler was “smarter and more courageous” than current European leaders because he “expelled” Jews from Germany.    

Furthermore, labeling the Jewish people as “Zionist capitalists” perpetuates centuries-old antisemitic tropes and stereotypes that inappropriately characterize Jews as greedy, manipulative, and selfish.

 These stereotypes began when Jews in pre-Spanish Inquisition Europe were forced to work as bankers, a profession seen as inappropriate for devout Christians. Since then, it has been used to excuse the mistreatment of Jews and their widespread annihilation, as Khamenei advocates for online. 

 Khamenei has an history of uncensored vile antisemetic statements and in November 2014 he publicly called for the destruction by of Israel referring to a “final solution,” which usually refers to the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people. A 2014 tweet included nine points on “why should and how can Israel be eliminated”.

This dangerous rhetoric is unacceptable, and should not be allowed on social media platforms like Twitter. The platform claims to uphold a hate speech policy that prohibits the promotion of violence against or direct attack or threatening of other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, and national origin, among other identity-based hate speech. 

Violence is exactly what Khamenei promoted by posting that Judaism (an ethnicity) and Israelis (who share a national origin) are a “plague for the whole world” that needs to be wiped out. This is the very type of identity-based attack that Twitter insists it does not tolerate.

Yet, Twitter’s own Vice President of Public Policy Sinéad McSweeney, who is charged with removing hate speech from the platform, claimed that Khamenei’s messages did not violate Twitter’s hate speech rules when asked about Khamenei’s continuous antisemitic posts. 

We need YOUR help – email Twitter to demand Ali Khamenei be removed from Twitter once and for all.