YouTube Blocks Video Criticizing Israeli Militarism
YouTube has blocked a 2015 video posted by “The Empire Files,” an online investigative news program, in 28 countries after receiving legal complaints, according to the program’s Twitter account.
Just notified by YouTube that @AbbyMartin’s interview with @MaxBlumenthal has been blocked from being viewed in 28 countries (including Israel) to “comply with local laws.” Actions disabled & warnings for viewers elsewhere. https://t.co/Kr2rbfXabg pic.twitter.com/vKPxABjsZ7
— The Empire Files (@EmpireFiles) April 5, 2018
The video, titled “Jewish-American on Israel’s Fascism: No Hope For Change From Within,” still can be viewed in the U.S. It features “The Empire Files” host Abby Martin and fellow journalist Max Blumenthal discussing Israeli militarism and the rise in racist attitudes toward Palestinians.
In an email to RT, Blumenthal said:
YouTube has claimed that it removed my interview on Israel-Palestine with Abby Martin to comply with laws in 28 countries. However, nothing I did or said in the discussion was even remotely illegal, even in countries with the strictest hate crime laws. My comments were based entirely on my extensive journalistic experience in the region and my analysis was clinical in nature. At no point did I denigrate anyone based on their faith or ethnicity. …
The trend of censoring material that presents Israel in a less than favorable light has only intensified as establishment attacks on critical voices expands. This latest episode confirms my view that the pro-Israel lobby and its willing accomplices in Silicon Valley present one of the greatest threats to free speech in the West.
Blumenthal also said he believes that the Anti-Defamation League, an international Jewish nongovernmental organization, is behind the censoring. The group participates in YouTube’s flagging system and considers actions tied to boycott, divestment and sanctions (a global campaign encouraging various boycotts against Israel until it meets its “obligations under international law”) and opposition to Israeli occupation as racism.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald has reported on Facebook working with the Israeli government to engage in censorship. In another article on Facebook censorship in 2016, Greenwald wrote, “Facebook is a private company, with a legal obligation to maximize profit, and so it will interpret very slippery concepts such as ‘hate speech’ and ‘inciting violence’ to please those who wield the greatest power.”