Facebook (illustration)
Facebook (illustration)Thinkstock

Thousands of Israelis have joined a lawsuit against Facebook in a New York court, alleging the social network allowed jihadists to openly recruit and train terrorists and plan terror attacks on its pages.

Some 20,000 Israelis, organized by the Israel-based non-profit Shurat HaDin-The Israel Law Center, joined a civil lawsuit filed Monday in the Supreme Court for the State of New York, seeking an injunction against Facebook, according to a Fox News report.

Shurat HaDin wants to force Facebook to not only remove the terrorists' pages, but also to better monitor and block users who post videos glorifying and encouraging terrorist attacks, and publish messages with instructions on how to carry out an attack.

“The terrorists do not come on their own; they write posts and encourage their friends to kill Jews,” Israeli attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat HaDin, told Fox News. “Facebook has been transformed into an anti-Semitic incubator for murder.”

While Facebook is accused in the suit of “intentionally disregarding the widespread incitement and calls for murder of Jews posted on its web pages by Palestinians,” a spokesman for Facebook said the lawsuit is without merit.

“We want people to feel safe when using Facebook. There is no place for content encouraging violence, direct threats, terrorism or hate speech on Facebook,” the company told Fox News.

“As a community of nearly 1.5 billion people, we have a set of Community Standards to help people understand what is allowed on Facebook, and we urge people to use our reporting tools if they find content that they believe violates our standards so we can investigate and take swift action,” it added.

Shurat HaDin has had success in the past in fighting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), and has also been successful in achieving justice for victims of terror in American courts.

Most recently the organization helped represent 11 families who sued the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) for inciting, supporting, planning and executing seven terror attacks which killed American citizens between 2000 and 2004. The court ultimately found the two organization liable for terrorism.

The lawsuit against Facebook, filed by Darshan-Leitner and attorneys Robert Tolchin of New York and Asher Perlin of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, claims the plaintiffs "have been living in the crosshairs of a murderous terrorist rampage carried out by killers who attack people with knives, axes, screwdrivers, cars and Molotov cocktails for no reason other than that the attacker perceives the victims to be Jewish.

“Many of these murderers were motivated to commit their heinous crimes by incitement to murder they read on Facebook—demagogues and leaders exhorting their followers to ‘slaughter the Jews,’ and offering instruction as to the best manner to do so, including even anatomical charts showing the best places to stab a human being,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit says that since Facebook uses algorithms that match users with personalized ads and connect them to potential “friends,” the company should have the ability to monitor and block such postings.

Darshan-Leitner told Fox News that Facebook is just the first of several social media companies that may be targets of future lawsuits by her group unless they begin to better counter terrorist postings and activities.