Twitter has a history of defending antisemites. It will suspend and punish Jewish Zionists for defending themselves against antisemitism. Yet, the platform allows the antisemities to get away with their horrible activity. This is well known amongst the Jewish Twitter users.
Twitter has now taken it a step too far. It is forcing Jews to take off any and all profile pictures with the Star of David in them. It will report the violation as,” hateful imagery.”
At first, I couldn’t believe this was happening. That it was a one-time mistake. That was until people sent me multiple screen shots of the same Twitter violation sent to them over having a Jewish Star of David in their profile pictures and that this has happened before;
We are unsure if anti-Zionists are reporting these profile pictures to twitter, or if twitter is finding them by itself. Either way, someone on the twitter team is deeming the Star of David hateful imagery and forcing users to take their pictures down if they want to continue to use their platforms.
Allow me to start with what the Star of David means to the Jewish people.
One of the meanings is described nicely by the Encyclopedia Britannica, “The term Magen David, which in Jewish liturgy signifies G-d as the protector (shield) of David, gained currency among medieval Jewish mystics, who attached magical powers to King David’s shield just as earlier (non-Jewish) magical traditions had referred to the six-pointed star as the “seal of Solomon.’ Kabbalists popularized the use of the symbol as a protection against evil spirits… The star was almost universally adopted by Jews in the 19th-century as a striking and simple emblem of Judaism...”
Aish.com describes the meanings of the Star of David as follows, “Through the Jewish people's long and often difficult history, we have come to the realization that our only hope is to place our trust in God. The six points of the Star of David symbolize G-d's rule over the universe in all six directions: north, south, east, west, up and down.”
Lastly, my rabbi describes this symbol as: “The Star of David is an internationally recognized symbol of the Jewish people. Long before today's political associations, it has been the unchallenged representation of a people spread to all the corners of the Earth by the Almighty, and who yet stay committed to Him; the sign of a people who have been the brunt of human demonic oppression and accusation, and remain faithful to the betterment of mankind; the sign of the people who died at the hands of Cross and the Crescent, but refused to bow to those religions that they themselves had spawned. The Star of David is the sign of people who stand for morality, justice, peace - and quietly call to all nations to do the same with their example. “
The point is, The Star of David is a symbol of hope and a symbol of the Jewish people. It is not a symbol that invokes, “hateful imagery,” which is frankly insulting to the Jewish people and Jewish heritage.
The only time twitter mentions in its rules that A Star of David is considered hateful is, “images altered to include hateful symbols or references to a mass murder that targeted a protected category, e.g., manipulating images of individuals to include yellow Star of David badges, in reference to the Holocaust.” None of the users that were considered “in violation,” of their rules had such a star. There’s also a fine print in the twitter rules that allows exceptions if it is for educational purposes. In no way did anyone violate the rules, but they have been punished for using a symbol that has such heartfelt meaning to the
I call upon Twitter to rectify this situation. They must apologize for their blatant antisemitism. They must also look within their departments and see exactly who is handing out these violations and fire them. In a time with Jew-hatred on the rise, it is not the time nor the place for Twitter to decide what is or isn’t hateful imagery. It is the time to stand with the Jewish people and make sure their employees know what is or isn’t antsemitic. They are getting it wrong, they are establishing a pattern, and we will not allow this.
Update: While waiting to get this article published, I checked and these Twitter users have still been locked out of their accounts. They have tried to appeal Twitter’s “violations,” but Twitter has denied the appeals. Because of this, Twitter users, in solidarity, have been changing their default pictures to those of the people who were banned.
Angela Van Der Pluym is Young Adult Cabinet Leader of Herut North America