The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is urging Twitter to deplatform Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for “spreading hatred, violence and dangerous disinformation” while calling for the State of Israel to be destroyed and denying the Holocaust.
In a blog post on their website written by ADL Washington director for international affairs, David Andrew Weinberg, the organization noted multiple Khamenei accounts that repeatedly violate Twitter’s rules regarding hate, violence and misinformation. None of these accounts have been suspended as per Twitter’s Hateful Conduct policy.
Khamenei accounts continue to openly glorify anti-Semitic terrorist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. They are full of anti-Semitic tropes and stereotypes about Jews, including calling Jews “filthy,” “bloody,” “conspiring,” “nationless,” “plutocrats,” “enemies of humanity," “those who “control a news empire." They also accuse Jews of genocide and murdering children.
The Khamenei accounts are furthermore full of Holocaust denial, for instance urging followers to “raise doubts about the Holocaust,” with Twitter not taking action to remove or suspend the accounts, even after being notified.
With more than a million followers across Twitter accounts in multiple languages, Khamenei maintains a constant presence on social media. The ADL noted that the only logical reason that the various platforms continue to allow him to spread hatred in violation of their policies is that they are reluctant to permanently ban a world leader.
Next week, the House of Representatives will be holding a hearing on similar matters, at which point Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who has downplayed Khamenei’s rhetoric as merely “sober rattling,” is expected to be questioned about his site’s lack of accountability when it comes to Khamenei.
A statement by Twitter said that the company is calling for public input with regards to their treatment of world leaders. “Generally, we want to hear from the public on whether or not they believe world leaders should be subject to the same rules as others on Twitter. And, should a world leader violate a rule, what type of enforcement action is appropriate.”
Twitter has been criticized for deplatforming former President Donald Trump but so far refusing to touch Khomanei’s many accounts, full of hate policy violations, despite an appeal from Israel. I
n May of 2020, Strategic Affairs Minister Orit Farkash Hacohen sent an appeal to Twitter asking that Khamenei’s accounts be removed.
“Twitter’s own Hateful Conduct Policy clearly stipulates that a user ‘may not promote violence against, or directly attack, or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin or religions affiliation… or calls for mass murder,” she wrote.