Knesset Speaker Yuli Edlestein urged Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday to remove pages from Facebook that incite against Arabs or Jews.
In a letter addressed to the social media site’s CEO, as well as its head of policy in Europe and the Middle East, Richard Allan, Edelstein wrote that it has recently come to his attention that Israeli Facebook pages have been created that include the phrases “Death to Arabs” and “Death to Jews” in their titles.
“I am appalled by these acts of incitement,” wrote Edelstein, adding that he strongly condemns this “sad and ugly phenomenon.”
“The Jewish part of Israeli society at times finds itself in disagreement with members of the Arab public, but even then, in the heat of an argument, we must keep to the point and respect human dignity,” he wrote. “Therefore, I will be grateful if you could use all the tools at the disposal of Facebook in order to put an end to these pages.”
In a post on his own Facebook page, Edelstein wrote: “Even freedom of speech has limits, and social media must not become a safe haven for wild incitement.”
MK Osama Saadia (Joint Arab List) brought the matter to the Knesset’s attention on Wednesday in a speech to the plenum. He also called upon the state’s attorney general to open criminal investigations into those individuals who could be identified with Facebook pages that include the phrase “Death to Arabs” in their title.
Saadia implored Edelstein to address the issue. In response, Edelstein wrote the letter to Zuckerberg and Allan, and encouraged Saadia to do the same.
Edelstein has contacted Zuckerberg in the past, when he was information and Diaspora affairs minister, requesting the company remove inciting pages. His request was granted.