YouTube Punishes My Criticism of Hamas
Where did I engage in hateful or harmful speech? I'll give you the answer: nowhere.
On Saturday, April 2, in the aftermath of the Palestinian protests in Gaza, Geraldo Rivera called Gaza “the world’s largest concentration camp.” In response, I posted a three-minute video. It expressed my differences with Geraldo and placed the blame where it belongs: at the foot of Hamas. YouTube was not happy with my commentary, deeming it “not suitable for all advertisers.”
On what possible basis? What community guidelines did I violate? Where did I engage in hateful or harmful speech?
Geraldo had stated:
Gaza is the world’s largest concentration camp and recognize that this violence is something that could happen every day in Gaza. There are almost 2 million Palestinians stuffed in an area 25 miles long by five miles wide and the Israelis control the border, the electricity, jobs, I mean it really is a melancholy place.
He also said, “If you can ignore the West Bank and Gaza for days and days and months and even years, then suddenly something like this happens, and people remember ‘Oh, yes, this is occupied territory.’”
In my response, I first cited the number of Palestinians who had been killed and injured during the protests. I also grieve over their loss of life.
I stated emphatically that I hated to see them suffering and that I did not sanction everything Israel did. (YouTube: Please tell me. Where’s the hate? Where’s the ugly bias?)
Not a Concentration Camp
That being said, I took issue with Geraldo’s characterization of Gaza as “the world’s largest concentration camp.” These Palestinians were not being worked to death or herded into gas chambers to be killed.
And I explained that it was much better for the Palestinians when there was Israel rule over them (1967-2005). They had more liberty and a better quality of life.
Not only so, but Egypt, along with Palestinian leaders, did little or nothing to help the Gazan Palestinians when they controlled the Gaza Strip from 1949-1967. As a UN observer stated in 1955, “For all practical purposes it would be true to say that for the last six years in Gaza over 300,000 poverty stricken people have been physically confined to an area the size of a large city park.” (See here, with n. 6; I did not mention this in my video commentary.)
Geraldo claimed that “there are almost 2 million Palestinians stuffed in an area 25 miles long by five miles wide.” I pointed out that it’s not that Israel took people and squeezed them in there. Their very high birthrate is a factor in this as well. (Another factor is that many of thousands of Palestinians took refuge there after 1948.)
Who’s to Blame? Hamas, Terrorist Group
But why, you ask, are these Palestinians living under such restrictions? Why are they blockaded and largely cut off from the outside world?
It’s because they elected Hamas, a recognized terrorist group, to govern them. Hamas is a terrorist group that is still committed to the destruction of Israel. (In the video commentary, I showed a picture from the protests of two Palestinian flags sandwiching a Nazi swastika.)
And let’s not forget that Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 was traumatic for the nation. About 8,000 settlers who had lived there for years with houses, farms, synagogues and schools were forcibly removed from their properties by Israeli soldiers. The images of Jews tearing other Jews from their homes stirred up great pain for the people of Israel.
What did the Palestinians do with their right to self-determination? They elected Hamas, and that’s why they have come under such restrictions. (For a sympathetic perspective on the election of Hamas, explaining why the Palestinians voted for them, see here.)
I also pointed out that Hamas spends millions of dollars of international aid money on terror tunnels and weapons. Could you imagine how much better things would be for these Gazan Palestinians if Hamas put the money into building better schools, hospitals and apartment buildings? Into improving the infrastructure? Into education and job development?
YouTube Sides With Hamas
I concluded by saying this:
Geraldo Rivera, yes, I share pain with you in saying it’s terrible to see how the Palestinians are living there. But let’s put the blame where it belongs: at the foot of Hamas. That is the problem.
Check out the video for yourself. Again, it’s just three-minutes long, including the clips from Geraldo. (In case you’re wondering, there was no claim of copyright infringement.) Then look at YouTube’s community guidelines and tell me which guideline I violated. (I can save you the time: There were none.)
To be fair, YouTube has surprised me by remonetizing some of our videos, like our one-hour exposé of California’s extreme “You Must Stay Gay Bill.” (By “remonetizing” I mean that initially, they flagged the video as Not Suitable for All Advertisers. Then after manual review, they reversed their decision.)
Unfortunately, YouTube lacks any kind of consistent, fair, even-handed approach. This time, they got things terribly wrong. Shame on YouTube for siding with Hamas.