YouTube has blocked 28 countries from watching a video of two journalists exposing the Israeli occupation. Presenter of Empire Files Abby Martin interviewed author Max Blumenthal, who also criticised violence from Israel’s military against Palestinian protestors. The programme was broadcast on Latin American network teleSUR English.
YouTube, owned by Google, says that the internet platform banned the video in 28 countries because it violates “local laws”. Most of the countries YouTube has blocked from seeing the video are European. Elsewhere, YouTube has added a warning to the video and blocked all interactive features:
In response to user reports, we have disabled some features, such as comments, sharing, and suggested videos, because this video contains content that may be inappropriate or offensive to some audiences.
“Nothing was even remotely illegal”
But Blumenthal, author of The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, said:
YouTube has claimed that it removed my interview on Israel-Palestine with Abby Martin to comply with laws in 28 countries. However, nothing I did or said in the discussion was even remotely illegal, even in countries with the strictest hate crime laws. My comments were based entirely on my extensive journalistic experience in the region and my analysis was clinical in nature. At no point did I denigrate anyone based on their faith or ethnicity.
The journalist said his motivations were a “strong opposition to Israel’s systemic discrimination against Palestinians” and “dedication to equal rights for all”.
Shining a light on recent acts by Israel’s military
The Empire Files video, uploaded in November 2015, draws attention to Israel’s policies on Palestinian demonstrations.
In the banned video, Blumenthal speaks to host Abby Martin about an alleged ‘shoot to cripple’ policy:
Soldiers were cracking down on demonstrations with live fire to the legs.
It appears Israel is continuing such behaviour in 2018. After the 30 March shootings, Israel’s military tweeted:
everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed
The tweet has since disappeared.
Israel said that killing and crippling Palestinian protestors on 31st March was "accurate and measured, we know where every bullet landed". Now YouTube has banned an @EmpireFiles video that spotlights Israel's alleged 'shoot to cripple' policy against Palestinian demonstators: pic.twitter.com/AGi8rvsi4i
— James Wright (@wrightismight) April 6, 2018
In the video, Blumenthal also says Israel has used:
‘dum dum bullets’, which are expanding rounds. So, they’ll bounce around inside your limbs and expand, and really cripple you for life.
Now, YouTube has censored the video. Blumenthal branded YouTube’s decision a “political one” and “likely made under pressure from powerful pro-Israel interests”. Since last year, the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League has been a select contributing member of YouTube’s Trusted Flagger program. The Anti-Defamation League conflates opposition to Israeli violence with ‘opposition to Israel’s right to exist’. Blumenthal believes that the Anti-Defamation League is likely the root of the censorship of his interview with Martin.
The trend of censoring material that presents Israel in a less than favorable light has only intensified as establishment attacks on critical voices expands. This latest episode confirms my view that the pro-Israel lobby and its willing accomplices in Silicon Valley present one of the greatest threats to free speech in the West
As well as YouTube, Facebook has blocked many accounts of Palestinian activists. Israeli officials have lauded how willing Facebook is when Israel demands censorship, saying Facebook granted 95% of requests in four months.
The Canary asked Google for comment but had received none by the time of publication.
Featured image via screenshots
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?