Not according to Twitter.
When the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) cited hundreds of anti-Semitic tweets similar to the one in the title above, Twitter ruled that such posts didn’t breach its guidelines.
If so, that platform sounds remarkably permissive at a time when using a word like ‘niggardly’ may stigmatise the offender as an unemployable bigot. So, being an inquisitive sort, I actually looked up those guidelines, that putative last oasis of unrestrained speech.
And what do you know, the company states unequivocally that: “Racist behaviour, abuse and harassment have absolutely no place on our service.”
Righty-ho. The line is drawn. Now we find ourselves in the area of subjective interpretation. Which tweets overstep that line, and which don’t?
When it comes to “gas the Jews”, one can’t help detecting some ill will towards Jews communicated thereby. Since, in the generation previous to mine, gassing was one of the methods by which half of the world’s Jews were murdered, some Jews may take exception to such a cri de coeur for a repeat performance.
In fact, I doubt that tweet can ever be interpreted as either philo-Semitic or even neutral. Unless, of course, Twitter insists that the author merely wished for all Jews to have a good supply of fuel gas to their homes, especially in winter.
Then there’s the oft-repeated “Hitler was right”. Here Twitter has more latitude to argue that there’s not a trace of anti-Semitism to be found in that tweet. After all, the author didn’t specify where exactly Hitler was unerring.
He might have been referring to Hitler’s affection for his dog Blondie. Or he might have praised the Führer for the autobahn network built in the 1930s. Or else he might have been extolling the Nazi chemical industry that created the Zyklon B gas… No, not that, but the possibilities are endless.
Then there is this worthy attempt to place modern politics within a historical continuum: “Wow. Biden’s now over 81 million votes? It’s like the Holohoax: you can just keep making up numbers.”
‘Holohoax’ is a portmanteau neologism, displaying the kind of linguistic ingenuity that’s regrettably missing in most tweets. However, I’d like to see how Twitter would argue its way out of this one.
I’m not necessarily suggesting that Holocaust denial should be criminalised. Yet it’s indeed a crime in some European countries, and frowned upon in all others. Yet, playing Twitter’s advocate, perhaps one could point out that the author doesn’t deny that the Holocaust actually happened.
He is only implying (not very subtly, it has to be said) that the commonly accepted figure of six million victims is exaggerated. For example, one likeminded individual made use of his advanced university degree to argue that no more than four million were murdered.
Oh well, that’s all right then. Nothing to get worked up about. The CAA should get its knickers out of a twist.
Now, “fake Jewish Holocaust”, another popular phrase, is more problematic. Rather than merely quibbling about the numbers, the author flatly denies that the Holocaust happened at all, which seems to defy historical evidence.
However, I find it impossible to imagine that a responsible individual (I’m sure no other kind appear on Twitter) would make such an assertion without being able to support it with a corpus of data. Perhaps, if Twitter asked him to cite his sources, the conflict could be resolved to everybody’s satisfaction.
What I find baffling is that anyone could take exception to this statement: “Jews control our government, mainstream media, social media, Hollywood [and] financial institutions”.
The compliment paid to the Jews therein may be undeserved, but it’s definitely sincere and it’s indeed a compliment. Alas, Jews clearly don’t control Twitter, but that may be portrayed as the sole exception to their otherwise complete domination.
Yet a naysayer might look, for example, at some of our banks and argue the impeccable gentile credentials of their chairmen, such as Lord William Waldegrave (Coutts) Sir Howard Davis (NatWest), Nigel Higgins (Barclay’s) or Lord Norman Blackwell (Lloyd’s).
But the author may argue, and Twitter would agree, that hiding behind those assumed names may well be Waldstein, Davidson, Horowitz and Schwartz. And even if that’s not the case, he didn’t say Jews own or run all those institutions – only that they control them. And control can be exercised by all sorts of means, subtle, invisible or even non-existent.
When reached for a comment, a Twitter spokesman categorically denied the CAA’s accusations of anti-Semitism. “Speaking for myself,” he said, “some of my best friends are Christ killers.”
Sorry, I made that one up, as I sometimes do. But I promise to give up that habit: these days there’s no need for fabricating evidence. Straight reportage will outpace the most fecund imagination any day.