Man among first Jews to be indicted for Facebook incitement against Arabs

Many Arabs have been previously indicted for incitement against Jews.

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March 2, 2016 15:52
2 minute read.
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People are silhouetted as they pose with mobile devices in front of a screen projected with a Facebook logo.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Northern District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday filed a rare indictment against a Jew for incitement on Facebook against Arabs.

Over the last year, an increasing number of Israeli Arabs have been indicted for incitement on Facebook against Jews, but Meir Borenstein, 26, of Nazareth is among the first to be charged with racist incitement and incitement to violence on Facebook from the Jewish side of the spectrum (though there has been at least one other recent case).

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The idea of indicting persons for incitement merely based on postings from Facebook took some time for acceptance by the legal establishment due to concerns that it might go too far in infringing on free speech and could turn into a politicized witch-hunt.

However, the increase in violence over the last half year and the many attackers who have confessed that they were inspired to undertake attack by Facebook posts turned the tide.

Borenstein was indicted in the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court for posts in 2013 and 2014 in which he called on all Jews to “break everything of theirs, their cars, their iPhones, their teeth... let’s start our own intifada,” and to kidnap Arabs.

Alan M. Schneider, director of the B’nai B’rith World Center, said his organization is “fully in favor of everyone – Jew and Arab – being equal before the law. Let all those inciters be aware that they will not go unpunished for fomenting hate and promoting violence. This can only lead to a safer society.”

He added, “B’nai B’rith has long been concerned about incitement on social media and the Web, and it is high time that those who threaten the tolerance and pluralism that typifies Israel will be punished for overstepping the law.”

Sam Sokol contributed to this story.The Northern District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday filed a rare indictment against a Jew for incitement on Facebook against Arabs.

Over the last year, an increasing number of Israeli Arabs have been indicted for incitement on Facebook against Jews, but Meir Borenstein, 26, of Nazareth is among the first to be charged with racist incitement and incitement to violence on Facebook from the Jewish side of the spectrum (though there has been at least one other recent case).

The idea of indicting persons for incitement merely based on postings from Facebook took some time for acceptance by the legal establishment due to concerns that it might go too far in infringing on free speech and could turn into a politicized witch-hunt.

However, the increase in violence over the last half year and the many attackers who have confessed that they were inspired to undertake attack by Facebook posts turned the tide.

Borenstein was indicted in the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court for posts in 2013 and 2014 in which he called on all Jews to “break everything of theirs, their cars, their iPhones, their teeth... let’s start our own intifada,” and to kidnap Arabs.

Alan M. Schneider, director of the B’nai B’rith World Center, said his organization is “fully in favor of everyone – Jew and Arab – being equal before the law. Let all those inciters be aware that they will not go unpunished for fomenting hate and promoting violence. This can only lead to a safer society.”

He added, “B’nai B’rith has long been concerned about incitement on social media and the Web, and it is high time that those who threaten the tolerance and pluralism that typifies Israel will be punished for overstepping the law.”

Sam Sokol contributed to this story.


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