(photo credit: Courtesy of Twitter homepage)
It all started 10 days ago, when a wave of French-language anti-Semitic posts on
Twitter morphed into an explosion in the use of the hashtag #unbonjuif (#A
GoodJew) to spread anti-Jewish jokes online.
By October 10, the hashtag
was the third most popular tagged subject on the site in France). The deluge of
offensive posts continued for days.
SOS Racisme and the UEJF (the Union
of French Jewish Students) decided to look into legal options to target the
authors of the thousands of tweets and possibly Tweeter itself.
Ayne, the director of SOS Racisme, told France 24 TV last week: “There is a
deep-rooted anti-Semitism in France, and there is a very small step between
racist words and racist acts... We have to tell people that just because they
are sitting behind a computer they can’t assume they’ll get away with making
Jonathan Hayoun, president of the UEJF, said: “Twitter
can’t become a zone where people behave with impunity.” On Tuesday his
organization lodged a court complaint with a demand that Twitter removes
references to the hashtag and provide the IP addresses of offenders.
UEJF then contacted contacted Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, to no
According to the students’ lawyer, they were “not taken
“Twitter didn’t understand the deepness of racism and
anti-Semitism in France,” Hayoun told the media, while citing the recent
Toulouse and Sarcelles attacks (three Jews murdered in the first one last March,
one wounded in the second last month). “If nothing is done we will sue the boss
of Twitter, Dick Costolo, in Paris court,” he warned.
On Friday, Tweeter
announced it was removing the offending tweets under “trending
“An important victory,” the lawyer for UEJF said. He said he
would ask the court to sanction the authors of the anti-Semitic messages.