UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) has sent a letter to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki demanding that the channel of the Center for Near Policy Research (CNEPR) be reinstated. The channel was shut down earlier this month for what the social video giant claimed were “repeated or severe violations of our Community Guidelines on Violence or Graphic content.”
CNEPR works to uncover corruption within the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The organization has produced several mini documentaries that highlight violence, antisemitism and extremism in UNRWA schools.
Jonathan Turner, chief executive of UKLFI, signed the letter to Wojcicki. In it he wrote that “CNEPR... sought to demonstrate the existence, nature and consequences of the Indoctrination” of UNRWA’s work in its videos. “This was all done in context so as not to shock or disgust or encourage the commission of violent acts. On the contrary the aim was to stop the encouragement of violence. The videos complied with YouTube policies.”
Turner goes on to explain that in his legal estimation, “the censoring of these videos is an unjustified restriction of freedom of expression and information regarding the activities of UNRWA, contrary to the core values of YouTube.
“This censoring is all the more serious at the present time, since States that contribute to UNRWA are currently considering whether to renew its mandate and, if so, on what terms,” the letter continues. “In short, by restricting the visibility of CNEPR’s videos, YouTube risks contributing to a continuation of the promotion of violence, antisemitism and extremism.”
The letter demands that the account be reinstated “without delay” and requests “a satisfactory response” within seven days. The letter is dated October 24.
Turner told The Jerusalem Post that UKLFI is considering what to do next if the organization, comprised of around 100 legal members and a network of 2,000 supporters, does not hear back from YouTube in time.
“What is going on in UNRWA schools is a very serious matter,” Turner said. “We should try to ensure [that the materials] get published and UNRWA gets stopped.”
CNEPR first alerted the Post last week that its channel had been shut down. The channel was registered under the name davidbedein2011; David Bedein is the director of CNEPR.
YouTube sent a letter to the organization stating that its platform “prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner.
“We have decided to keep your account suspended,” the letter continued. “You won’t be able to access or create any other YouTube accounts.”
The letter, according to Bedein, was in response to an appeal by the organization. Its YouTube channel was shut down for the first time about one week prior.
A spokesperson for YouTube told the Post last week that it could not comment on specific channels.