As politicians continue with false accusations of antisemitism, they expose just how little they know about what it is. In doing so, they not only expose their Islamophobia but they are also putting a target on Muslim and Arab-speaking citizens’ backs. Despite being corrected, they continue to do so out of sheer and willful ignorance.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) recently gave a speech at the US Senate. In that speech, she accused TikTok and the Chinese government of supporting terrorism by allowing content that exposes the truth of the Israeli government’s actions over the last 75 years. As has been discussed ad-nauseam, criticism of the Israeli government isn’t antisemitic and neither is calling for a ceasefire or for the end of apartheid in Palestine supporting terrorism.
Anti-Israel sentiment and support for Hamas terrorism has gone mainstream, and even Biden administration officials like Jake Sullivan admit that Hamas is using popular online platforms to push propaganda,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn said. “Of course, TikTok is the enabler-in-chief in this regard. Here are some stats for you: Between October 23 and 30, videos with the “StandWithPalestine’” hashtag received 285 million views globally, while videos with [the] “StandWithIsrael”’ hashtag received just 64 million views.
While she notes that the number of views for each hashtag is global, Sen. Blackburn goes on to argue that TikTok is “silencing Americans” even though the largest portions of people using the “StandWithPalestine” hashtag represent the broader global community. In what is typical of a Congress that understands little about the technologies of today, she contradicted herself in the same breath she made a baseless accusation.
“By silencing Americans and those who are pro-Israel and other Westerners who counter anti-Semitic propaganda, they can ingratiate themselves with the Arab world and undermine the United States as the global superpower and chief mediator in the Middle East,” Sen. Blackburn continued. “They know that by doing this, they are normalizing terrorism and genocide, but it puts the CCP and their partners in the new “axis of evil”’ even one step closer to global domination, and that is their goal.”
What all politicians (including those in the White House) don’t seem to understand is that the same content can be found on all social media platforms. From YouTube and X to Facebook and Instagram, content exposing the truth about Israel’s apartheid state is everywhere. The issue isn’t social media as much as it is the general public being tired of sending its tax dollars to support war, terrorism, and genocide.
“Well, I have looked through the past few weeks of coverage of the role of TikTok and how they have played into this, and I came across story after story defending the platform and the firehose of pro-terrorist content that it promotes,” Sen. Blackburn said. “And, of course, you are going to have story after story defending TikTok – of course – because it is OK with them to promote terrorism and to promote genocide.”
The United States is still reeling from more than 20 years of war in Afghanistan at a cost of trillions of dollars only to hand it back to the same Taliban that ruled the country before the US invaded it in its so-called “war on terror”. That effort, along with the lies about Iraq and its supposed possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), not only exposed the US propaganda machine and how it works but also shattered trust in the war machine, legacy media, and the elected officials that uphold it all. It’s no wonder citizens are speaking up.
Is anyone inherently “anti-Israel” as Sen. Blackburn argues? Maybe. Is there antisemitism in the US? Of course. There always has been. But it’s been made much worse since the election of former president Donald Trump and loud-mouthed antisemites such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). In addition, once Elon Musk took over Twitter (now X), antisemitism exploded on mainstream social media largely because he bolstered and promoted antisemitic content.
But we don’t see anyone calling to ban X, do we?
Sen. Blackburn ended her speech by saying, “There is bipartisan agreement that the very existence of this tool – this surveillance, this propaganda tool – that the Chinese Communist Party has created, which we call TikTok – there is evidence that the very existence of this poses a threat to our national security and to that of our allies, which means the Senate should have absolutely no trouble throwing its support behind a ban on TikTok in the United States.”
While showing no specific examples of antisemitism, Sen. Blackburn suggests (just as the White House, Department of State, and others have done) that protests to end what many have referred to as genocide and ethnic cleansing in Palestine are innately antisemitic and that they are done in support of terrorism. Neither of these is true.
As I previously reported, the inherent Islamophobia that is prevalent in the United States is one of the biggest drivers behind false accusations of antisemitism. The baseless charges against people expressing their humanity in calling for a ceasefire are meant to silence and derail factual conversations about what is happening in Palestine and precisely why it’s happening.
When we consider how actual antisemites have been allowed to continue to promote the Israeli government’s actions, the false charges of antisemitism begin losing all validity.
When the founder of Libs of TikTok, Chaya Raichik – who associates with the Proud Boys and other hate groups to target Drag Queen Story Hour events across the country – was removed from the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) list of extremists after expressing her support for Israel, the cat was let out of the bag. While many suggest the ADL removed her because of a threat of litigation that she posted on social media, the timing couldn’t be more questionable.
In yet another contradictory move, Elon Musk – one of the loudest antisemites in the world – was invited to Israel to discuss the rebuilding of Gaza. This too exposed how the weaponization of baseless claims of antisemitism is being used to silence discourse while allowing actual antisemites to interact with the Israeli government directly. Meanwhile, many other antisemitic voices such as Glenn Beck are being celebrated for voicing their support for Israel.
The notion that elected officials would go so far as to ban an entire social media platform speaks to just how impactful losing the propaganda war is to Western societies. Even if they succeeded in banning TikTok, the knowledge of modern-day and future generations means they need to rewrite their playbook or stop lying to justify wars.
Their problem isn’t social media. It’s access to the truth, which the Internet provides.
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