Facebook draws left-wing ire after employee says the site could police the term ‘Zionists’

Facebook+draws+left-wing+ire+after+employee+says+the+site+could+police+the+term+%E2%80%98Zionists%E2%80%99

Gabe Friedman

(JTA) — A leaked email written by a Facebook employee hints that the social media giant may review its policy on allowing the term “Zionist,” and pro-Palestinian groups argue that such a move would endanger free speech on Israel issues.

In the email dated Nov. 10, the unidentified employee wrote to an unidentified source: “We are looking at the question of how we should interpret attacks on ‘Zionists’ to determine whether the term is used as a proxy for attacking Jewish or Israeli people. The term brings with it much history and various meanings, and we are looking to increase our understanding of how it is used by people on our platform.”

In a version of the email reported on Sunday by The Verge, the names of both the sender and recipient were redacted.

Since last week, the anti-Zionist group Jewish Voice For Peace has circulated a petition opposing any change to Facebook’s policy on allowing use of the word Zionist. Its signers include an array of prominent voices such as Michael Chabon, Peter Gabriel, Wallace Shawn, Noam Chomsky and Linda Sarsour.

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, put out a statement Monday saying that it has “joined the international campaign” to keep Facebook from changing its position on the word.