In a move that thrilled Israel-haters, Yishai Fleisher, the International Spokesman for the Jewish Community of Hebron and a security adviser for Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s Minister of National Security, was permanently banned from Twitter on Saturday night for commenting on Israel’s policy of returning the bodies of terrorists.
“Consider: If Israeli security kills a terrorist and retrieves the body they probably shouldn’t give the bad guy a second life by allowing the Jihad to run a big funeral to honor that terrorist,” Fleisher tweeted. “Maybe instead, finish the job, take the terrorist’s body and throw it into the sea. Let the Jihadists and their supporters know that if they raise a hand against Israel their death will be final.”
The tweet commented on a recent policy decision in which Israel turned over the bodies of three terrorists who were killed in a shooting at Jit Junction that had been held for 55 days. The move was heavily criticized by right-wing members of Netanyahu’s coalition government.
“Without any warnings, I received an email saying that my paid account was banned,” Fleisher told Israel365 News.
Fleisher emphasized that he was careful to express that his views pertained to terrorists and not to any ethnic or religious group.
“Israel haters are celebrating, spinning it and claiming that I said to throw Palestinians into the sea,” Fleisher said. “I said nothing of the sort. My Twitter feed was a place for open dialogue. Even people who disagreed with me are disturbed by this suspension.”
This was the case with David Abitbol, the founder and publisher of Jewlicious, who noted that other governments utilized the policy that Fleisher had suggested.
“Yishai Fleisher’s @Twitter account was permanently suspended for suggesting that the bodies of Hamas terrorists held by Israel should be buried at sea – in much the same way and for the same reasons that President Obama disposed of Osama Bin Laden’s body in the sea. Hamas is currently holding 2 Israeli civilians and the bodies of two Israeli soldiers. Hey @TwitterSupport – does this make sense? Hey @elonmusk – please do better? And keep in mind, I hardly ever agree with @YishaiFleisher and even I think this permanent suspension is totally inappropriate!”
Eugene Kontorovich, a legal scholar specializing in constitutional and international law, criticized Twitter’s decision:
“What is permitted for one country to do is not permitted for someone from the Jewish State to tweet about.”
International human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky wrote, “Seriously @Twitter? You suspended @YishaiFleisher for suggesting Israel should not release bodies of Palestinian terrorists so they are not celebrated, while you let antisemitic filth here unabated? Also, this is no different to the US disposing of Bin Laden’s body at sea for the same reason.”
Fleisher noted that he was very careful to adhere to Twitter’s community guidelines as well as common sense when posting.
“I’ve always been careful,” he said. “I never curse or insult people. I am not anti-Arab. I am anti-terrorist and anti-Jihadist. I never flipped out. I am very careful to keep the conversation policy-based and positive, showing that there is cooperation with Arabs. I’ve always been staunchly pro-Abraham Accords.”
“In general, I am described as a reasonable right-wing voice in the political dialogue. Even some of my detractors who are to the left of me, appreciate the fact that I represent somebody that they can dialogue with.”
As a high-profile Israeli with a blue-check Twitter account that had over 20,000 followers, Fleisher is often targeted by antisemitism.
“My theory is that many ‘protest sign’ folks got together and reported it,” Fleisher told Israel365 News. “It’s mob rule. The algorithm automatically flagged it, even though I was talking about a current policy issue. I posted on Twitter because it claims to be the place to talk about real policy issues.”
“They are celebrating my suspension, they’re using extreme hate speech, using language like, apartheid, racism, murder, and settler violence. Those are lies that incite antisemitism and terrorism.”
These are the people who use Twitter to downplay the daily Palestinian radical terrorism. I was advocating a strong anti-Jihad policy and that turned me into a target. They’ve managed to use Twitter to censor anti-terrorist voices.”
One such account was Ehab Jehud who tweeted, “Great news!The Twitter account of Yishai Fleisher, notorious for inciting hostility towards semitic #Palestinians and living in an illegal colonial-‘settlement’ in #Hebron, occupied #Palestine has been suspended. Our efforts have paid off!”
Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, responded, “So difference of opinions not your thing ? Long live freedom of speech and @elonmusk should restore Yishai’s account immediately because if someone like you who wants the end of our country and everyone in it can still be here then a patriot like Yishai should certainly also be.”
Fleisher was surprised that Twitter would suspend the account of a public figure but suggested that his political standing might have actually led to the suspension.
“There’s no question that my ties to Ben-Gvir makes me more of a target,” Fleisher said. “But in the case of a public official, Twitter should be even more careful. Especially in a case like mine in which nothing egregious or inciteful was said.”