Media Analysis

‘Youtube’ removes video tribute to Yaser Murtaja and other Gaza victims as ‘sensational’ incitement

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Check out this stirring anthem to freedom in Gaza. It begins with a Palestinian child saying “We shall overcome” and an image of Martin Luther King Jr. and then in many still pictures of the “Great March of Return” conveys the strength of the unarmed resistance to the blockade–including the killing of Yaser Murtaja, the Palestinian journalist who was one of six Palestinian journalists shot by Israeli snipers on April 6.

The imagery is by Sana Kassem, and the video was posted by Norman Finkelstein yesterday on youtube. The song is “Wings to Fly,” by Susan Boyle. The copy accompanying the video was simply: “A video dedicated to the people of Gaza as they struggle to break out of Israel’s infernal prison.”

Then Youtube took it down today, Finkelstein says, and he and Kassem have posted it now on Vimeo.

Youtube sent Finkelstein a notice that suggests that it regarded the video as a “sensational” and “shocking” incitement to “violence” or “dangerous activities.”

Upon review, we’ve determined that it violates our guidelines. We’ve removed it from YouTube and assigned a Community Guidelines strike, or temporary penalty, to your account…

If a video contains violent or graphic content that appears to be posted in a shocking, sensational, or disrespectful manner, it’s less likely to be allowed on YouTube. We also don’t allow content that’s intended to incite violence or encourage dangerous activities.

Finkelstein comments on the removal on his own site, and satirizes Youtube’s policy:

However, Youtube will continue to post videos like this:, [a stabbing attack in Rishon Lezion, evidently of a Jewish victim, in Nov. 2015]

and like this:, [the video concerns two Israelis killed by an Arab]

“Youtube wants visitors to know that this was not an easy decision to make.  However, after many hours of agonizing reflection we concluded that, whereas all lives are worthy, some lives are more worthy than others.

Sana Kassem is a Palestinian refugee who grew up in Lebanon and works as a Chemistry teacher in Athens. She has been working with Finkelstein for almost 10 years as his website master and administrator of all his social media. “I really hope that you use the story of this censorship to highlight the situation in Gaza. I feel that the international community (including myself) is not standing up enough to all the sacrifices of the brutally imprisoned people of Gaza,” she says.

For a time this video parodying Lorde’s song “Royals” to highlight Palestinian conditions was also barred by Youtube, a few weeks ago. Now it’s back up.

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YouTube’s owner, Google, had a motto “Don’t be evil”, which they changed to a higher bar, “Do the right thing”. In this case Google is doing evil, not even reaching its low bar. But it shows us the deep reach of Zionists, who can even shut up the rabbis,… Read more »

It’s good that you report this development. It was predictable when this story appeared back in 2016 Regarding recent events, see also: As is customary when Zionist rhetoric is concerned, reality is inverted. It is Israel’s actions that are shocking, dangerous, and an incitement. Worse than incitement to… Read more »

Someone should tell youtube to identuify the people who flag these videos as “incitement” and to publish their explanations of in just what way the video is an ilicit incitement. If the other videos NF points out were “licit”, why were they “licit” and the one complained of was not?

Isn’t one of Google’s data-mining R&D centers located in Israel?

Not that there’s any connection, of course.

Oh wait, Google owns YouTube. So I guess there is a connection.

Oh, and thanks MW for doing what you do.