Rima Najjar

Rima Najjar (Photo: Facebook)

On December 31, 2019, attorneys for Rima Najjar, a retired professor of English literature at Al-Quds University, filed a suit against the question-answer website Quora in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, arguing the site had unlawfully banned her from posting and moderating a forum. The case centers around the use of the word “Palestine” and “Zionist,” the latter of which Quora said constituted “hate speech.” 

Screenshot taken June 6, 2019 on Quora.com of the leading users who have answered questions pertaining to Palestine in the past month. The top user lists his areas of expertise as Israel, American Football, Israel Defense Forces, and Hebrew.

Dr. Benay Blend, who is Jewish, was banned from the question/answer social media platform Quora at the same time as her Palestinian colleague Dr. Rima Najjar, but their cases have been treated very differently by the website. “So, I have to wonder – Why did Quora treat my writing differently than Dr. Najjar’s,” Blend asks, “Even after we were both permanently banned, my answers remain on my profile in Quora; while her hundreds of well-researched answers have been completely erased.”