Al Jazeera anchor’s anti-Semitic Twitter persona

The anti-Semitic rhetoric of Ghada Oueiss is evident on her Twitter account. (Photo/Social media)
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Updated 14 July 2020

Al Jazeera anchor’s anti-Semitic Twitter persona

  • The tweets sparked outrage across social media from both the Jewish community for its anti-Semitic sentiment

LONDON: On July 8, Al Jazeera anchor Ghada Oueiss wrote an opinion article for the Washington Post in which she detailed her alleged struggle with cyberbullying campaigns on Twitter at the hands of — as she claims — droves of Saudi and Emirati bots.

While the piece demarcates what has happened to her, it fails to bring to light what her own account regularly churns out in terms of anti-Semitism as well as pure and targeted vitriol.

“This Holy Land belongs to Palestinians because Palestinians are Semitic unlike the Israeli Khazars who are occupiers,” Oueiss tweeted in late August last year to over 716,000 followers.

Later that same day, another tweet read: “An aerial photo of the Marhab fort in Khaybar, Saudi Arabia, which was a Jewish stronghold. Should they not return there instead of Palestine?”

The tweets sparked outrage across social media from both the Jewish community for its anti-Semitic sentiment, as well as the Muslim community for belittling the Prophet’s homeland of Madinah, where Khaybar is located.

"Al Jazeera, though Ghada Oueiss and others, calls for chaos in its support for militias and violence against the state and calls for hatred in any form possible to defy and distort the image of those who oppose its sponsors in Qatar and its ally Turkey,” Egypt-based media expert Hani Nasira told Arab News.

Oueiss, from Lebanon, also tweeted support for detained Saudi cleric Salman Al-Oudah, who was profiled in Arab News’ Preachers of Hate series.

In a television interview in 2006, Al-Oudah said: “The worst enemy is the Jews, and this is by consensus. When any party fights the Jews, we should rejoice out of spite for the Jews, even if Christian Lebanon, according to sectarian divisions for example, fights the Jews, and it happened. We hope that (Palestinians) defeat the Jews especially since they are oppressed in their country and their homes.”

This is not the first time an Al Jazeera journalist has been accused of anti-Semitism. In May last year, Al Jazeera’s youth channel AJ+ Arabic drew widespread condemnation over a video that was branded as “Holocaust denial” by claiming the Jews exaggerated the scale of the genocide to help establish Israel.

In 2017, the news agency’s English outlet tweeted an anti-Semitic meme known as “Happy Merchant” that showed a hook-nosed Jewish man wearing a traditional yarmulke and rubbing his hands together with the caption reading: “He, he, he, my global warming, uh, I mean, climate change scam is working out perfectly for our long term Talmudic plan of world domination.”

“Oueiss, who chose Twitter as her active platform, is a clear example of this behavior that goes against the moderate Arab axis represented by Egypt and Saudi Arabia among others,” Nasira said.

“This behavior supports the agenda of Qatar, its loyal militias and the militias with whom it shares common enemies. This is a model that does not devote consciousness or objectivity but calls for chaos, defiance, hate and controversy that do not generate anything other than the same negative values,” he said.

Apart from the anti-Semitic rhetoric tweeted by Oueiss, her aggressiveness on the social media platform is evident. From sparring with her critics to tweeting provocative statements, her timeline is flooded with controversial rhetoric.

“For a long time now, Oueiss has chosen to leave her journalism behind and become a party to the conflict,” an Arab media expert, who declined to be named, told Arab News. He added: “She has accepted to be used as a pawn in the cyber war between the two sides and is now bearing the consequences.”

Jad Melki, director of the Institute of Media Research and Training, told Arab News in a previous interview regarding the way journalists use their social media profiles that “they can’t just go out and make racist statements or specifically biased statements.”

News entities worldwide have enforced strict social media policies on their staff. The New York Times’ guidelines state that in social media posts, “journalists must not express partisan opinions, promote political views, endorse candidates, make offensive comments or do anything else that undercuts” the newspaper’s “journalistic reputation.”

The Washington Post’s policies and standards memo states that its journalists “must refrain from writing, tweeting or posting anything — including photographs or video — that could objectively be perceived as reflecting political, racial, sexist, religions or other bias or favoritism.”


Twitter ties 130 accounts trying to disrupt first Trump-Biden debate to Iran

Updated 01 October 2020

Twitter ties 130 accounts trying to disrupt first Trump-Biden debate to Iran

  • Says it was able to identify the threats based on information from the FBI

RIYADH: Twitter on Thursday said it has expunged more than a hundred accounts that tried to interfere with the public debate between US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Tuesday night.

"Based on intel provided by the @FBI, last night we removed approximately 130 accounts that appeared to originate in Iran. They were attempting to disrupt the public conversation during the first 2020 US Presidential Debate," the American social networking service said in a statement.

 

"We identified these accounts quickly, removed them from Twitter, and shared full details with our peers, as standard. They had very low engagement and did not make an impact on the public conversation. Our capacity and speed continue to grow, and we'll remain vigilant," it said.

"As standard, the accounts and their content will be published in full once our investigation is complete. We’re providing this notice to keep people updated in real time about our actions. We wish to thank the @FBI for their assistance," Twitter said.

Iran and China are suspected of trying to interfere in the forthcoming US election to help Biden win, while Russia is said to have continued supporting Trump.

 

Weighing in, Twitter users took sides, with some slamming Iran and others blaming the social networking site for favoring the US president.

 

"Those activities against the American people were directed by (Iranian supreme leader) Ali Khamenei who has multiple accounts on Twitter. Perhaps Khamenei shouldn't have Twitter accounts to promote his malicious activities," tweeted Sam Kermani. @CTGR8

"Iran must be a lot worse then China, Russia, lots of other country's and even a ton of organizations in the United States with not getting caught doing that sort of stuff," added @mike10dude.

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Alfredo Montanez (@Deadpool650) said Twitter should also "remove Trump's tweets when he posts fake information about voting information and Covid19 instead of just putting a label on it."

"Thank you. Would you mind banning the account of our biggest threat to democracy, Donald Trump?" chimed in Helen Armstrong (@HelenArmstrong5).