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July 7, 2020

The instagram account of a local food store in Toronto @foodbenders has been continuously posting antisemitic and pro-terrorist messages on its page in violation of Facebook’s community guidelines.

Almost every classic trope about Jewish people can be found on the instagram account, including posts about Jews controlling the media and economy, interfereing with democracy, and comparing Jews to Nazis. There is a clear resemblance between the antisemitic sterotypes promoted by Foodbenders and the list of contemporary examples of antisemitism as defined by the International Holocuast Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The IHRA definition of antisemitism and its examples were recently adopted by the Government of Canada[1].

In an attempt to provide cover the antisemitic content, the account substitutes the word “Jew” with “Zionist.” Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, seeking emancipation from oppression in their ancestral homeland – Israel. The term has no direct relation to the current politics and policies of the Israeli government. Rather, a “Zionist” means someone who believes in the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. A recent study of Jewish Canadians confirms that the overhwleming majority of Jewish Canadians are Zionists, and the term can be used to describe our community.

Foodbenders posts are dehumanizing and call for the exclusion of Jews and Israelis – a clear violation of Facebook’s Hate Speech policy[2], which prohibit attacks based on ethnicity, national origin, and religious affiliation, among others. In fact, Food benders employs one of the direct examples of antisemitism designated as Tier-1 by Facebook: using dehumanizing comparisions of Jewish people and rats (see “your facebook page is infested by Zionists” example below). Other statements include Tier-3 calls for exclusion on basis of their protected characteristic (see “Zionists not Welcome” example below).

Other posts on the food benders account express support or praise for groups, leaders, and individuals involved in terrorist activity, organized hate, murder attempts, and other organized violence or criminal activity – a clear violation of Facebook’s Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy[3]. These include calls for an “intifada”, a term used to describe armed uprisings that resulted in the death of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians. One popular post glorifies Leila Khaled, a member of a banned terrorist entity in Canada[4] who came to public attention for her role in multiple flight hijackings.

[1] https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/anti-racism-engagement/anti-racism-strategy.html#fn2

[2] https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards/hate_speech

[3] https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards/dangerous_individuals_organizations

[4] https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-en.aspx#51