While I may not like criticism when it is based on propaganda and is historically or otherwise inaccurate I nevertheless would not describe it as hate speech. Criticism of actions and policies and ideology is not hate speech and in a free society, criticism is to be encouraged as is an open debate about issues.
Fairfax journalist Pattrick Smellie wrote an opinion piece that can only be described as fake news which attracted not just criticism of Israel but actual vicious anti-Semitism.
Social media, for all its benefits, has allowed all kinds of lies and conspiracy theories to be circulated unchecked. It is therefore not surprising that anti-Semitism, which attracts lies and conspiracy theories like moths to a flame, has flourished in this forum. A false news story published in New Zealand last week has brought some classic anti-Semitism (and new anti-Semitism) to the fore on Facebook.
Fairfax journalist, Pattrick Smellie, claimed that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had declared war on NZ in a piece entitled “How Israel could wage ‘war’ on New Zealand”. Smellie’s false claim had previously been debunked by Fran O’Sullivan in the NZ Herald. Smellie’s article has since been partially edited in line with the facts. Evidently, an unnamed diplomat reportedly told Israeli media that Netanyahu had told New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, that
“If you continue to promote this resolution from our point of view it will be a declaration of war. It will rupture the relations and there will be consequences. We’ll recall our ambassador to Jerusalem.”
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