• April 14, 2024

After Ant-Semitic Trope About Israel, Velshi Laments Musk’s Idea of Free Speech

MSNBC’s Ali Velshi better hope than Elon Musk is as committed to free speech as he says he is because in the first hour of his Saturday show, Velshi repeated an anti-Semitic trope about Israel before lamenting Musk’s idea of free speech in the second hour.

Velshi was going through some of the recent history of wars of aggression to make the point that Russia’s war on Ukraine is nothing new. Still, the world’s number one bad guy in this respect is not Vladimir Putin, but Israel, “Which brings us, arguably, to the leading occupying force in the world: Israel. The map of the Palestinian Authority sometimes described
as, Swiss cheese, has been carved up by Israel over the past century.”

 

 

Velshi claimed, “The state of Israel has forced the annexation of several Arab territories. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the Six Day War in 1967 and it remains occupied by Israel to this day, but occupation is just a step towards annexation.”

1967 was only 55 years ago, so if Velshi chose his words carefully, he just claimed that Israel’s very existence make it’s an occupying power. No other is talked about in such terms and such double standards are widely agreed to be anti-Semitic. Even if Velshi just chose his words poorly, he is still guilty of bad history.

As he continued, Velshi attacked the Biden Administration from left, “Israel actually did an annex two-thirds of the Golan Heights from Syria during the Six Day War, passing a law extending Israeli law, jurisdiction, and administration to the area and America also under the former president, finally recognize that illegal annexation in 2019 as a gift to the then-Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who was struggling politically. In a massive political failure, the Biden administration has not rolled that the recognition.”

 

 

About 90 minutes later, Velshi was discussing Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter against a chyron that read, “Relaxing Content Rules on Twitter Could Imperil Democracy” when he told early Facebook and Google investor Roger McNamee, “Twitter does not have a First Amendment problem… Elon Musk has hung his hat on something else here and—and– I think you think it is the wrong thing.”

McNamee lamented the presence of hate speech on the platform:

And yet, because that is where politicians are, because that is where journalists are, it gets much, much more attention. The problem, also, is that—that– Twitter has a business model that, like YouTube, like Facebook, and Instagram, is based on amplifying the content that grabs our attention and sadly, the stuff that does best is has hate speech, disinformation, conspiracy theories and when you amplify that stuff it does precisely what Sinan just described and the key thing to understand here is the way that Twitter works is that, that harmful speech crowds everything else and it does great harm to these communities that Sinan just described.

Speaking, of hate speech, disinformation, and journalists of Twitter, Velshi should be thankful for Musk’s vision of free speech because otherwise he could find himself in some real trouble. 

This segment was sponsored by Progressive.

Here is a transcript for the April 30 show:

MSNBC Velshi

4/30/2022

8:23 AM ET

ALI VELSHI: Which brings us, arguably, to the leading occupying force in the world: Israel. The map of the Palestinian Authority sometimes described
as, Swiss cheese, has been carved up by Israel over the past century. The state of Israel has forced the annexation of several Arab territories. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the Six Day War in 1967 and it remains occupied by Israel to this day, but occupation is just a step toward annexation. 

Israel actually did an annex two-thirds of the Golan Heights from Syria during the Six Day War, passing a law extending Israeli law, jurisdiction, and administration to the area and America also under the former president, finally recognize that illegal annexation in 2019 as a gift to the then-Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who was struggling politically. In a massive political failure, the Biden administration has not rolled that the recognition. 

The West Bank has also been occupied by Israel since 1967. Israel and the Palestinians both assert rights in the West Bank, Leaving its status unresolved. Israel claims historical and religious rights, as the ancestral land of the Jewish people. Hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers now live on illegally occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank. Palestinian families are constantly kicked out of their homes to make room for more Israeli settlements. Often, under false pretenses and legal justifications. The vast majority of the international community considers those settlements illegal.

Israel’s plan to formally annex portions of the West Bank have been hold since the start of the pandemic and the ushering in a new Israeli government. 

9:53

VELSHI: Roger, you talk about this all the time and in fact, the people who—who– put it in the free speech context are muddying the water here. Twitter does not have a First Amendment problem. No one has told Twitter to do anything. Although, in Europe they are starting to come up with regulation that is—is– causing social media companies to have to moderate some of their content, but that’s not what—what– Elon Musk has hung his hat on something else here and—and– I think you think it is the wrong thing. 

ROGER MCNAMEE: Yes, Ali, I think the fundamental problem here is that Twitter is the place where politicians and journalists, build their brands and spread their messages. So, it has a disproportionate, it punches way above its weight. It is less than a tenth the size, from a user point of view, of Facebook or Google. 

And yet, because that is where politicians are, because that is where journalists are, it gets much, much more attention. The problem, also, is that—that– Twitter has a business model that, like YouTube, like Facebook, and Instagram, is based on amplifying the content that grabs our attention and sadly, the stuff that does best is has hate speech, disinformation, conspiracy theories and when you amplify that stuff it does precisely what Sinan just described and the key thing to understand here is the way that Twitter works is that, that harmful speech crowds everything else and it does great harm to these communities that Sinan just described.

And what’s really unbelievable is they have never been able to make much money doing this. And so, the big excitement is that maybe Elon Musk is going to make Twitter more successful at what it does, but if it doesn’t get rid of algorithmic amplification, if it doesn’t actually become a real place where voices are treated equally then I think the whole thing is, as you say, another step down the road to destroying democracy.

 

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