YouTube banned Prager University’s latest video entitled, “Born to Hate Jews.” The video feature Kasim Hafeez, a British Muslim who tells the story of how he overcame anti-Semitic indoctrination. Hafeez is now a pro-Israel activist.

Hafeez almost enlisted in a terrorist training camp before realizing the error of his ways. He explained how hatred drives many young Muslims into terrorism.

Naturally YouTube labelled the video “hate speech”. The version beneath is embedded from Facebook:

Shortly after the video was published, YouTube banned it. Previously, YouTube restricted twenty-one Prager U videos, removing restrictions from four after receiving a petition bearing more than 85,000 signatures.

According to Prager U:

YouTube, though, labeled it as “hate speech,” and removed the video from its site on Monday morning, just hours after PragerU uploaded it.

Monday’s development escalated a months-long pattern by YouTube of “restricting” PragerU videos that the media giant deems offensive and inappropriate. On Oct. 11, PragerU launched a petition to protest YouTube’s placement of 21 PragerU videos into “restricted mode”. That petition has received over 85,000 signatures, but YouTube has held steady in its censorship, and still restricts 17 PragerU videos, in addition to its ban of Monday’s video with Mr. Hafeez.

Jared Sichel, PragerU’s Communications Director, said that PragerU filed a formal complaint on Monday with both YouTube and Google, and has re-launched its petition.

“YouTube’s removal of PragerU’s video is particularly alarming. YouTube labeled the video as ‘hate speech,’ which is ironic since the video is about fighting hatred and anti-Semitism, and is presented by a Muslim,” Sichel said.

Mr. Hafeez, who is the Outreach Coordinator for Christians United for Israel, said: “It’s disturbing that a video about how I don’t hate Jews anymore is flagged as hate speech. George Orwell would blush.” YouTube’s decision to remove this video is de facto censorship, and may prevent hundreds of thousands, or millions of people from hearing its valuable message.

YouTube is a corporation and not a government entity, so their censorship is not a first amendment violation. Being the internet’s preeminent video purveyor, YouTube’s insistence on censoring speech that might offend some is more than a little bit concerning. Especially when that censorship seems to fall consistently on right-leaning entities or in this case, one man’s life story.

UPDATE:

YouTube appears to have reinstated the video. Link here. As Professor Jacobson notes, YouTube has a difficult time differentiating between racist/hate-filled videos and those that criticize racism and hate.

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