The U.S. State Department classifies the Islamist groups Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations, making it illegal for Americans to provide them with “material support or resources.”
But Twitter has no problem with allowing some of their representatives to post on its site, drawing “a distinction” between their military and political wings. After all, Hamas members were elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council and Hezbollah representatives sit in the Lebanese parliament.
That doesn’t sit well with Rep. Josh Gottheimer, who represents New Jersey’s 5th District, who on Tuesday joined lawmakers of both parties in demanding Twitter kick both groups off their site by Nov. 1.
Rather than a Twitter war, they are talking about a war on Twitter.
“There is simply no reason why the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah deserve access to Twitter’s user base and platform to promote themselves as they continue to sponsor violent, radical, hate-filled extremism,” wrote Gottheimer and three other representatives, Democrat Max Rose of New York and Republicans Tom Reed of New York and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.
“Twitter is refusing to take adequate action to stop the spread of terror,” they wrote.
Gottheimer and Reed are co-chairs of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of more moderate members of both parties.
They acted after Twitter’s director of public policy and philanthropy, Carlos Monje Jr., said that groups’ politicians can use the site but not members of their militaries. He outlined the difference after Gottheimer last month asked Twitter why Hamas and Hezbollah still had accounts.
“Individuals directly representing or promoting the political factions of these organizations may use Twitter in accordance with the Twitter rules,” Monje said in a letter last month. “Accounts affiliated with the military wings, however, are permanently suspended. This is consistent with our long-standing approach towards groups designated on terror.”
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