The popular social network has ties to the Chinese government
Israeli security forces disperse Palestinian protesters outside the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on April 23, 2021, amid tensions following yesterday’s clashes between Palestinians and far-right Jews. (Photo by Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images) Santi Ruiz • April 23, 2021 5:30 pm
Videos depicting anti-Semitic violence are trending on TikTok in Israel, encouraging Arab assaults on Jews amid ongoing violent protests in Jerusalem.
The videos, which show Arab teens assaulting unsuspecting Jews, have stoked violent conflicts in the Old City of Jerusalem. Tensions came to a head Thursday night as the far-right Jewish group Lehava organized a street march in protest, chanting “death to Arabs.”
TikTok began removing anti-Semitic videos Friday. The popular social media company has come under fire for censoring content critical of the Chinese Communist Party. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is a Chinese tech giant.
Fights broke out in Jerusalem earlier this week after Israeli police blocked Palestinians from congregating at Damascus Gate, a popular spot for evening prayers during Ramadan. The brawls intensified after the release of a TikTok showing Arab teens assaulting an Orthodox Jewish man on the Jerusalem light rail.
On Thursday night, the clashes between Jewish and Arab protesters roiled the Old City of Jerusalem, injuring over 100 people. Police arrested more than 50 people for throwing rocks and assaulting police. According to police, protesters on both sides set trash cans on fire. Videos showed beatings of unarmed Jews as well as police breaking up groups from Lehava with riot grenades.
This is not TikTok’s first brush with anti-Semitism. Users with symbols of Judaism in their bios report being inundated with anti-Semitic comments. In July 2020, a song mocking Holocaust victims went viral on the app, and videos with the song were viewed millions of times. TikTok eventually removed the video and reiterated its commitment to user safety.
While anti-Semitic content proliferates on the app, TikTok also frequently censors criticism of the Chinese government. Documents leaked to the