Twitter said Tuesday that it was requiring anti-Semitic hate preacher and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to delete a 2018 anti-Semitic tweet that compared Jews to termites. The move came as the social media giant introduced new rules prohibiting “language that dehumanizes others on the basis of religion.”
Last year, Farrakhan – a notorious extremist with a long history of anti-Jewish rhetoric – wrote on Twitter: “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-Termite.” At the time, the social media platform said that his tweet did not violate its policies.
Explaining the new guidelines, the company said in a blogpost that “if reported, tweets that break this rule sent before today will need to be deleted but will not directly result in any account suspensions because they were Tweeted before the rule was set.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Farrakhan’s 2018 tweet was unavailable but, in accordance with the new policy, his account remained active.
In an anti-Semitic outburst in February, Farrakhan spoke in defense of the Women’s March national leadership and charged that “wicked Jews” were trying to use him to break up the movement. He praised by name the national co-chairs of the organization – Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, and Carmen Perez, who themselves have faced allegations of anti-Jewish hate.
In his speech, Farrakhan also came to the defense of freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D – Minn.). The hate preacher said that she had “nothing to apologize for,” following an anti-Semitic tweet in which Omar accused the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) of paying American politicians to be pro-Israel.
Elsewhere in his address, Farrakhan accused Jews of anti-black racism, slavery, colonialism, and dehumanization.
In November 2018, Farrakhan embarked on a “solidarity trip” to Iran. At the University of Tehran law school, he railed against Israel, praised women’s rights in Iran, and the Islamic laws mandating that they cover themselves. Following his talk, Farrakhan led the crowd in chants of the common Iranian refrains “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”