By Paul Miller, Originally published in the New York Observer
On Monday morning in the New York State Supreme Court, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of over 20,000 Israeli citizens seeking an injunction against social media giant Facebook for “intentionally disregarding the widespread incitement and calls for murder of Jews being posted on its web pages by Palestinians.”
The lawsuit was filed by attorneys Robert Tolchin of New York, Asher Perlin of Florida and Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of the Israel civil rights group Shurat HaDin. The lead plaintiff, Richard Lankin, age 76, was a passenger on a crowded Jerusalem bus that was attacked earlier this month by Palestinian terrorists from East Jerusalem. Armed with guns and knives, they murdered two Israelis and wounded more than 20. Mr. Lankin was shot in the head and stabbed numerous times. He remains in critical condition in a Jerusalem hospital.
UPDATE (Oct 27, 3:32 pm): The Jerusalem Post is reporting that lead plaintiff Richard Lankin died Tuesday morning from his wounds. Lankin, a former principal at Hopewell Elementary School in Glastonbury, Connecticut, was a grandfather of eight and is the third victim to die from the October 13 shooting and stabbing attack carried out by two Palestinian terrorists.
According to a statement released by Shurat Hadin:
“The plaintiffs allege that social media, particularly postings by Palestinians on Facebook, is spurring on the terrorist attacks against Israelis in the past month. As the complaint states, the plaintiffs “have been living in the crosshairs of a murderous terrorist rampage carried out by killers who attack people with knives, axes, screwdrivers, cars and Molotov cocktails for no reason other than that the attacks perceive the victims to be Jewish. Many of these murderers were motivated to commit their heinous crimes by incitement to murder they read on Facebook—demagogues and leaders exhorting their followers to “slaughter the Jews,” and offering instruction as to the best manner to do so, including even anatomical charts showing the best places to stab a human being.”
Under the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (47 USC §230), Internet-based companies have not been held responsible for third-party postings. These web-based businesses are not deemed publisher of this content and therefore have been protected from lawsuits.