witter announced on Wednesday that it would not be suspending Louis Farrakhan — the viciously antisemitic leader of the Nation of Islam (NoI) — over a tweet in which he compared Jews to “termites.”
Responding to a media inquiry from BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for the messaging site said that Farrakhan’s account would remain active despite a tweet on Tuesday in which the NoI chief stated, “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-termite.” The tweet linked to a speech delivered by Farrakhan last Sunday in Detroit in which he derided “members of the Jewish community who hate me” for contributing to his fame.
Farrakhan continued: “I can go anywhere in the world and they’ve heard of Farrakhan…I’m not mad at you, because you’re so stupid.” Later on, he declared of his Jewish adversaries, “when they talk about Farrakhan, call me a hater, call me anti-Semite…I’m anti-Termite. I don’t know nothing about hating somebody because of their religious preference.”
Several observers pointed out Farrakhan’s tweet repeating the termite comparison was a violation of Twitter’s new policy against “dehumanizing” language, which frowns on postings that compare “groups to animals and viruses.” Modern antisemitic rhetoric has been replete with examples of both, with Jews variously compared to “vermin” and “rodents,” and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler describing them as “race- tuberculosis” in one of his earliest published statements.