[Fortunately, we have moved our videos over to Vimeo. https://tinyurl.com/y3fu8s89 – David Bedein]
YouTube has shut down the channel of the Center for Near East Policy (otherwise known as the Israel Resource Review) for what it claims were “repeated or severe violations of our Community Guidelines on Violence or Graphic content.”
In a letter sent last week to the center’s head, David Bedein, “the YouTube Team” said that the platform “prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner.
“We have decided to keep your account suspended,” the letter continued. “You won’t be able to access or create any other YouTube accounts.”
The letter, according to Bedein, was in response to an appeal by the organization. The YouTube channel was shut down for the first time about one week prior.
The Center for Near East Policy works to uncover corruption within the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA. The organization has produced several mini documentaries, including UNRWA in Jerusalem: Anatomy of Chaos, which examines what it describes as the “human tragedy of life in the UNRWA refugee camp of Shuafat, in the heart of Jerusalem.”
Another documentary, Terror of Return, was shot on the Gaza border in the summer of 2018, showing how “UNRWA’s right of return policy is the ideological foundation with which the next generation of children are brainwashed to believe.”
The documentaries are filmed by Arabs on site and produced by academics in Israel.
“The only real proof that UNRWA is violent is film,” Bedein told The Jerusalem Post. “We have statements by UNRWA children, but these are just statements. The films are convincing proof.”
He said he was shocked that a social media outlet would shut down a team of journalists for doing their jobs.
A spokesperson for YouTube told the Post that the video giant does not comment on specific channels and was not familiar with Bedein’s specific channel, which was not named for his organization but ran under the URL “https://www.youtube.com/davbedein2011.” Currently, when someone clicks on the channel, they receive a 404 error, a picture of a monkey and the message, “This page isn’t available. Sorry about that. Try searching for something else.”
The spokesperson shared a link to YouTube’s violent content policy, which indicated that if a channel’s content violates the policy, YouTube will remove it and send the user an email letting him or her know.
“If this is the first time you’ve posted content that violates our Community Guidelines, you’ll get a warning with no penalty to your channel,” the policy reads. “If it’s not, we’ll issue a strike against your channel. Your channel will be terminated if you receive three strikes.”
Bedein said, “There was no warning, nothing like that. It came as a total surprise.
“It was something we never expected,” he concluded.