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Citing ‘Hate Speech,’ Sweden Briefly Blocks Israeli Ambassador On Twitter

(JTA) — A Swedish government agency on information apologized for blocking briefly from its account on Twitter thousands of users, including that of Israel’s ambassador in Stockholm, that it flagged as engaging in hate speech.

The Swedish Institute published the apology Tuesday on the Swedish-language edition of its website, in which it also stated that it has removed the blocks from all accounts that had been suspended earlier this week.

The block, which is the Twitter equivalent to “unfriending” someone on Facebook, prevented some 14,000 users from using the username @sweden, which is owned by the Swedish Institute, and reading its Twitter feed. It did not otherwise limit their use of the social network or the Internet.

“The Swedish Institute apologizes to those who have been blocked mistakenly,” read the statement.

The private Twitter account of Isaac Bachman, the Israeli ambassador, and his embassy’s official account were blocked

Bachman, who has used harsh language in criticizing of Sweden’s policies on Israel, took to Twitter to protest the block, which he noted was not extended to Iran and Saudi Arabia, which have laws discriminating homosexuals and women, and which fund purveyors of anti-Semitic hate speech.

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