YouTube has been accused of censoring a popular Bob Dylan song because the lyrics contain "hate speech."
"Neighborhood Bully," which was released by Dylan in 1983 in the wake of the Lebanon War and which many have interpreted as a pro-Israel anthem, was blocked from being uploaded by a user on YouTube and is unsearchable on the video site, according to an article by Tablet Mag writer Jacob Siegel.
Siegel said he tried to search the song on YouTube and noticed that it could not be found.
He later came across a Vimeo version of the song that contained a title-card that said the Russian version of the video was banned by YouTube as hate speech, Siegel wrote.
After reaching out to the video's uploader, Alexander Gendler, he was told that the video was prohibited from being uploaded on the site at least twice by the same user due to hate speech.
“A Nobel Prize laureate, Bob Dylan, and they call him a hate-speech monger. This is amazing to me,” Gendler, a Chicago book publisher who was exiled from the Soviet Union, told Siegel.
Gendler, who is active in the Jewish community in his city, said the first version of the video with Dylan's song that he tried to upload contained a Russian voiceover and was rejected by YouTube, while the second version he tried to upload included images of Jews being persecuted, anti-Jewish propaganda, and a model of a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, according to Siegel.
A spokesperson for YouTube told Fox News that imagery featuring Nazis in the accompanying user-uploaded video was the reason the video site removed the content, and not because of the song.
The site later overturned its decision to dub the video non-compliant with the hate speech policy after this report from Fox News.
"This video was removed according to our hate speech policy due to the presence of anti-Jewish imagery, not because of the song. Further review has shown that those images are displayed with appropriate context and we have overturned the decision," the spokesperson told Fox News.
However, the spokesperson added that Sony Music, which owns the copyrights to the song, blocked distribution of "Neighborhood Bully" on YouTube, making it more difficult to find on the site.
Because of the copyright issue, YouTube removes any video containing the song if it receives a valid legal notification in regards to the content, they told Fox News.
"This video and any others featuring the recording of Bob Dylan's "Neighborhood Bully" are still not available on YouTube because the copyright owner has blocked it," the spokesperson said.
Some have said that Dylan's lyrics equate Israel with an “exiled man,” who is characterized as a bully for fending off constant attacks by his neighbors.
Dylan has in the past denied that the song has anything to do with the political situation in Israel or anywhere else.
“I’m not a political songwriter," he told Rolling Stone in an interview a year after his record was released.
“‘Neighborhood Bully,’ to me, is not a political song, because if it were, it would fall into a certain political party. If you’re talkin’ about it as an Israeli political song -- in Israel alone, there’s maybe 20 political parties. I don’t know where that would fall, what party.”
YouTube has come under fire several times in recent months, as lawmakers urged YouTube to crack down on videos spreading misinformation about the 2020 elections.