In the digital age, it is through online media, particularly social media, that hate speech is frequently propagated. Indeed, examining whether social media is rife with Anti-Semitic speech directly promoting violence against Jews was an imperative aspect of a detailed study, “Online Antisemitism: Meeting the Challenge”, undertaken by Australia’s Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI).
The report will be released at the 5th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism on May 12, 2015. It will be made freely available on its website ohpi.org.au after May 13, 2015.
The report analyses over 2000 unique items of online antisemitism, which were crowd-sourced using OHPI’s public online hate reporting tool FightAgainstHate.com. The items were categorised as content promoting violence against Jews, Holocaust denial, traditional antisemitism and new antisemitism (ie, Israel-related antisemitism).
The analysis found that 115 items out of the 2024 items reported, that is nearly 5 per cent, fell into the category of directly “promoting violence against Jews”. This included violence being promoted against “Israelis” or “Zionists”, as both terms are used to refer entirely or predominantly to Jews in this context of violence.
The data analysis also suggested that this category of “promoting violence against Jews” was most prevalent on Twitter. This is not surprising given that Twitter operates on anonymity and catchy and emotional hashtags.
Such an environment encourages people to become increasingly irresponsible in their expressions in the hope of being noticed. One of the vilest hashtags to go viral on Twitter during the height of the Israel-Palestine conflict last year was #HitlerWasRight. In justifying the attempted genocide of the Jewish people, it was one of the most vocal, public and direct attacks on Jews on Twitter.
In recent months, Twitter has acknowledged that the abuse and harassment on its platform needs to be addressed and is taking steps to remove such content and identifying and reporting repeated offenders.
In a similar vein, AntiSemitismWatch.com can announce that it has been under sustained hacking attack in recent weeks, with almost 160 malicious attempts in just a matter of days.
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