WJC-JDcorps debates cyberhate and online anti-Semitism, following release of WJC report

NEW YORK - Members of the World Jewish Congress’ Jewish Diplomatic Corps (WJC-JDCorps) held a breakout session on cyberhate at the WJC’s Plenary Assembly on April 25, to coincide with the official release of the WJC-commissioned report on the topic, The Rise of Anti-Semitism on Social Media: Summary of 2016. The report, conducted via Vigo Intelligence, provides hard data and analysis of anti-Semitic hate speech on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms, defining anti-Semitism according to the definition set by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

The report found that 382,000 anti-Semitic posts were uploaded to social media in 2016, amounting to roughly one anti-Semitic post every 83 seconds. This figure includes 31,000 posts calling for violence against Jews.

While anti-Semitic posts were found on all of the major social media platforms, 63% of them appeared on Twitter. 68% of all anti-Semitic posts originated in the United States, followed by 14% in Germany, 4% in the United Kingdom, 2% in Canada, and 1.5% in France. 

Oleg Ivanov, WJC JDCorps Coordinator of North America, Latin America and Oceania and Israel Counter de-Legitimization Unit Digital Campaign Manager, presented the report on behalf of the WJC. 

The panel discussion that followed focused on cyberhate and its connection to the fight against modern-day anti-Semitism. The panel comprised JD-Corps members from around the world, who shared their local perspectives on cyberhate as a contemporary expression of anti-Semitism and offered plans for combating this alarming development. The panel was moderated by Marc Pozniak (South Africa, President of the WJC-JDCorps Steering Committee) and included Yohan Benizri (Belgium), Tal Dror (Israel), Tamara Fathi (Canada), and Rachel Steinmetz (USA).

In addition to addressing challenges facing the online Jewish community, the panel discussed the report’s findings about the nature of online antisemitism and its various manifestations across the social media spectrum.

The report details efforts begin made by social media companies and governments to address anti-Semitic cyberhate, but the findings reveal that much more needs to be done to combat hate speech online.

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