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World Jewish Congress and major Jewish organizations launch unified position on tackling antisemitism online

16 Sep 2020

Initiative comes in response to European Commission consultation

NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress, along with major Jewish organizations working with the EU institutions – American Jewish Committee Transatlantic Institute, B’nai B’rith Europe, B’nai B’rith International, CEJI, the European Jewish Congress, and the European Union of Jewish Students –have released a unified position on how the European Commission ought to address the proliferation of online antisemitism, in response to the recently released Digital Services Act. 

As the European Union looks to redefine its approach to digital governance under the motto, “A Europe fit for the Digital Age,” maintaining a safe online space, free of hate and incitement must be a key priority. 

The joint call offers 10 recommendations for the future legislation to effectively tackle antisemitic content online and demand higher accountability from online platforms and service providers. 

Among the demands formulated are a call to disincentivize profit stemming from harmful content, support for civil society actors to be effective parts of the conversation, a push for platforms to adopt the IHRA working definition of antisemitism as part of their community standards, data collection and analysis to better understand the spread of antisemitism online, and platform transparency with regard to algorithms.

“There is absolutely no room for antisemitic tropes on any platform –, digital or otherwise,” Word Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said. “Antisemitism has always been a problem, but social media has helped this age-old hate spread faster than ever before. It is critical that governments and tech companies take serious action to clamp down on this problem.  Our intention is that these ten points provide a framework to allow policy makers to properly address this serious issue.

A 2018 Fundamental Rights Agency survey on Experiences and Perceptions of Antisemitism among Jews in the EU found that 89% of respondents consider antisemitism expressed online as a problem and 80% of those experiencing antisemitic abuse have encountered it online. These worrying statistics have only been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic which has created an environment ripe with disinformation and conspiracies. 

A revised EU digital framework must tackle head on the role and responsibility of online platforms and must guarantee users’ safety. 

See the full text of the common position here

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The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.
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