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      Italy Approves Resolution to Combat Online Anti-Semitism

      Italy approves protocol that would allow local investigators to coordinate investigations into online anti-Semitism in other parts of the world.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 12/16/2010, 2:16 AM / Last Update: 12/16/2010, 2:12 AM

      Fiamma Nirenstein

      Italy’s Committee on Foreign Affairs unanimously approved on Tuesday a resolution that aims to counteract the spread of anti-Semitism through the Internet.

      The resolution sees the Italian government as committed to signing an additional protocol to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, a convention on crimes of racist and xenophobic nature committed through computerized systems. The protocol would allow investigators to coordinate their actions internationally when they make inquiries into offences committed online, thereby making it easier to apply abroad an existing Italian law on countering racial, ethnic and religious discriminations. The adoption of the protocol would make it possible to move beyond border limitations in investigations of online anti-Semitic incidents.

      Jewish Italian MP Fiamma Nirenstein, who serves as Vice President of Italy’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement after the resolution was passed: “I am truly pleased with this result, which is an indicator of the common goal of the Italian parliament to fight the worrying spread of online anti-Semitism, a phenomenon to which the Inquiry Committee on Anti-Semitism, which I chair, has dedicated two of its sessions.”

      Nirenstein cited a report by the Observatory on Anti-Semitism created by the Contemporary Jewish Documentation Centre (CDEC) which said that from 2007 to 2010 Italian websites “with significant anti-Jewish content” have almost doubled compared to the previous four-year period. 800 pages with anti-Jewish content were recorded in 2008, while in 2009 there were 1,200 such pages and in 2010 those numbers have continued to rise.

      “Today’s result is the outcome of careful and thorough work conducted throughout 2010 by the  Inquiry Committee on Anti-Semitism, which sees the joint participation of the Foreign Affairs and Constitutional Affairs Committees,” said Nirenstein. “Yesterday the Government confirmed in front of the Committee its will to sign the Protocol, in order to proceed with parliamentary ratification as soon as possible.”

      Italy's resolution is another part in the global fight against anti-Semitism over the internet. Last month, MPs from around the world announced their plan to fight online anti-Semitism by getting top companies involved. The plan, known as the Ottawa Protocol, would enlist companies such as YouTube, Google, and Facebook and ask them to move quickly on reports of racial hatred. The MPs plan to track their progress at an international conference in the United States next year.