Explosion of Anti-Semitic Hate Speech in Europe

New report finds that online anti-Semitic hate speech in 10 European countries more than doubled during Israel-Gaza war.

Cynthia Blank,

Anti-Semites in Europe (file)
Anti-Semites in Europe (file)
Reuters

The International Network Against Cyber Hate and the Paris-based International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism released a report Wednesday documenting the explosion of online anti-Semitic hate speech generated during the summer war between Israel and Hamas. 

The two groups presented the report, which chronicles the online activity of 10 European countries, at a meeting on anti-Semitism in Berlin, organized by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). 

According to the report, Britain's Community Security Trust recorded 140 anti-Semitic remarks on social media from January to August. More than half of those comments occurred in July - during the height of Operation Protective Edge. 

In the Netherlands, the Complaints Bureau Discrimination Internet (MDI) recorded more instances of online anti-Semitic hate speech during the two-month war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, than during the entire six months preceding it. 

More than half of the 143 expression of hate speech documented by MDI in July and August contained incitements to violence against Jews. Approximately three quarters of the complaints of hate speech in that period occurred on social media sites. 

And in Austria, the Forum against Antisemitism recorded 59 anti-Semitic online incidents during the war - 21 of which included incitements to violence. This is compared to the meager 14 incidents that were recorded in the six months prior to Operation Protective Edge. 

In an unrelated poll, conducted by Warsaw University Center for Research on Prejudice, researchers concluded that more than half of Polish youth visit anti-Semitic websites that glorify Hitler and Nazism. 

The data from that poll was presented to the Polish parliament on November 5, spurring a debate about laws governing hate speech. 

Unsurprisingly, online anti-Semitic incidents corresponded with a steady increase in real-life assaults throughout the summer, LICRA and INACH wrote.

The report concluded by recommending the implementation of a submission by the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, calling for OSCE member states to adopt the "Working Definition of Anti-Semitism." 

The definition, which was enacted in 2005 by the European Union's agency for combating xenophobia, and was later dropped, includes references to the demonization of Israel.




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