UN to battle online anti-Semitism

UN forum on global anti-Semitism outlines plan for fighting online anti-Semitism and limiting its presence in social media.

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Nitsan Keidar,

Ambassador Danon addressing the forum
Ambassador Danon addressing the forum
Israel's UN mission

A high level forum on global anti-Semitism took place in the United Nations on Wednesday.

Convened by the ambassadors of Israel, the United States, Canada and the European Union, the forum brought together leading experts from academia, NGOs, and social media companies to discuss the growing phenomenon of online anti-Semitism.

Following greetings from UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft, the ambassadors from the host missions addressed the gathering.

Professor Deborah Lipstadt gave the keynote address and senior executives from Microsoft and other social media companies contributed to the various panels.

The forum resulted from close cooperation between the organizing missions and the UN, and followed up on last year’s special General Assembly session on anti-Semitism. The participants discussed practical solutions for tracking anti-Semitic activities online and proposed solutions for battling this phenomenon by utilizing the latest technologies and industry best practices.

At the forum’s conclusion a joint plan was issued by the four missions outlining their recommendations for fighting online anti-Semitism and limiting its presence in social media.

“Twenty-first century antisemitism demands twenty-first century experts to confront this hatred,” said Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.

“We plan on implementing the recommendations presented here today and utilizing them in the fight against Palestinian incitement which includes many antisemitic elements,” Ambassador Danon continued.

In her remarks welcoming the participants, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power noted that, “When governments and leaders stand up and speak out in the face of anti-Semitism, even the hatemongers take notice. Imagine how much violence against Jews and other minorities might have been avoided it similar measures were taken in the past. Imagine all the hatred and suffering that we can prevent if we come together with such an effort like today.”

Professor Lipstadt, the forum’s keynote speakers and the subject of an upcoming film based on her battle with Holocaust denier David Irving, spoke of the connection between Holocaust denial and modern antisemitism.

“While anti-Semitism is one of the oldest forms of racism known to the world, it is constantly reinventing itself and finding new ways to spread hatred and violence against the Jewish people,” added Ambassador Danon. “We must be vigilant and ensure the international community stays focused on this important issue.”