Israeli Teens Experience Online Anti-Semitism

New poll sponsored by the ADL finds that Israeli teens face more anti-Semitism online in 2014 than in previous year; Gaza war also a factor.

Cynthia Blank ,

Anti-Semitism online (illustration)
Anti-Semitism online (illustration)
Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Jewish Israeli teenagers have faced more anti-Semitism and anti-Israel expressions online in 2014 than they have in previous years, a new poll reveals. 

The poll, conducted in Hebrew by the Israeli polling company Geocartography, was sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) - an international organization based in the United States which fights against anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry. 

Five hundred Jewish Israelis between the ages of 15 and 18 participated in the survey, conducted in November and announced Tuesday. 

Fifty-one percent of respondents reported encountering "attacks"  or "hatred" on the Internet because of their Israeli nationality - up from 36% in an identical survey from 2013. 

A large majority of the teenagers - 83% - also reported seeing anti-Semitism or anti-Semitic images online in the form of "hate symbols, websites, and messages found on social and in videos and music." That is up from 69% last year. 

Sixty-one percent of the respondents noted that anti-Semitism increased significantly during Operation Protective Edge this summer, a disturbing trend that was also seen across Europe

“The more teenagers in Israel are using the Internet to connect with friends and share social updates, the more they are coming into contact with haters and bigots who want to expose them to an anti-Israel or anti-Semitic message,” ADL's national director, Abraham Foxman said in a news release issued by the organization.

ADL spokeswoman Hila Zeligman added that the survey showed a “very dramatic increase in all the data” associated with anti-Semitism.

The poll found that teens are also encountering more anti-Semitism on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. Eighty-four percent of respondents reported seeing anti-Semitism in Facebook posts and/or tweets, compared to 70% in 2013. 

In a recent and highly publicized example of such content, a Facebook page entitled "I Acknowledge Apartheid Exists" uploaded a Photoshopped image of Jewish concentration camp survivors holding pro-Palestinian posters and banners. 

The Twitter hashtag #hitlerwasright has also become a trending topic, with over 10,000 instances of use. 

However, despite the hate, Israeli teens are fighting back online. 

According to the poll, 43% of respondents have in the past reported offensive content to web administrators and 24% said they had criticized anti-Semitic comments in responses of their own. 

“Israeli teens do not feel powerless to act,” Foxman said.

A May survey conducted by the ADL measuring levels of anti-Semitism worldwide found that out of more than 53,100 adults polled across 102 countries, approximately a quarter of them "are deeply infected with anti-Semitic attitudes."