The hashtag #TheJews was trending on Twitter on Tuesday but not for all the positive contributions Jews have made throughout history.
David Saranga, the director of the Digital Diplomacy Bureau at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the former ambassador to Romania, tweeted that #TheJews “is trending right now on Twitter and it’s filled with antisemitic conspiracies and hate speech targeting Jews around the world.”
“Unfortunately Twitter does nothing to address this problem,” Saranga said. “It reminds me of Niemöller's words which are prominently featured on a wall of the Holocaust Museum in Washington: First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.”
“Niemöller's words serve as an indictment of passivity and indifference during the Holocaust,” he added, tagging Twitter owner Elon Musk.
Twitter user Marty Lightman responded, “Something tells me Elon ain’t coming to the rescue,” pointing to Musk’s recent tweet in which he compared Jewish billionaire George Soros to Magneto, a mutant character in the Marvel Comics franchise.
“Unfortunately, I agree with you…” Saranga replied.
Other users chimed in, denouncing the prevalence of antisemitism currently on Twitter, with some stressing there is a big difference between “free speech” and “hate speech.”
User Stefan responded: “I really don’t understand why Twitter allows so much hate on this platform. We are in 2023 and we still give the permission to the haters to speak out.”
Robert Barzelay warned of the similarities between the propaganda spread on Twitter and the atmosphere before the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.
“It's how the Kristallnacht started, followed by the Holocaust. Only then there were no social media, only Nazi propaganda paper Der Stürmer and Hitler's & his cronies' fanatic speeches inciting gullible antisemites to exterminate the Jews. Nothing actually changed,” he said.
Saranga agreed with his post, noting, “Unfortunately, I agree with you.”
But “Fran at AFI” pointed out that, while some users were attacking Musk over the spread of antisemitism on the platform, which he has owned since October 2022, Twitter has long had an issue with antisemitic content.
“To be fair, Twitter never did do anything about blatant antisemitism on its platform. This is nothing new.”
In July 2022, the ADL blasted Twitter for failing to enforce its policy on antisemitic content.
An investigation by ADL’s Center for Technology and Society (CTS) discovered that Twitter failed to remove over 200 overtly antisemitic tweets accusing Jewish people of pedophilia, invoking Holocaust denial, and sharing anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, the ADL said in a statement.
"The content ADL reported to Twitter were obvious examples of antisemitism as determined by our experts and our newly created Online Hate Index antisemitism classifier,” ADL said. “We found examples of classic antisemitic tropes, such as myths of Jewish power and greed, and hate against other marginalized communities.”
The advocacy organization applauded Twitter in the July report for improving its policy on antisemitic material in recent years. But they noted that Twitter still needed to "enact its most severe consequences and remove destructive, hateful content when reported by experts from the communities most impacted by such content."