Social Media Companies - COMBAT ANTISEMITISM using IHRA

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Anti-Semitism is on the rise!  

In order to fight back, an accurate and universal definition of anti-Semitism must first be accepted and implemented.

Countries throughout the world are adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which includes both the age-old hatred targeting Jews as well as the more modern venom aimed at Israel as a proxy for Jews. 

The inclusion of the newer form of anti-Semitism targeting Israel is critical for the following reasons:

  • On university campuses where anti-Semitism is so prevalent, the primary form this takes is discrimination aimed at Israel and Jews who support Israel.
  • Anti-Semitism targeting Israel rather than Jews directly is more nefarious, as it is regularly claimed that the attacks are legitimate criticisms of Israel, and often even disguised as Palestinian human rights expressions, when in reality the organized movements targeting Israel openly admit that their goal is to eliminate Israel as a Jewish nation.

What the IHRA definition does is distinguish between legitimate criticisms of Israel that are protected free speech, and expressions that cross the line into unprotected anti-Semitic hate speech. Adoption and implementation of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is as legitimate an anti-discrimination measure as the use of similar laws and regulations that prohibit other forms of discrimination, including LGBTQ and gender discrimination.

In the United States, the State Department has adopted the IHRA definition, and the recent Executive Order Combating Anti-Semitism instructs the Department of Education to consider IHRA when evaluating Title VI Civil Rights Act complaints of discrimination against federally funded academic institutions and programs. 

What is critically missing is acceptance and enforcement in the online and technology sectors, where anti-Semitism is today most prevalent and spreads quickest.  For instance, we at Zachor Legal Institute referenced in our report The New Anti-Semites an ADL study that “reported 4.2 million antisemitic tweets on Twitter in 2017 alone.  This means that over the course of the study, throughout 2017, an average of 81,400 antisemitic tweets were generated per week.”.

The largest social media and other technology companies all have regulations against hate content.  However, even a quick look at comments published on any of these leading platforms indicates the abundance of current anti-Semitic material according to the IHRA working definition. Those who support anti-Semitism argue that a movement to eliminate the only Jewish nation in existence is simply political speech, but there is no way to deny that the calls for the destruction of a nation and the disenfranchisement of its people are squarely within existing policies that prohibit hate conduct.  

We are petitioning the major social media companies to stand up and take a leading role in combating online anti-Semitism by joining countries throughout the world in adopting the IHRA working definition as their standard for identifying anti-Semitism as expressions that violate their existing hate content restrictions, and then actively enforcing throughout their online platforms. 

Let's work together to stop the viral spreading of anti-Semitism on social media by making our voices heard.