Itongadol.- The World Zionist Organization (WZO) and the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, agreed with the main social networks to coordinate actions to limit anti-Semitism and racial content hatred in social networks, which according to the groups representing the Jewish community in the world were intensified in midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the findings OF the interim president of the World Zionist Organization, Yaakov Hagoel, and the chairman of the Knesset’s Immigration and Diaspora Committee, MK David Bitan, decided together with representatives of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to establish a team that would include representatives of the WZO and relevant government ministries to handle the rise of anti-Semitic content on the networks.
The Parliamentary Committee on Aliyah and Absorption held a meeting today at the request of World Zionist Organization Acting President Yaakov Hagoel, and the WZO’s Department for Combating Anti-Semitism which presented a proposal for a definition of anti-Semitism and rules for selectively combating those who encourage hate crimes on social networks.
Prior to the hearing of the Aliyah and Absorption Committee held this morning (Monday) at the request of World Zionist Organization Vice President Yakov Hagoel, the WZO’s Department for Combating Anti-Semitism conducted an investigation that indicates that there is a selective application of anti-Semitic discourse on the networks and that it incites hate crimes.
In the study, the Department for Combating Anti-Semitism filed 20 complaints about homophobic and anti-Muslim publications and 20 complaints about anti-Semitic postings. After a few hours, the homophobic and anti-Muslim publications were removed, but the anti-Semitic expressions were still there. In response, Facebook sent a message saying that these anti-Semitic publications «do not violate the rules of the community».
«The social networks fundamentally changed the flow of information. News and updates made interpersonal communication fast and efficient. One of the great difficulties facing all of humanity is the unbearable ease and cynical exploitation of social network users while there is little or no legal control,» the Zionist organization said in a press release.
The WZO department also noted that «for more than a decade, social networks have been a fertile platform for the intensive use of hate speech, lies, distortions of facts, boycotts and disturbing hate speech that in many cases has even led to murder and suicide.
«On the anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist side, it is too short to mention the violent anti-Semitic events that led to the murder of Jews during prayers in synagogues or community institutions after the anti-Semitic terrorist was exposed to provocative content and even shared on social networks the many followers who plan their goal of eliminating Jews,» he explained.
Social media representatives have met countless times with government officials around the world to reach agreements on regulations and tighten them to prevent speeches of sexual, religious or racial hatred.
Hagoel said: «Eight years ago we created a communication center to fight anti-Semitism in the digital media, and I must point out that there is an improvement in the networks’ attitude towards the issue, but not towards anti-Semitism. This is selective regulation. Government regulation should be part of it, urgently».
Hagoel added during an interview with the AJN Agency that «the biggest fear is that anti-Semitism will damage Jewish identity, because if you are afraid of being Jewish, then you are not Jewish».
For his part, the president of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Isaac Herzog, recently warned that the pandemic will bring a surge of anti-Semitism in the world. «For the moment, I want to put it in some proportion. It is a great challenge, but other groups are also facing the rhetoric of hate,» Herzog noted, adding that they are keeping the situation under close watch.
«However, we are seen to be upset and we assume that when the emergency situation relaxes, there will be a historical tendency to blame the Jews, also because there are areas where Jews were the first to be affected by the virus,» he said.