The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement Calls for Objective and Internationally Recognized Standard to Assess Online Anti-Semitic Content
July 9, 2020
“Social media companies need clear standards for evaluating potentially anti-Semitic content on their platforms. Thankfully, a global gold-standard already exists: the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition with its detailed examples.”
As a global grassroots movement of 260,000 individuals and 250 interfaith organizations committed to fighting the world’s oldest hatred, the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM) is calling on social media companies to enforce their prohibition of content that promotes or condones violence or incites hatred.
Far too often, language on social media platforms is a threat to the safety and dignity of Jewish people around the world. A recent report from Rutgers University and the Contagion Network Research Institute documented a “Jewish conspiracy meme, which represent the largest outbreak of its kind on social media over the past several years” Whether vitriolic conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial, or demonization of the Jewish State of Israel, anti-Semitism has festered as a weed in the garden of Facebook and other social media companies for too long.
Online hatred often leads to physical harm. Jews are the target of the majority of hate crimes (56.9%) committed in the United States, as documented by the FBI. A 2019 Anti-Defamation League Audit of Antisemitic Incidents found that the 2,107 occurrences to be the highest level ever recorded. Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Database for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism documented 456 major violent antisemitic attacks worldwide in 2019. As United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has observed: “Where there is hatred of Jews, hatred of others is also near at hand.”
“Social media companies must take robust action against online anti-Semitism incitement without curbing healthy civic debate,” said CAM Executive Director Sacha Roytman Dratwa.“We need a clear and objective measure of anti-Semitism, so politics and other important social issues of the day don’t obscure the objective identification of anti-Semitic content. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition and its 11 examples is a vital tool and guideline to help social media companies at this time.”
The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement stands ready to support social media companies in clarifying and enforcing standards on anti‐Semitism. The IHRA Definition adopted by its 34 members, including the United States government, is the international gold-standard for identifying anti‐Semitism. The UN Secretary-General has stated that the IHRA Definition can “serve as a basis for law enforcement, as well as preventive policies.”
“In an era of intense social and partisan strife, social media companies can re-establish credibility and impartiality by applying clear international standards,” noted Roytman-Dratwa.“Companies should uniformly apply the IHRA definition to review content from any individual or organization across the political spectrum, with potential violations assessed by a bipartisan commission that holds all users equally accountable to the same standard.”