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The October 7th Hamas massacre in Israel was the worst act of violence targeting the Jewish people since the Holocaust, and the nature and scope of the global wave of antisemitism it triggered are unprecedented in the post-World War II era.
Examining the aftermath of this horrific event, a report released recently by the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (ISCA) at Indiana University analyzed the pervasive use of Holocaust denial, distortion, and inversion to defame and demonize Israel and incite hatred of Jews worldwide on social media following the attack.
The study, authored by Professor Gunther Jikeli, looked at content from five major social media platforms — YouTube, X , Truth Social, Gab, and 4chan — from the month of October to determine how the search function for each responded to the term “Holocaust,” and it captured a sharp increase in Holocaust denial and distortion post-October 7th.
All of the platforms, with the exception of YouTube, produced examples of Holocaust denial when the term “Holocaust” was searched, and some top search results celebrated the October 7th atrocities as a “second Holocaust.” Such rhetoric was particularly prominent on Gab and 4chan, which are known for their popularity among far-right extremists and white supremacists.
The report highlighted one particular Gab account that commented on Israeli reports of 300 civilian casualties with the post: “5,999,700 to go until we’re onto holocaust part 2!” Also on October 7th on X, two of the top search results were instances of Holocaust inversion (a claim that Senator Bernie Sanders was “condoning another Holocaust” with his condemnation of Hamas’ actions) and Holocaust denial (the 2015 video “The Holocaust Debunked Once and For All”).
In just the first three weeks after October 7th, social media websites were inundated with instances of Holocaust inversion, with the memory of the Holocaust weaponized by those seeking to delegitimize Israel, explicitly comparing it with Nazi Germany and equating its justified acts of self-defense in the Gaza Strip with genocide.
The report noted that “Holocaust” inquiries on social media websites were increasingly leading users to posts parroting such false and disturbing narratives. The report highlighted this troubling trend, offering examples such as an October 14 X post saying “Gaza is now a concentration camp. What Israel is doing to Palestinians is a holocaust,” an October 28 X post arguing that the war in Gaza was “the greatest crime in history and the real genocide of the Holocaust,” and an October 28 Truth Social post that stated “Jews are performing a Holocaust on Palestinians.”
Similar to the need to identify and refute the denial and distortion of Hamas’ barbaric crimes of October 7th, the new ISCA report underscores the urgent impetus to also be alert for social media posts equating Israel’s current military activities in Gaza with the Holocaust.
The full ISCA report — titled “Holocaust Distortions on Social Media After 10/7: The Antisemitic Mobilization” — can be read HERE.