On Friday, August 7, 2020, a coalition of more than 120 NGOs submitted a letter to Facebook, urging the social media company to implement a comprehensive hate speech policy on anti-Semitism that incorporates the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

Online anti-Semitism has spiked in recent years. Community standards on Facebook and other social media platforms have failed to address the growing threat. Facebook’s Director of Content Policy Stakeholder Engagement, Peter Stern, shared in a webcast last May that Facebook did not have a robust policy aimed at combatting online anti-Semitism. While he described the usefulness of the IHRA working definition, he admitted that the company did not fully embrace it.  More recently, in June, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly committed to revising the company’s policies to fight hate speech.

The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism was already adopted by the U.S. State Department and over 40 other countries. The coalition explains “the full IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism provides Facebook an effective, neutral, and nuanced tool to protect Jewish users from hate speech and imagery that incites hate and oftentimes leads to violence.”

Organizations joining this call to action include StopAntisemitism.org, Zachor Legal Institute, NGO Monitor, Honest ReportingZionist Organization for America (ZOA), Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, National Council of Young Israel, Jewish Policy Center,  RI Coalition for Israel, Haym Salomon Center, Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), Jewish War Veterans,  Israel Christian Nexus, Eagles’ Wings, Philos Project, Hasbara Fellowships and National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC).

The letter follows the findings and recommendations outlined in “The New Antisemites”, which documents how the global rise in anti-Semitism has been driven by social media. The report, presented by StopAntisemitism.org and Zachor Legal Institute last December, and endorsed by over 60 American NGOs, describes online anti-Semitism as “one of the most acute forms of anti-Semitism today.”

President of Zachor Legal Institute Marc Greendorfer said:

“Today’s anti-Semitism is particularly potent online. Our New Antisemites report demonstrates how it breeds new forms of the age-old hatred manifesting in the delegitimization campaign against Israel which is blatantly anti-Semitic according to the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism. Hate speech and hate crimes are highly correlated. Social media platforms must assume responsibility to protect users and combat this inciteful hatred. The volume and velocity at which anti-Semitism grows online require greater responsibility on behalf of the platforms that enable them to spread. There is no free pass to amplifying anti-Semitism. We’re not just fighting hate speech; we’re fighting for people’s safety.”

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About StopAntisemitism.org: StopAntisemitism.org works to hold anti-Semites accountable and to create consequences for their bigoted actions by exposing the threat that they present to all Americans and showing how their ideologies conflict with American values, morals, and principles. To learn more, please visit www.StopAntisemitism.org.
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