Antisemitism

Facebook’s Race and Online Hate

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Published as: Andre Oboler, Facebook’s Race and Online Hate, Jerusalem Post, 17 August 2011

It’s been over three years since the issue of Holocaust denial on Facebook was first raised. The truly amazing thing is that after countless protests, petitions, letters and meetings with experts, Facebook continues to refuse to recognise Holocaust denial as a form of hate. The social media platform continues to make a special exception and would rather spin and stonewall than fix a bad policy.

The danger today comes more from Facebook’s own position than from the content itself. The $70 billion dollar company’s refusal to recognise that Holocaust denial is a form of hate has continued despite advice and research from numerous experts. Facebook’s various justifications and efforts to redefine the issue seem to be the only thing that changes.

When the leading international experts on online antisemitism gathered in Jerusalem last month, the issue of Facebook’s policy on Holocaust Denial was one of many issues on the agenda. The Online Antisemitism Working Group meeting covered a comprehensive review of conferences and research reports on online hate from around the world. The experts examined new challenges that result from technological innovation, discussed recent incidents, and reviewed past challenges that were enumerated when the working group last met at the Global Forum to Combat Antisemitism in 2009.

The increased concern on the Facebook Holocaust denial situation resulted from a lack of progress over the past two years and growing frustration in the expert community. In 2010 it had seemed Facebook had changed their policy without publically announcing it, but in 2011 more Holocaust denial groups appeared to be making a comeback and Facebook reasserted it’s position that Holocaust denial in and of itself was not considered by the company to be hateful. In truth, many groups and pages were only removed when the media specifically named them or published photographs of them.  Experts who had met with Facebook on behalf of their own organizations had begun to feel they were going in circles. There was not much more to be said, all the arguments had been laid out before Facebook, the logical conclusion was obvious, and yet no progress was being made.

A video conference with a senior manager from Facebook was productive on a number of other issues, particularly the question of the responsibility users with special privileges should have. In the meeting Facebook requested a policy paper discussing this proposal in more depth. The Holocaust denial issue however remained an irrational sticking point that was embedded in an unwritten corporate policy. Following further discussion, the working group co-chairs, David Matas and myself, wrote to Mark Zuckerberg to explain that Holocaust denial was in and of itself hate speech and that Facebook’s exception for “historical events” led to an inconsistency in its policies. All hate speech should be treated the same, to do otherwise is to condones certain forms of hate. Not only was no reply forthcoming, even the policy paper that was sent to Facebook at their request received no acknowledgement.

Of all the issue of online hate the working group discussed, Facebook’s Holocaust Denial policy appeared to be the only one where a company was clearly saying “won’t” rather than “can’t”. Technical problems have technical solutions; the experts on the Global Forum Working Group discussed such solutions, shared knowledge and brainstormed on new approaches. When people refuse to recognise the danger of Holocaust denial, that is a human problem, and a danger to much of the fabric of human rights in modern society. It was in response to the Holocaust and the global desire to avoid a repetition of history that much of the modern human rights framework was created.

Holocaust survivors will not be with us forever, and once they are gone it will become increasingly difficult to convince people the Holocaust really happened. Denial will become more popular and more acceptable. The Nazi’s told their victims no one would believe them even if they did survive because the reality was just so implausible. If we struggle to understand the danger when the survivors themselves write to us, as they recently wrote to Facebook, then how are we as a society going to fair once they are gone?

To see Facebook ignoring the danger and denying the hateful nature of Holocaust denial is deeply concerning. To see the ethnicity of Jewish staff brought up in official statements to support the company’s assertion that it must know what it is doing, even while ignoring the warning of so many experts, is troubling. Technology however continues to change, and with the rise of Google+, Facebook may soon have real competition. Having a choice of platform will restore power to the public and may see the start of a race to retain users. When this happens it will be up to society to assert loudly and strongly that hate has no place in our online communities, and that Holocaust denial is no exception. I wonder if we are ready for that challenge?

The comprehensive report of the Online Antisemitism Working Group, including many recommendations for different sectors of society, will be published later this year. I hope by then we will be able to report that Facebook has had a change of heart.

Dr Andre Oboler is co-chair of the Online Antisemitism Working Group of the Global Forum to Combat Antisemitism. He can be contacted at feedback@oboler.com

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Facebook and Holocaust Denial

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Facebook urged to abandon its ‘exception’ for Holocaust denial

August 16, 2011

The Online Antisemitism Working Group of the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism has called on Facebook to treat Holocaust denial as incitement to hatred.  Facebook has as one of its terms of service that “You will not post content that: is hateful … “.  Facebook has however made an exception for Holocaust denial for a number of years, and now justifies the exception as consistent with its policy, adopted after it made the exception, not to “prohibit people from making statements about historical events”.

At a meeting of the Online Antisemitism Working Group in July 2011 (Jerusalem, Israel), participants held a video conference with a senior manager of Facebook. The issue of Holocaust denial, raised by the working group in 2009, was discussed. The meeting resulted in a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer of Facebook.

The letter, sent on July 12, by working group co-chairs David Matas and Andre Oboler, explained that there is no meaningful distinction between hate speech and Holocaust denial and that Facebook’s insistence on a distinction should be abandoned.  The Working Group has yet to receive a reply to this letter.  The letter is attached to this press release.

The Online Antisemitism Working Group believes the Facebook policy against hate speech should apply to all content without exception. The standard for historical events should be no different from the standard for other types of discussion. Allowing some topics, like historical events, to contain hate is equivalent to sanctioning hate and creates a serious inconsistency within Facebook’s policies. In this case the exception allows one well known form of hate speech, illegal in many countries, to be used against a particular minority group. Facebook should be asking whether the content is hateful, and if so, they should be removing it in line with their terms of service. Holocaust denial is hateful and should be removed.

The working group co-chairs have also sent Facebook, at their request, a paper on creating greater reciprocity between the power and responsibility of users in social media. The main outcome of the Working Group meeting, a comprehensive report on Online Hate, will be available later this year.

The Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism is an active and worldwide alliance of statesmen, parliamentarians, diplomats, journalists, legal experts, NGO’s and scholars.  The Online Antisemitism Working Group was established in 2009 and is Co-Chaired by David Matas and Dr Andre Oboler. David Matas is an international human rights, refugee and immigration lawyer based in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada. Dr. Andre Oboler is Director of the Community Internet Engagement Project and an expert in social media and online hate based in Melbourne, Australia.

The letter to Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg

Chief Executive Officer

Facebook

12 July 2011

The Online Antisemitism Working Group of the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism requests Facebook to change its policy about Holocaust denial.  Facebook has as one of its terms of service that “You will not post content that: is hateful … “.  Complaints about posting of Holocaust denial have led in many instances to the determination that the posting was hateful.  Nonetheless Facebook makes a distinction between Holocaust denial and incitement to hatred. In the view of the Working Group there is no meaningful distinction between the two and Facebook’s insistence on the distinction should be abandoned.

The Holocaust is one of the most comprehensively documented events of all history.  There are many perpetrators who have been accused, tried, convicted, and punished.  Their trials have left extensive records including the testimony of witnesses and filings of exhibits.  There are museums and libraries throughout the world filled with documents and artifacts of the Holocaust, including Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the Holocaust Museum in Washington, the Auschwitz Camp Museum in Poland and the Berlin Documentation Centre in Germany.  The remains of extermination camps still exist, such as Birkenau near Auschwitz and Majdanek.  There are films, memoires, TV programs all grounded in the Holocaust.  There are monuments where the victims were killed and the survivors now live, commemorating what happened.

One has to ask what Holocaust denial means, given this historical record.  When a person says that the Holocaust did not exist, given all these court cases, all the monuments and museums, all the memoires and films, that person is alleging a fraud on a massive scale.  If the Holocaust did not happen, the survivors, the museum curators, the historians, the librarians, the prosecutors, the judges and juries, the movie and TV producers, the reporters are not just confused or forgetful.  They are lying.

Holocaust denial, by its very nature, is an allegation of massive fraud.  The allegation of massive fraud is not separate from the allegation that the Holocaust never happened but, by its very nature, is implicit in it.  Some forms of Holocaust denial actually assert this fraud.  Others do not.  However, it is not necessary to say the word “fraud”; the allegation of fraud is there even where it is unspoken.

One has to ask further who would be behind such a fraud, if one accepts the fraud in the first place.  The answer of Holocaust deniers is the Jews.  Although much Holocaust evidence comes from non-Jews and much of the documentation is Nazi German documentation, information from survivors and the organized Jewish community is essential to the memory of the Holocaust.  Again, some Holocaust denial material explicitly accuses the Jewish community of perpetrating the fraud of the Holocaust.  However, even the Holocaust denial material that says nothing about Jewish fraud implies this accusation.  It is impossible to extricate Holocaust denial from this allegation of Jewish fraud, even where it is not explicit.

If we continue to follow this line of inquiry, one has to ask how such a fraud could be committed.  How could the media, the libraries, the museums, the courts be filled with information about the Holocaust, if the Holocaust never happened?  The answer deniers give or imply is Jewish control of the media, the libraries, the museums and the courts.  Holocaust denial is a mutation of the standard historical antisemitic smear that Jews control the world for their own evil interests.  Here too, some forms of Holocaust denial state this explicitly.  Even the forms of Holocaust denial that do not have this antisemitic conclusion out front have it hidden in the background.

On the descent to hatred, the largest movement a person has to make is the leap from the historical record to Holocaust denial.  Once that leap has been made, the belief in Jewish fraud is a small and inevitable step.

Finally, we have to ask, continuing to assume the fraud, why the Jewish community would carry out such a hoax.  The answer Holocaust deniers give, sometimes explicitly, but otherwise implicitly, is for sympathy, for support for Israel, for reparations.  Again, here we see Holocaust denial as a modern dress for a traditional antisemitic slur, the slur that Jews are greedy and manipulative.

It is no coincidence that the complaints against Holocaust denial on Facebook have led to many findings of violations of the term of service against posting hateful material. The Holocaust denial material that remains is also clearly hateful and of concern. Incitement to hatred against Jews is in fact part and parcel of the very nature of Holocaust denial. This has been repeatedly held by courts and international bodies. We would be happy to send details if this is of assistance to you.

We call on Facebook to abandon its insistence on treating Holocaust denial in a context free manner, in which it is considered nothing more than the rejection of a historical event. The context makes it clear that there is no meaningful distinction between Holocaust denial and incitement to hatred against Jews. To treat Holocaust denial as the only acceptable form of hate on Facebook is a far greater exception than to accept that this particular ‘denial of a historical event’ is a special case of historical revisionism that poses a particular danger to a segment of society. We ask that Facebook recognize Holocaust denial as a form of hate speech, issue a statement to this effect, and do its utmost to remove Holocaust denial from the Facebook platform.

Sincerely yours,

David Matas and Andre Oboler

Co-chairs, Online Antisemitism Working Group

The Global Forum to Combat Antisemitism

http://www.gfantisemitism.org

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The Fight against online hate

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The Australian Jewish News (Sydney Edition) reports on the completion of the first stage of CIE’s new project to combat online hate. The first stage, funded by B’nei B’rith Australia and New Zealand, involved the design of a solution for emprically monitoring online hate, particularly in social media. The solution was presented at an experts meeting of the Online Antisemitism Working Group of the Global Forum to Combat Antisemitism which took place in Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem in early July 2011. Following this meeting it was presented at B’nei B’rith events in Sydney and Melbourne. A report containing detailed information on the project was also created.

Source: Chantal Abitbol, The Fight against online hate, Australian Jewish News, 22 July 2011

Plans for Australian-designed software, which seeks to identify and disect online antisemitism, have been unveiled.

The system called Fight Against Hate is the brainchild of social media expert Andre Oboler, and forms one component of the Community Internet Engagement (CIE) project launched in Melbourne in January.

According to Oboler, its aim is to produce empirical data about the colume of online hate, focusing specifically on social-media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

Its features include allowing the public to report content to a third party, separating data from questionable content, and producing trend reports on processed data. Over the past few weeks, Oboler has criss-crossed the globe to present the first-stage design of the softwarer — first at the Global Forum to Combat Antisemitism in Israel and last weekend at B’nei B’rith events in Sydney and Melbourne.

“The response has been very positive,” Oboler told The AJN this week.

“The consensus is that this is something new and very much needed. And from the experts dealing with online hate, the view is that this is a tool that would allow them to do [much] deeper analysis, which they can’t really do at the moment. So far all we have is samples, not empirical data.

“The aim is to try and clean up social media,” Oboler said. “If we do that, we can start changing social values so that hate is again seen as not acceptable in society.”

Now all that is needed is the fundign to build it.

Oboler is trying to raise $230,000 to get it off the ground, with another $200,000 a year to cover operating costs. This is in addition to the CIE core operating budget.

“As soon as we have the funding we can start,” he said.

“What we hope is that the major donors in the Australian Jewish community are willing to step forward collectively so this solution can remain a primarily Australian initiative, covering not only antisemitism, but online hate in general. As a multicultural and innovative society, we believe it fitting that Australia is seen to take the lead in this arena.”

CIE NOTE: The CIE project has actually been operating since September 2009, not January (as indicated in this article), and its core funding is generously provided by the Pratt Foundation. The B’nei B’rith contribution provided additional capital to employ the additional staff needed for Fight Against Hate project.

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Jerusalem Report features CIE’s work combating online antisemitism

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Lawrence Rifkin, The (Sometimes) Antisocial Network, Jerusalem Report, May 9 2011

Israel and Jewish organizations are scrambling to exploit the good side of Internet 2.0, but also to minimize its potential for spreading anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiments.

NOT LONG AGO, IF THE conversation veered toward anti-Semitism on the Internet, it would focus on what seemed like an endless number of dedicated hate sites. These sites were so ubiquitous that Google, which relies on complex computer codes called algorithms to find entries that are relevant to what’s typed in its search window, would trumpet the hate site Jew Watch at the very top of its results for the word “Jew.”

The barrage of complaints that rolled in apparently made Google rethink at least some of its algorithms – so that typing the word “Jew” now brings in, high on the list of results, the following disclaimer: “If you recently used Google to search for the word “Jew,” you may have seen results that were very disturbing. We assure you that the views expressed by the sites in your results are not in any way endorsed by Google.

…Sometimes subtleties of language cause anomalies to appear that cannot be predicted.

A search for ‘Jew’ brings up one such unexpected result.”

While there is far more than just one “unexpected result” (dedicated hate sites have probably multiplied since the Google/Jew uproar was first heard), some of the hatred has been migrating to a still evolving phenomenon called Internet 2.0. A sobriquet conjured up to imply a completely new Internet – which, in a way, it is – Internet 2.0 is unlike traditional websites designed for passive use. Internet 2.0 is built around what’s called “interoperability.”

This is hi-tech-speak for user interaction, and its denizens include social networking sites like the immensely popular Facebook and video-sharing sites such as Google’s YouTube, where, according to publicists, the servers upload 35 hours worth of footage from users every minute.

INTERNET 2.0 BRINGS PEOPLE together and further democratizes an already democratic medium. It allows anyone with a computer browser and modem – and no web publishing knowledge at all – to post text, photos, audio recordings and videos on the World Wide Web, usually for free.

That’s clearly a significant upside, and to revert to an old catchphrase, it can be very good for the Jews.

On Facebook alone, one can find any number of pages devoted to things Jewish and Israeli, ranging from organizations such as Chabad, USY and Peace Now to ad hoc groups calling themselves “I Stand with Israel Today” and “I’m Not Yelling… I’m Jewish… That’s How We Talk.” And as for YouTube, who among us in the lead-up to Passover did not receive at least one e-card or e-mail linked to an impressive holiday video presentation or a hilarious rendition of an old classic somehow reworked into a modern-day iteration of Moses and the 10 plagues? Israeli officials responsible for hasbara – a Hebrew term that refers to explaining Israel’s official policies and points of view – have zeroed in on Internet 2.0. The army has its own YouTube “channel” (www.youtube.com/ user/idfnadesk) with how-to videos for soonto- be inductees – along with spy drone footage of rocket-launching crews at work in Gaza.

And Benjamin Netanyahu got in on the act in late March when he was interviewed in a live television broadcast that, because it simultaneously appeared on YouTube, allowed questions to be put verbally to the prime minister in real time from around the world.

The official Internet 2.0 face of Israel is the Foreign Ministry’s Information and Internet Department.

“Over two years ago, we noticed that more and more people are getting their information from social media and not just from websites,” department head Chaim Shacham tells The Jerusalem Report. “We don’t really have a strong sense of where the best hasbara should be, so we decided to go where most of the people are.”

The department has its own Facebook page (www.facebook.com/israelmfa), You Tube channel (www.youtube.com/israel) and Twitter account (www.twitter.com/israel), and uses them for what might be termed “proactive hasbara.”

“We view our business as branding Israel, not defending it,” Shacham says. “More and more people can identify with Israel if they can identify with the content. People using the new media usually want a burst of information and then to be drawn in. We use Internet 2.0 as a net, and then try to guide them to Internet 1.0 for a reservoir of content.”

On Facebook, the netting process begins when a client looks up a friend. The friend’s page reflects things he or she does and likes. If the friend has seen the Foreign Ministry’s Facebook page and recommends it to others, the friend will note this with the nowomnipresent “Like.” And because so much of Facebook relies on links – perhaps the World Wide Web’s most unique tool – if the friend hasn’t posted a “Like” for the ministry’s page, there’s a chance the client will link to the page of a mutual friend who has.

Once you reach the Foreign Ministry’s Facebook page you’ll see Shacham’s “burst of information,” links that take you to his “Internet 1.0,” the ministry’s dedicated website (www.mfa/gov.il). That site is jam-packed with just about everything you might want to know about Israel – or, to be more blunt, just about everything Israel would want you to know. It is, after all, about branding.

“Yes, we want people to know about issues,” he tells The Report. “But we want them to learn about them while learning about Israel with its rich history, about the innovative Israel with hi-tech success and business opportunities, and about the Israel experience, with its tourism, arts and multiculturalism.”

Of course, as with any website, the address of one’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitter page is important: the simpler and more direct, the easier it is to remember. The Foreign Ministry’s YouTube and Twitter pages once had the “MFA” suffix that its Facebook page still has, but just plain “Israel” has been the goal.

“YouTube was withholding the name and we had to go through a lengthy process to prove we were the official representative of the Israeli government,” Shacham explains. “With Twitter it was a little different. It turns out that a pornographer in Florida whose first name is Israel owned the name. We ended up paying him $5,000 for the rights.”

SO MUCH FOR THE UP – or lighter – side of Internet 2.0. Its biggest downside, on the other hand, is the ease of accessibility for purveyors of hatred and hostility. And with regard to Israel, these are not limited just to anti-Semites or Israel-bashers.

They prominently included Jews and Israelis who vent their wrath on Arabs and on each other.

The recent brouhaha over a Facebook advocacy page in Arabic titled The Third Intifada serves as an illustration. On the surface, The Third Intifada exhorted followers from the West Bank and other Arab countries to stage something of a “million-man march” right up to the border with Israel on May 15, the Gregorian date of Israel’s independence and a day the Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, or the catastrophe. However, according to critics, the page had an undertone that could be construed as incitement to hatred and even violence against both Israelis and Jews, while user comments often were much less subtle.

Jewish watchdog groups, such as the Anti- Defamation League, appealed to Facebook, which in late March, after a bit of foot dragging, removed the page. Nonetheless, it has since reappeared in several forms, in turn spawning Facebook pages such as “Against the Third Palestinian Intifada” and “Crush the Third Intifada Page.”

“New ways of using the web, such as social networking sites like Facebook and user-generated content sites such as YouTube, have led to an explosion of online bullying,” says Deborah Lauter, ADL’s director for civil rights. “Social networking sites are also used to promulgate hate and extremist content, increasing the depth and breadth of hate material that is available and which confronts nonextremist users,” she tells The Report.

Lauter says her organization works directly with “service providers such as Facebook” to confront the problem.

“Our discussions are fruitful and ongoing,” she says. “It is critical to note that the amount of material – Facebook has hundreds of millions of pages, YouTube has hours of videos uploaded every second, and Twitter has 140 million tweets per day – makes it virtually impossible for pre-posting policing of material.”

Replying to a Jerusalem Report query on the Intifada page matter, Facebook spokesman Simon Axten e-mailed the following – apparently boilerplate – response: “[W]e don’t typically take down content that speaks out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas.

However, we monitor Pages that are reported to us, and when they degrade to direct calls for violence or expressions of hate, we have and will continue to remove them.”

The spokesman referred to the specific issue as follows: “The Third Palestinian Intifada Page, while using a term that has been associated with violence in the past [referring to the term Intifada - ed], began as a call for peaceful protest. In addition, the administrators initially removed comments that promoted violence. However, once the Page gathered publicity, comments deteriorated to direct calls for violence, and eventually, the Page administrators themselves also participated in these calls. After sending several warnings to the administrators about posts that violated our policies, we removed the Page.”

ENTER ANDRE OBOLER, A SOCIAL media expert who directs the Community Internet Engagement Project at the Zionist Federation of Australia and co-chairs the working group on online anti-Semitism for the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism. Oboler holds a PhD in computer science and in 2007-2008 was a post-doctoral fellow in political science at Israel’s Bar- Ilan University.

Taking his cue from the moniker given the new interactive Internet when it began gathering speed several years ago, Oboler coined the term “anti-Semitism 2.0.”

“The difference from classic anti-Semitism,” he tells The Report, “is that it tries to put on a socially acceptable face. Success here lowers social resistance to bigotry.”

By way of example, Oboler says he is bothered less by Stormfront, an openly anti- Semitic website run by white supremacists, than he is with the ostensibly benign Facebook, which can give similar material a veneer of respectability.

“I’m not so concerned about the spread of hate among people who hate us already,” he says. “I’m far more concerned about the spread of hate material to our friends and to those we’d want to be our friends in the future.”

Beyond the veneer, he says, the issue is also in the presentation.

“Anti-Semitism 2.0 mixes 50 percent racism and 50 percent claims of why it’s not racism. It compares Israel to Nazis, but goes on to say ‘we’re not racists,’ and then offers what it calls citations, but which are not really citations,” Oboler explains.

He claims that this modus operandi is particularly striking on Wikipedia. “You see a lot of things that are referenced to faulty, misused and fictitious citations. It is an attempt to portray hatred as an academic argument, all wrapped up in a legitimate website rather than an overtly hateful site.”

An overtly hateful website, he goes on, is much easier to have removed or filtered by search engines. “But you’re not going to pull down Facebook because of the anti-Semitism it contains. So the question is, what sort of ethical stand are Facebook and YouTube, for example, going to take on enforcement against hate messages?” Facebook’s Axten offers a short and, again, stock explanation of policy.

“Facebook is highly self-regulating,” his statement reads. “We provide report links on nearly every page and encourage people to let us know when they see something they think might violate our standards. Our team of investigators reviews and takes action on reported content according to our policies.”

Paul Solomon, spokesman for YouTube in Israel, is equally succinct. “Essentially, the community is the first line of defense. We review all flagged videos quickly, and if we find that they do violate the Guidelines, we remove them.”

Yet he provides a bit of depth by explaining just how the company’s review system works: “There are three components,” Solomon wrote in response to a request from The Report.

“1) The community flags the video. Despite the rumor that flagging campaigns will remove a video, a single flag is sufficient to trigger this system. 2) Our algorithms prioritize the video in the queue. The algorithms examine things like flesh tones (for sexual content), the history of previous flags (i.e., has it been flagged and approved before?), and a few other demographic factors. 3) Our reviewers perform a manual review using our review tool.”

In reconsidering a video, YouTube looks at both content and intent.

“Consider, for example, the video of the death of [post-election demonstrator] Neda Soltan in Iran,” Solomon continues. “We have policies that prohibit shocking or graphic content.

On the face of it, a video showing a young woman bleeding to death would likely be removed if it were flagged. But we make exceptions for videos that have educational, documentary, scientific or artistic (EDSA) value, provided that it is balanced with the additional context.”

More recently, the Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which, according to its website, looks for mass incitement and demonization against Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, had a run-in with YouTube, where it maintained its own channel. Apparently, an organized flagging campaign was mounted against PMW, and YouTube, most likely having taken only a superficial look without considering the context, eventually removed enough PMW videos to justify shutting down the entire channel – which, after a short appeal process, was reopened.

The same happened to a photo presentation uploaded by Jewish settlers after the government, in a highly controversial move, released graphic and gruesome photos of the bodies of five members of the Fogel family, including a three-month-old baby, who were butchered in their West Bank settlement in March. The move, Israeli officials openly said, was intended to show the true brutality of Arab terrorism, but YouTube looked at the content and said no – although it later relented.

Facebook and YouTube seem to have divergent approaches, Oboler tells The Report.

“With YouTube it’s ‘If in doubt, remove.’With Facebook it’s, ‘If in doubt, don’t remove.’” In a report published earlier this year, Oboler illustrates that flags and even written complaints might not always be enough, even with YouTube, where a group calling itself “theytnazism” presented a “list of people we hate and we want to kill… 1. Blacks, 2. Jews, 3. Indians.”

“I reported this to YouTube in February [2010],” Oboler writes, “and on November 22 – 10 months later – [the group’s YouTube page] was still active…. I then included [a screenshot of the page] in a set of slides for a conference on anti-Semitism run by the World Zionist Organization in France… and suddenly the group was gone.”

He believes this was not coincidental, as other groups he had complained to YouTube about, but never mentioned publicly, remained online.

“It’s all good and well to tell the public to report things,” Oboler tells The Report.

“Having people flag things is far more effective than any algorithms. But what happens afterward? The problem is how you decide when you’ve crossed the bridge. The driving force that pushes these companies to do anything is public pressure. It becomes a threat in a corporate sense.”

In a forthcoming report titled “A legal model for government intervention to combat online hate,” Oboler, as part of his work with the Zionist Federation of Australia, calls on that country to broaden existing anti-hate laws to more effectively combat the growing phenomenon on the Internet.

“Governments have a responsibility to take an active role in the online world; if they don’t they cannot meet their wider obligations to the people they serve,” he writes. “The powers, rights and limitations that apply to governments and private citizens in the real world need to be reflected online.”

He also aims his words at “[t]hose advising clients in the technology sector,” warning them that they “should be aware of the potential for increased government intervention.”

Oboler tells The Report that “the use of new media technology can bring governments and communities together. It’s just a channel that can be used for good and for ill, and we have to maximize its use for good.”

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A legal model for government intervention to combat online hate

Categories: Antisemitism, Features, News Categories, Research Reports: Tags: , ,

Published as: Andre Oboler, A legal model for government intervention to combat online hate, Internet Law Bulletin 14(2), May 2011
  • Racial hate propaganda is unlawful in Australia, and this extends to non-private online communications. This may create liabilities for technology companies.
  • International discussions have highlighted the need for both national and international engagement on the problem of online racism. More active government involvement is inevitable in the future and poses a manageable risk to technology companies.
  • The Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) provides a model for technology-based remedies to unlawful acts that take place online. This could serve as a template for remedies to other types of unlawful acts, including the spread of online hate propaganda.
  • The Attorney General’s announcement of a possible extension of “safe harbour” provisions in the Copyright Act to a larger range of service providers raises the questions of similar provisions for other unlawful activity facilitated by these providers.
  • Lawyers advising clients who provide non-private online spaces should consider a range of legal developments in other areas, and should consider how similar provisions in the area of online hate may affect their clients. Engineering solutions to limit risk are possible and could be integrated into future development if considered pre-emptively.

Introduction

Online hate is the use of the internet to harass, defame, discriminate or incite against a person or group. It is a significant problem within the online world.1 Hate propaganda forms a more limited class of content: it includes content “aimed at, or with the effect of, inciting hatred or contempt for individuals or groups of individuals identifiable on the basis of personal characteristics such as race, religion, ethnicity, gender, family status, marital status, and sexual identity that have historically formed the basis of socially imposed disadvantage”. 2 Some, but not all, aspects of hate propaganda are unlawful in Australia as a result of Commonwealth and state anti-discrimination legislation.

One form of hate that is unlawful at both Commonwealth and state level is racial discrimination. The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) and the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (Vic) are examples of legislative provisions broad enough to directly tackle hate propaganda. There are, however, serious difficulties in the practical application of such laws to hate propaganda that occurs online. This is particularly true when third party platforms are involved.

This paper begins with a look at the existing law and its adaptability to meet growing demands that the government tackles online hate. It then examines the disempowerment of governments in the online world. Finally, it discusses the opportunity for companies to re-empower government and side-step the difficulties associated with policing their online spaces to prevent hate propaganda.

Online hate and the law

The internet is a powerful medium. Revolutions, enabled by online tools, have recently topped governments, and comparisons have been made to the role of mass printing in the 1848 revolutions in Europe. 3 That much power, if used for hate propaganda, presents a real threat to society.

The danger of online hate propaganda was recently recognised in the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism’s Ottawa Protocol, which called for more research, expert advice and international cooperation into online hate. 4

Within Australia, racially-based hate propaganda is unlawful. Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act makes unlawful acts that “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate”, on the basis of a person’s race. This section was applied to internet material in Jones v Toben 5 and resulted in orders for hate propaganda to be removed from the internet, as well as orders restraining republication.

The Victorian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act gives two standards of racial vilification, noting in both cases that the sections apply to “use of the internet or e-mail to publish or transmit statements or other material”. 6 This approach stands in stark contrast to efforts that address the specific nature of the online world in areas such as online copyright reform.

Government’s active engagement with the online world

Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, recently noted that copyright reform “is challenging because of the speed of technological developments” and that “legislative solutions can lag behind reality”. 7 He championed government engagement and the need to “continually examine the areas of copyright that are ripe for reform”. 8 He explained the challenge saying “governments are being asked to try to find a national solution to a global problem — and to do this without stymieing growth in new technology and market solutions that deliver content to the community”. This challenge exists in all interactions between government and the online world, including combating online hate.

In tackling digital copyright, new concepts such as the “safe harbour” provisions were created. These provisions give internet access providers a way to limit their liability for specific cases of copyright breach by taking active measures to facilitate general compliance. The measures access providers need to take are given in s 116AH of the Copyright Act. They include having a policy allowing termination of the accounts of repeat infringers, and compliance with industry codes aimed at protecting copyright material. 9 Specific requirements are made for four types of activity a provider may engage in, each requirement closely tied to the way technology is used for that activity. 10

Specific technical remedies can be written into law

The Copyright Act also provides enumerated remedies. Where the carrier acts as a conduit for information a user requested, the remedies are an order to terminate the users account, 11 or to limit access to material hosted overseas. 12 In the case of automatic caching, providing a user with storage capacity, or facilitating connections, the remedies include an order to terminate the user’s account, 13 to remove or disable access to the offending material, 14 or any other less burdensome non-monetary order necessary. 15 The Attorney-General has said that the “purpose of the scheme is to provide legal incentives for ISPs [Internet Service Providers] to cooperate with copyright owners in deterring infringement of copyright”. 16

The Attorney-General also suggested the “safe harbour” provisions be extended beyond access providers. 17 This would require the law to gain an understanding of the nature of these services, as it has done with access providers. Many of these providers will be publishers of users’ content, and laws setting standards for copyright may provide a model for handling other forms of unlawful conduct including the promotion of hate propaganda.

As the technology paradigm changes, so must the law

Access providers connect physically to the customer, so they must have a presence in Australia. Even when mediating communications within Australia, other service providers may be located entirely outside Australia. International mechanisms are needed to address issues that arise, these exist for copyright but not for the prevention of online hate propaganda. For now, as major service providers operate with such a large degree of autonomy over their online spaces, it begins to look like sovereignty, except for their care over copyright.

In reality, the rights of internet service providers are based on property and contracts law. It is their property rights over servers, networks and data storage devices, as well as intellectual property over source code, that gives technology companies authority. Participation in the virtual community is conditional on a licence to access the company’s property. The terms of this licence, literally the “terms of service”, give the company power to regulate users’ activity.

The legal concept of property refers not to objects but to the rights people have in them. 18 In the digital world, these rights, or the closest thing we have to them, are created by a company’s terms of service. These rights can be abrogated or altered by statute, but the law will need to enter the digital world and regulate the activity rather than the technology.

A foundation for further engagement

In entering the digital world, governments need to reassert their rights. The power of internet companies may be legally based on property and contracts, but “property” in a resource stops where the infringement of more basic human rights and freedoms begins”. 19 In some jurisdictions, issues over privacy are now causing governments to assert themselves. 20 In Australia, the protection of human dignity is said to provide a basis for equities intervention. 21 As the Supreme Court of New Jersey observed:

[P]roperty rights serve human values. They are recognised to that end, and are limited by it. 22

Today, private companies like Facebook seem to be able to ignore complaints from governments, 23 even over content calling for genocide and war crimes. 24 Instead, they are swayed by the media and online public opinion. 25 I have previously discussed a penalty model that could hold technology companies responsible when they fail to respond in reasonable time. 26 Another approach is for government to intervention in the online world itself. Technology companies, like Facebook, would need to provide the tools, either voluntarily or in response to legislation. Similar requirements already exist in phone systems to enable wiretaps. 27

Powers governments may request, or legislate to require, include:

  • the ability to delete public groups/pages;
  • the ability to suspend accounts; and
  • the ability to trace users and stored communications to an IP address.

In each case, this power could be limited to content controlled by users from within the country’s territory. Checks and balances, including judicial oversight, could be included. Judges could give time limited authorisation, and all activities done using the authorisation could be logged. By empowering government, technology companies may be able to side step the problems and potential liabilities of online hate.

Conclusion

The current law in Australia makes race-based hate propaganda unlawful, but does not effetely tackle the online problem. Law reform may create greater liabilities for companies, or cases may establish existing liability. The development of copyright law provides a template for more technology specific remedies, and discussions on extending “safe harbour” provisions may provide an opportunity to discuss generally new considerations and remedies to unlawful acts online.

Those advising clients in the technology sector should be aware of the potential for increased government intervention. In particular, the mechanisms of the Copyright Act and the Telecommunications (Interceptions and Access) Act may suggest possible approaches government may consider to ensuring compliance with the Racial Discrimination Act in the future. Building such capabilities into platforms now may prevent future risk and disruption from legal reform.

Governments have a responsibility to take an active role in the online world; if they don’t, they cannot meet their wider obligations to the people they serve. The powers, rights and limitations that apply to governments and private citizens in the real world need to be reflected online. The discussion over updates to the Copyright Act provides an opportunity to consider a wider picture of government involvement online.

Dr Andre Oboler,
Director, Community Internet Engagement Project
Zionist Federation of Australia.

1 Digital Journal Staff, “Online hate” (2003) Digital Journal, available at www.digitaljournal.com;

2 J Bailey, “Private regulation and public policy: towards effective restriction of Internet hate propaganda” (2003) 49 McGill Law Journal 59, fn 6, pp 63–64.

3 F Zakaria, “Why it’s different this time” (2011) Time Magazine (New York) 30–31.

4 A Oboler, “The ICCA tackles online hate” (2011) 13 Internet Law Bulletin 178.

5 Jones v Toben (2002) 71 ALD 629; (2002) EOC 93-247; [2002] FCA 1150; pp 655–656 at [113].

6 See, eg, Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (Vic), ss 7 and 24.

7 R McClelland, “Address to the Blue Sky Conference on future directions in Copyright law”, speech delivered at the Blue Sky Conference on future directions in Copyright law, Sydney, 25 February 2011.

8 See above note 8.

9 Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), s 116AH(1).

10 Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), s 116AH(1).

11 Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), s 116AG(3)(b).

12 Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), s 116AG(3)(a).

13 Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), s 116AG(4)(b).

14 Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), s 116AG(4)(a).

15 Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), s 116AG(4)(c).

16 Above note 8.

17 Above note 8.

18 R Chambers, An Introduction to Property Law in Australia, 2nd edition, Lawbook Co, 2008, p 5.

19 K Gray, “Property in thin air” (1991) 50 The Cambridge Law Journal 252, 297.

20 Letter from Jennifer Stoddart, Alex Turk, Peter Schaar, et al, to Erich Schmidt, accessed 19 April 2010, available at www.online.wsj.com.

21 Above note 21, p 226 at [43].

22 New Jersey v Shack (1971) 277 A 2d 369, 372 (NJ, 1971).

23 E Levy, “Israel tells Facebook: remove intifada page”, on Ynet News, 23 March 2011, available at www.ynetnews.com.

24 A Oboler, “Facebook and the third intifada: the aftermath”, on Jerusalem Post, 30 March 2011, available at www.blogs.jpost.com.

25 A Oboler, “The rise and fall of a Facebook hate group”, (2008) 13 First Monday, available at www.firstmonday.org.

26 A Oboler, “Time to regulate internet hate with a new approach” (2010) 13 Internet Law Bulletin 102.

27 Telecommunications (Interceptions and Access) Act (1979)(Cth), s 189.

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Mini-Grants to Create “Ripples of Change” in Jewish Life

Categories: Antisemitism: Tags: , ,

ROI Community of Young Jewish Innovators has announced the forming of a $100,000 Micro Grants Fund – to be allocated in small portions of not more than $1,000 each among its 550 members.

The idea is to empower young Jewish innovators and help them get started in their bids to impact on the Jewish world. To kick off the new campaign, ROI is rolling out a two-minute video starring “Mini Me” Verne Troyer, the diminutive Hollywood celebrity, extolling the power of micro-grants to make a mega-difference.

ROI Community provides professional development and financial support to its young innovator and activist members. Over the past five years, these members have launched hundreds of projects in more than 100 communities and in over 30 countries .

The new fund is “an innovative philanthropic tool,” explains ROI Community’s Executive Director Justin Korda, “leveraging small amounts of money at a critical time in the development of these early- to mid-career adults and their initiatives… In the coming years, our goal is to invest hundreds of $1,000 grants, creating ripples of change among one million young Jewish adults who are looking for creative entry points into Jewish life.”

Micro Grants will support ROI members in four areas:

  • Travel to and participation in conferences to help them grow professionally and/or provide important exposure for their project;
  • Training and skill building through special courses or executive coaching;
  • Event sponsorship to boost grantees at a pivotal time; and,
  • Corporate support, including such services as legal, media relations and graphic design.

The Micro Grants program is building on the success of ROI’s Speakers Bureau. “We backed members with small grants to speak at conferences they would not have otherwise been able to afford to attend,” said ROI Grants Manager No’a Gorlin. “Through these subsidies, not only did grantees gain exposure for their innovative initiatives, they were also able to impact policy, network with funders, and build new collaborations.”

For example, last November, Andre Oboler of Australia was granted a ROI Speakers Bureau grant, enabling him to attend the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism in Canada, which brought together parliamentarians and other experts from 40 countries. He is now part of an international policy working group formed there.

In August 2010, StandWithUs’ Michelle Rojas-Tal of Jerusalem keynoted at the Australia Jewish Educators Conference in Melbourne, attended by nearly 400 Jewish educators from Australia and New Zealand.  As a result, she was invited to speak at schools across Australia and is now collaborating with the Australian Zionist Federation, providing StandWithUs materials, resources, speakers and workshops both in Australia and Israel.

“These outstanding young Jewish innovators are creating Jewish communities in their own image,” said ROI Founder Lynn Schusterman. “We’re thrilled to be a part of that. I may make it possible, but they make it happen.”

ROI explains on its website that its name stands for “return on investment,” a common business term referring to the achievement of a desirable outcome through wise investment. Furthermore, ro’eh in Hebrew means shepherd, “which in our tradition has always symbolized a position of leadership.”

By Hillel Fendel

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/143077

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Dr Oboler’s report on the ICCA and online hate

Categories: Antisemitism, Features, Research Reports: Tags: ,

Published as: Andre Oboler, The ICCA tackles online hate, Internet Law Bulletin, Febuary / March 2011

Dr Andre Oboler ZIONIST FEDERATION OF AUSTRALIA

In November 2010, the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) held its second conference; parliamentarians and experts from over 40 countries attended.

The conference, held at the Canadian Parliament, was hosted in partnership with the Canadian Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. Australian involvement included Michael Danby MP, Senator Scott Ryan and four Australian experts.

The Ottawa conference ran working groups in parallel tracks for the Experts Forum and the parliamentarians. The conclusions of each pair of working groups were delivered to a combined plenum and informed the drafting of the Ottawa Protocol that was unanimously adopted by the parliamentarians.

The Online Antisemitism Working Group had a panel of five speakers. Christopher Wolf, a US technology lawyer, discussed Anwar al-Awalaki whose YouTube videos incite racial hatred and terrorism. Wolf called on the technology companies to deny their services to this virtual hate rally, as they would to a real world hate rally.

Rabbi Cooper, of Simon Wiesenthal Center, questioned the American approach of more speech in response to hate speech. He showed the link between online hate and terrorism. Marc Saltzman, a technology journalist, spoke on smart phones that allow updates on the go, with less thought. He argued we need the right combination of law, education and activism to address online hatred.

Cathy Wing, Media Awareness Network, focused on children now constantly exposed to hateful content. She expressed hope that online education against racism may have an impact. I examined the question of regulation and argued the social contract gave government an ultimate and irrevocable responsibility. The overall impression was that online hate is a fast moving field with a need for rapid access to both technical knowledge and government consideration. This was reflected in the final protocol.

The Ottawa Protocol notes that the gathered parliamentarians are “alarmed by the explosion of antisemitism and hate on the internet, a medium crucial for the promotion and protection of freedom of expression, freedom of information, and the participation of civil society”. The statement encapsulated a number of concerns expressed at the conference. Most notable was the concern that, left unregulated, the online world may be far less free than idealists believe. Racism and intimidation can dampen participation by minority groups and damage democracy.

The Ottawa Protocol commits the gathered parliamentarians to “establishing an international task force of internet specialists comprised of parliamentarians and experts to create common indicators to identify and monitor anti-Semitism and other manifestations of hate online and to develop policy recommendations for governments and international frameworks to address these problems”.

The establishment of a task force that contains both members of different parliaments and leading international experts is an opportunity. It creates a resource of international technical expertise for members of parliament and a dialogue for sharing best practise.

Most significantly, it provides a multilateral foundation from which companies can be addressed, monitored and held to account.

Dr Andre Oboler,
Director, Community Internet Engagement Project
Zionist Federation of Australia.

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Commandment 614: Learning about the Holocaust may not be fun

Categories: Antisemitism, CIE in the News, Features: Tags: , , ,

Andre Oboler, Commandment 614: Learning about the Holocaust may not be fun, Jerusalem Post Blog, 27 January 2011

Late last year reports surfaced in the media that Maxim Genis , an Israeli Jew born in Ukrainian, had cancelled the release of a computer game he spent four years building after pressure from the US based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and others.

The game, a first person shooter, put the player in the role of a member of the Sonderkommando, a member of the “special unit” (almost entirely Jewish) who worked in the crematoriums and were tasked with disposing of the bodies of those gasses by the Nazis. The first task of any new Sonderkommando unit was disposing of their predecessors, and 2 to 4 months later the same would usually happen to them. Unlike many Jews murdered in the death camps, the Sonderkommando knew exactly what lay in store for them.
On October 7th, 1944 the Sonderkommando rose up against SS. Filip Muller, a member of the Sonderkommando, described what occurred: “Chaim Neuhof, a Jew from Sosnowice, who had been a member of the Sonderkommando since 1942, approached SS Staff Sergeant Busch and after a brief exchange, yelled the password “Hurrah” and struck the SS man with a hammer.” In the uprising that followed, one of the crematoria was destroyed and a number of SS officers killed. The Sonderkommando involved, the women who supplied them with explosives, and other elements of the resistance within the camps, were all hunted down and shot, hung or gassed. Not all Jews went to the gas like lambs to the slaughter.
The Sonderkommandos are often the subject of contempt. Primo Levi called them “akin to collaborators” for their role in the Nazi killing machine. Other survivors and the Jewish establishment tend to view them negatively as well. They in turn argue they had no choice and were as much victims as any others.
Maxim Genis’s game is built on a game from 19 years ago, Wolfenstein 3D. This was the original first person shooter game, and it too took place against the Nazi. In Wolfenstein 3D the player is an American soldier trying to escape a Nazi stronghold and the aim is to kill as many Nazi as possible on the way out. Genis’s game by contrast is simply about getting out. Where Wolfenstein 3D shows a World War II without mention of the Holocaust, Genis puts the murder of Jews at the center of this story.
In an interview with Kotaku, a video game blog, an ADL spokes person said, “The Holocaust should be off-limits for video games.” They called Genis’s game “horrific and inappropriate” and “an offensive portrayal of the Holocaust”. They described it as a “crude effort to depict Jewish resistance during this painful period which should never be trivialized”. The Simon Wiesenthal Center were also critical, asking, “What happens if this is the only thing a young person gets to know about the Holocaust or a concentration camp?”
The ADL and SWC play valuable roles in Holocaust education, but they don’t have a monopoly on Holocaust remembrance. This game may be a decade too early, distressing to survivors in its glorification of the resistance effort of the Sonderkommando. It may, however, also be 19 years too late. Other aspect of WWII have long been the topic of games and it is through games that many get to know about aspects of history. The Jews have been painted out of this history, forgotten if you will. This gives rise the Rabbi Cooper’s theoretical young person who currently knows nothing. Show we tell them Jews were killed and show them the ovens? Or should eb leave them in blissful ignorance?
Used properly, games are a great way to educate. I doubt a game based on the camps would be popular… Done properly it would be far too distressing. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing? Games educating on the Holocaust (even if that is not their primary purpose) should not be automatically lumped with the neo-Nazi propaganda games the ADL and SWC usually oppose.
Maxim Genis told Heeb Magazine that the media exposure, “just killed me emotionally…I can’t eat, barely sleep, can’t work or function.” He said he put 4 years into the game, including extensive research. Then under pressure he cancelled it. Expert help to make the game truely an asset was available close by at Yad Vashem. The addition of a historical background document on the incident depicted in the game, and links to further information, would truly have made the game an asset. This episode is a loss for Holocaust education, but more significantly, it shows we have the wrong attitude and are asking the wrong questions.
Outside of the Jewish community, education on the Holocaust is poor, often limited to the fact that “many Jews and other people died”. Creating awareness in the wider population of the crematoriums, and the intentional nature of the Nazi murder machine, may be sufficient vindication for Maxim Genis’s game. To answer Rabbi Cooper’s question, if all a player learns is that there were camps and a mass murder of Jews, even that may be an improvement over total ignorance. But it doesn’t need to stop there. A link to more information means many people’s knowledge would not stop there. Given the high level of exposure to Holocaust denial online, any gains we can make are useful.
The real questions are not about games and the Holocaust. They are about historical truth, education, and remembrance. “Games”, like other forms of technology, are no more than a medium. We must use every available medium to spark discussion, educate, and stir a greater interest and understanding of the history of the Holocaust.

Dr Andre Oboler is Director of the Community Internet Engagement Project at the Zionist Federation of Australia. He is a social media expert with a focus on online hate and public diplomacy.

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JPPI report on Global Antisemitism Cites CIE’s Director

Categories: Antisemitism, Features, Research Reports: Tags: , , ,

A new JPPI report (October 12, 2010) provides a survey of prominent research on the phenomena of antisemitism around the world. In it’s discussion on online antisemitism the report refers to three articles by Dr Andre Oboler:

The report notes that “Few organizations are targeting and combating the online anti-Semitism”. It makes no mention of the Online Antisemitism Working Group of the Global Forum, nor did it note the creation of the Community Internet Engagement Project as the first mainstream group focused exclusively on Internet Antisemitism. The report was released just before the ICCA meeting which added further commitment to tackle online antisemitism.

One significant disagreement I have with the report is the suggestion, based on information from the ADL, that “anti-Semitism in cyberspace is virtually impossible to quantify, both because of the high dynamic of the medium, and because the information on the net is infinite, and it is almost impossible to reach it all”. This is clearly untrue as the implication is that search engines are also impossible. The premise would also suggest the entertainment industry should give up on efforts to prevent online piracy. As a technical premise, the argument is deeply flawed. Both the ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Center have been using this argument as smoke screen to put the problem of monitoring of online hate into the “too hard” basket.

The problem is not too hard, it just requires a new approach and a more specialized expertise. This is exactly the problem CIE was created to solve, and we are working on it. Unfortunately we don’t have even a fraction of the budget of organisations like the ADL and Simon Wiesenthal Center. Without sufficient resources progress is slower than it needs to be. In 2007 I asked Issac Hertzog (then the Minister responsible for combating antisemitism)  who was going to pay for the work that needs to be done online. Despite raising that question in the Jerusalem post in 2008, with the exception of a very small pool of donors, we are still waiting for an answer. More than hand wringing, right now what’s needed is funding.

- Andre Oboler

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