Anti-Semitism on the net is “like a tsunami wave,” Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee chairman MK Yoel Razbozov said during a Sunday hearing on online hate speech.
Razbozov called for countries to enact legislation restricting online hate, and warned that if Jews will not act to combat the spread of anti-Semitism online, they will eventually “find themselves in mortal danger.”
Representatives of the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, the Israeli Internet Association and the Anti-Defamation League, among other bodies, testified regarding the dangers of online hate and discussed methods of combating disinformation about Jews and Israel.
The Anti-Defamation League testified regarding its ongoing relationship with Internet hosting company GoDaddy to take down anti-Semitic websites, citing some 30 sites it said were taken down by the American company.
Facebook has also been working with the ADL, its representative said.
“Facebook is coming around, they just need time,” Ronald Eissens of the International Network Against Cyberhate added.
The World Zionist Organization established a communications center for combating hate online and is beginning two pilot courses for training Israelis to engage in this struggle, WZO Department for Countering Anti-Semitism chief Yaakov Hagoel told lawmakers.
“I don’t see us winning the battle but at least we are putting up a fight,” he said.
While combating disinformation with facts and taking anti-Semitism offline were both tactics discussed during the meeting, only the former will have any substantial impact, committee member MK Dov Lipman told The Jerusalem Post.
“I fear that we are fighting a losing battle,” he said. “I am convinced that our focus should be on getting Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and urge websites to remove anti-Semitic materials and not with setting up our own sites and pages to negate the anti-Semitism. I will present this proposal to the chairman of the committee and will push hard for this to be the government’s direction.”