What do you do when you see hate speech on your Facebook or Twitter feed? Do you calm yourself down, swallow the bitter pill and move on, or do you comment bravely and report the image/page/user/group?
For Israeli student Shay Amiran- Pugachov, fighting anti-Semitism and hate speech online has become a full-time job. Amiran Pugachov is the Program Coordinator of the national program ISCA – “Israeli Students Combating Antisemitism.” Each year, 30-40 top students from Israel’s various high-education facilities are elected to take part of this special program, where they monitor anti- Semitic behavior and discourse online, mainly on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Every day, they take time out from studying in order to make our world a little better.>
Just this year alone, this group of students took down more than 5,000 anti-Semitic Facebook pages, users and groups and helped expose and bring to the public’s eye the French comedian who invented the reverse Nazi salute ( outside of a Jewish school in Toulouse.
We can only hope that the proper measures are being taken by the authorities against anti-Semitism in the “real world,” but online we can actually take action. We have to make sure that the various social media channels constantly enforce their Community Standards, protecting minorities and private people from persecution.”
Where can we find anti- Semitism online?
“You can find anti-Semitism online in various forms. The most common is the comments (“Talkbacks”) on articles and op-eds regarding Israel on news websites: Mostly they appear on the website itself, below the article, but there are people who make their comments by sharing the story on social networks.
There are also Facebook pages and groups with a clear anti-Semitic message. Others are dedicated to anti-Israel propaganda with hidden anti- Semitic motives. They do that by presenting quotes out of context, inventing non-existing quotes by Israeli/world leaders, sharing photos of bleeding children taken in Syria and presenting them as the actions of the Israeli army in Gaza, etcetera.
We can also find anti-Semitism in “outcast” websites, Youtube channels or Facebook pages, run by extremists who use their hatred as an engine to gain more popularity. There are also politicians and public figures like British PM George Galloway, filmmaker hing about the assay’s structure was right: the right font, the right references and the right structure, but the content was far from being accurate. Therefore, we must always have presence in all online platforms that may contain ignorance and inaccuracies and shed some light there with the truth.”
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