fbpx

After Experiencing Anti-Semitism, This Israeli Nonprofit Leader is Working to Fight it Online

In January, Tome Aldubi founded the nonprofit Fighting Online Antisemitism. Now it has 70 activists working in 10 languages.
[additional-authors]
May 21, 2020

Tomer Aldubi has experienced his fair share of anti-Semitism while on trips abroad — from the man at a Barcelona bar who said, “I can tell from your big nose that you’re from Israel,” to foreign friends who casually remark that he “must have tons of money, being Jewish and all.” It doesn’t matter that Aldubi is neither rich nor has a big nose.

Aldubi said he made a point of never hiding his nationality. “I’m proud to be Israeli,” he said, adding that it was a “tragedy” that Jews in some places in Europe felt they had to hide external symbols such as yarmulkes. As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, Aldubi said the Shoah, and anti-Semitism in general, influenced him from a very young age.

In January, Aldubi founded the nonprofit Fighting Online Antisemitism. FOA grew exponentially during the coronavirus pandemic, and now has 70 activists working in 10 languages monitoring websites and social media networks.

The fight against anti-Semitism is first and foremost a fight for human rights, for tolerance and acceptance of the other. It is a fight for a better future for all of us and not just for Jews.

The pandemic has given rise to the world’s oldest hatred in a new form. In its first report, FOA compiled thousands of posts linking Jews and Israel to the virus. In some instances, Jews were blamed for engineering the virus while in others, Jews were accused of being part of a conspiracy to develop a vaccine and thereby pocket billions. The report found that Facebook had the highest percentage of coronavirus-related anti-Semitic content (35%) while Twitter topped the non-coronavirus, garden-variety anti-Semitism content with 58%.

“The fight against anti-Semitism is first and foremost a fight for human rights, for tolerance and acceptance of the other. It is a fight for a better future for all of us and not just for Jews,” Aldubi said, noting that for the far-right, hatred of Jews often extends to other groups such as African Americans and gays.

FOA monitors Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and Russian social media giant, VK. But, Aldubi said, anti-Semitism is everywhere. FOA’s volunteers have unearthed anti-Semitic content on adult sites. A movie depicting a Jew with sidelocks and a yellow star was removed as soon as FOA contacted the porn site. That site’s quick response prompted Aldubi to lament that the same was not always true of the social media giants. However, he added that some networks have cooperated well with FOA’s requests to remove posts. Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, FOA has succeeded in having 55 anti-Semitic posts removed.

Nonetheless, Aldubi is hoping to get to a place where such content isn’t allowed to be posted in the first place. “The words that are written online have meaning and implications for everyone, all the time. A post calling for murder is just like a man running through the streets with a knife. Both are dangerous, but the difference is the post is too easily dismissed,” Aldubi said.

On a personal level, FOA has enabled Aldubi to foster a deeper connection with Jews in the Diaspora. “I feel connected to every Jew in the world. I know for sure that the organization’s activities directly affect my brothers in the world, and as a result, they will suffer less from anti-Semitic incidents,” he said.

FOA is seeking volunteers to combat anti-Semitism. To learn more, visit the website.

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

Print Issue: Hide No More | Mar 1, 2024

We, the Jewish people, have risen to this time in history for a moment like this. A time in which we proudly explore and publicly honor our Jewish identity. A reclamation of the word Jew. Not used as a word to denigrate. But used as a word to self-celebrate.

CyberWell Is Monitoring Online Antisemitism

Since Oct. 7, CyberWell, the first real-time database of online antisemitism, observed almost an 86% increase in online antisemitism across major social media platforms.

Moses for President

Moses begged G-d to find another person to perform the daunting task of leading the Israelites to freedom. But once he agreed to do so, he succeeded brilliantly.

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.