Antisemitism in Context
Reporting that leads to a greater understanding of antisemitism
When celebrities like Russell Brand and Christiane Northrup promote conspiracy theories about a global system enslaving humanity, do they just mean Jews? Given celebrities’ large fanbases, their endorsement of these conspiracies can have wider antisemitic consequences.
Antisemitic Tweets Spike Under Elon Musk
Antisemitism on Twitter has spiked by more than 100 percent since Elon Musk took over the social media platform in October 2022, according to a recently released study by CASM Technology and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD). Despite Musk pledging to eliminate hate speech, the weekly average of what the report defines as “plausibly antisemitic” tweets went from 6,204 to 12,762. A total of 325,739 “plausibly antisemitic” tweets were made between June 2022 and February 2023, with the majority following Musk’s acquisition. In order to conduct their study, analysts combined 22 published hate speech-identifying algorithms and used the master algorithm to detect “119 words, phrases, slurs and epithets related to antisemitism.” Although they offered the disclaimer that all algorithms have their limitations, the analysts claimed that their algorithm boasted a 75 percent success rate. A separate algorithm was then used to identify overarching antisemitic themes among the tweets. These themes included specific conspiracy theories about Jewish investor and philanthropist George Soros, the rapper Ye, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Carl Miller, one of the analysts whose research contributed to the study, partially credits this rise to Musk’s disbandment of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council, whose members enforced the company’s hate speech policies. However, he also credits it to Musk’s stance on free speech. Musk calls himself a “free speech absolutist” and some think this has attracted users who otherwise eschewed Twitter—3,855 new users joined and each made at least one so-called plausibly antisemitic tweet within days of Musk’s takeover.
Many openly antisemitic users, including Andrew Anglin, the editor of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, and Varg Vikernes, a neo-Nazi musician, were previously suspended from the platform. However, their accounts have been reinstated since Musk’s acquisition. When Vice reached out for comments about the sharp increase of hateful content, Twitter sent an automated response containing a poop emoji.
Poland, March 7, 2023
Poland’s National Bank announced that it will issue a special silver coin honoring Józef Kuraś, an anti-communist leader who murdered dozens of Jews in the aftermath of WWII. The “Never Again” Association, Poland’s leading anti-racist organization, condemned the National Bank’s decision and the state’s glorification of “wartime figures with established records of antisemitism.”
France, March 13, 2023
France 24, the French state-owned news network suspended four journalists after their antisemitic social media posts came to light. These posts praised Hitler, minimized the Holocaust, and glorified Hamas-affiliated terrorists.
Germany, March 14, 2023
B’nai B’rith International and the Antonio Amadeus Foundation, a German human rights organization, identified 12 annual marches in 10 European countries that glorify Nazism. The organizations issued a report on these marches and called on EU authorities to put an end to them via “ legislation, enforcement, public pressure and education.”
Turkey, March 16, 2023
Students at Uskudar American Academy, one of Istanbul’s most prestigious private schools, performed Nazi salutes at a football game against Ulus Private Jewish High School, the capital’s only Jewish day school. The American Academy issued an apology, launched an investigation of the incident and committed to take “the necessary initiatives” against the students involved.
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The American Jewish Committee (AJC)’s latest annual antisemitism survey found that 40 percent of American Jews feel less secure than they did a year ago. AJC CEO Ted Deutch discussed this and other trends identified in AJC’s recently released report “The State of Antisemitism in America 2022” and how this information can be used to combat growing antisemitism. In conversation with Moment Special Literary Contributor Robert Siegel, former host of NPR’s All Things Considered.
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