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Most social media ‘anti-Semitism’ related to criticism of Israel

May 17, 2023 at 12:14 pm

In this photo illustration the logos of social media applications TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitch on September 30, 2021 [Ali Balıkçı/Anadolu Agency]

Most of the discourse on social media classified by pro-Israel and Zionist groups as “anti-Semitism” is related to criticism of Israel, the occupation state’s Diaspora Affairs Ministry has revealed. Israel’s Ynet News reported that as much as 68 per cent of all online incidents are classified by supporters of the apartheid state as the controversial category of “new anti-Semitism”.

Since its popularisation in the 1990s, the term “new anti-Semitism” has been the subject of much debate and controversy. Arguing that the term conflates criticism of Israel and the ideology of Zionism with anti-Jewish racism — which is accepted universally as prejudice, discrimination or hostility against individual Jews, Jewish communities or the Jewish religion — critics of Israel have pushed back against its adoption as a form of racism.

The controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism is the latest attempt to formalise “new anti-Semitism” as the accepted definition of anti-Jewish racism. Seven of the eleven examples cited in the IHRA definition conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Jewish racism. Despite strong opposition, the IHRA has been placed at the centre of a regulatory framework, which critics say is not only an attack on free-speech but also shields Israel from criticism and accountability for its brutal military occupation and apartheid in Palestine.

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The adoption of the IHRA definition is seen widely as one the reasons for the spike in alleged anti-Semitism, a view that’s supported by the findings revealed by Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Ministry. According to Ynet News, the ministry revealed that anti-Semitic incidents worldwide have risen by 22 per cent in 2023, compared with the first few months of last year, and that there was a 48 per cent increase in those events involving violence.

The ministry also said that so-called “new anti-Semitism” is the “demonisation and de-legitimisation” of Israel. “Only extreme pressure brings results and the new anti-Semitism is the delegitimising of Israel,” Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli is reported as saying. “We work with the foreign ministry to bring nations around the world to adopt the wider definition of anti-Semitism outlined by the IHRA, and conduct studies and launch campaigns to negate the work of anti-Israel groups.”

Commenting on Israel’s latest onslaught on the besieged Gaza Strip, which has been met with a lot of criticism, Chikli said that the apartheid state had opened a “command and control” centre to provide the international press with information. Israel already has a well-funded propaganda — hasbara — structure in place. The deadly military offensive has boosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s poll ratings, according to latest surveys.

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