Online Antisemitism 2.0. "Social Antisemitism" on the "Social Web"

Dr. Andre Oboler of Zionism on the Web publishes in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:

Antisemitism 2.0 is the use of online social networking and content collaboration to share demonization, conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial, and classical antisemitic motifs with a view to creating social acceptability for such content. Either Jews in general or the Jewish state may be targeted in Antisemitism 2.0, and often the distinction between Israel and Jews is lost. Antisemitism specifically related to Israel is commonly perpetrated by making comparisons between Israel and popular paradigms of evil, the two classic cases being Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa. The comparison with the Nazis has the added antisemitic value to its perpetrators of inverting the Holocaust.

The Web and Web 2.0 are here to stay. Their influence is powerful and growing. As people begin to connect in new ways, antisemitism finds new ways of spreading. In the social web a new form of social acceptability for antisemitism is forming, an Antisemitism 2.0. This needs to be recognized, monitored, and combated. While expectations are still in flux, the wider community needs to make clear the unacceptability of antisemitism in online social engagement. The Jewish community-as the key stakeholder-needs to play a leadership role in this, not just in policy formation but also in direct engagement with the public. Now is the time to help shape the bounds of social acceptability in this new social medium.

To challenge Antisemitism 2.0, the Jewish community must begin to engage online, not as a collection of organizations but as an online community made up of individuals and organizations.

The community response needs to include the exhortation of every member to take a stand and engage online. Where volume is power, leaving a response to someone else-regardless of their expertise-is counterproductive. The community has the talent to combat antisemitism online, but only if it is recognized, trained, funded, and given a shared sense of ownership in the fight against this newest manifestation of the world's oldest hate.

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