European Jewish Congress
Social media isn't doing enough to tackle anti-Semitism. Thankfully, Angela Merkel is stepping in
EJC in the Media
Social media isn't doing enough to tackle anti-Semitism. Thankfully, Angela Merkel is stepping in

Social media has made its way into almost every area of our lives, but much of it still operates outside limits that are set in the real world. Sadly our laws are insufficient to deal with online  crime - and that includes hate speech.

In Germany, Angela Merkel has responded to this danger by putting pressure on social media platforms to remove malicious posts from their web pages within 24 hours or face fines. She is the first leader to recognise that the only people who benefit from the promotion of incitement to violence and the culture of conspiracy theories are extremists, whether it’s the far-right, far-left or Isis recruiters.

Merkel’s party said they will be pushing for a new law that will require Facebook and other networks to pay “a catalogue of fines” if they fail to respond to complaints and delete malicious posts in time. If the proposal is successful, it will be the strongest regulation the networks face in any country where they operate.

Social media networks have been too slow to take action themselves. A recent EU funded survey showed that only 40 per cent of all notifications of alleged illegal online hate speech are currently reviewed under 24 hours. The same report also highlights the fact that the Jewish community is the biggest target on online hatred. It is unacceptable that today law-abiding Jews should live in fear of attack and feel compelled to flee the country they love, as they have in France in their tens of thousands.

Our governments must move fast to adapt to the changing patterns of crime. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said it has 200 people in Germany working to remove racist posts and accepts its responsibility “unconditionally”, so there is no excuse for other countries not to follow the lead set by the German Chancellor. Here in the UK, the Home Affairs Select Committee is set to explore the changing patterns of hate crime online.

Some may have us believe that tackling online hate speech restricts the right to freedom of expression. But there is a point where freedom of speech ends and incitement to violence begins, where international human rights are being trampled upon to defend organisations and individuals who spew hatred online. As Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said this week, “We have to object when a line is crossed from legitimate debate to smears and abuse. Ultimately, we have to be prepared to do that most un-British of things – we have to make a scene.”

The rapid escalation hate speech online and religiously-motivated violence we are witnessing across Europe means we must now look to European political leaders to take stronger action, using legislation if necessary, to prove they’re serious about combating this problem once and for all.

Click here to read the full article in The Independent

 

Friday, January 27, 2017
More News
Al Monitor: Will the Jewish archive return to Iraq?
The US State Department announced on September 10 that the United States would return the Iraqi Jewish archive to Iraq next year. The archive had been shipped to the United States in 2003, after American troops saved it from destruction by water leaking into the cellars of the Iraqi General Intelligence Service building in Baghdad. The archive includes tens of thousands of institutional documents, books, religious manuscripts, photographs and personal documents of Iraqi Jews.
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Life in Israel
  • First fully disabled-accessible synagogue opened in Jerusalem
    Construction of the first fully disabled-accessible synagogue in Jerusalem is about to be finished, giving disabled worshipers easy access to the compound, with comfortable seating arrangements for wheelchair-bound visitors, Braille bibles and more.

    On Wednesday, October 11, 2017 First fully disabled-accessible synagogue opened in Jerusalem
  • Survey: 60 percent of Arab Israelis have a positive view of the state
    A poll of Israeli Arabs has found that sixty percent surveyed said they had a favourable view of the state, while 37% said their view was unfavourable.

    On Wednesday, October 04, 2017 Survey: 60 percent of Arab Israelis have a positive view of the state
  • Israel's trade with Russia leaps by 25 percent
    Trade between Israel and Russia has grown this year by 25 percent, officials from both countries revealed, amid complications with other Russian trading partners.

    On Wednesday, October 04, 2017 Israel's trade with Russia leaps by 25 percent
  • Israel aims to double the number of people working in hi-tech
    The Israel Innovation Authority aims to double the number of high-tech workers in the country over the next decade, while encouraging companies in older industry to use more technology and become more innovative, the authority said in its annual report released on Sunday.

    On Wednesday, October 04, 2017 Israel aims to double the number of people working in hi-tech
  • 20,000 Gazan lulavs arrive in Israel
    A shipment of 20,000 date palm fronds were transported on Monday from the Gaza Strip to Israel where they were to be sold for use in a traditional Jewish religious ritual during the coming Sukkot holiday, the Defence Ministry said.

    On Wednesday, October 04, 2017 20,000 Gazan lulavs arrive in Israel
  • Israeli intelligence helped to thwart dozens of terror attacks around the world
    The Israeli intelligence community has shared information with other countries over the past two years that has helped thwart dozens of terror attacks about to be perpetrated by Islamists who were in contact with members of Islamic State and Middle Eastern factions identified with Al-Qaida.

    On Thursday, September 28, 2017 Israeli intelligence helped to thwart dozens of terror attacks around the world
  • IDF declares war on smoking
    IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot has approved new measures to combat smoking in the military after new data revealed smoking during army service rose by 40 percent.

    On Wednesday, September 20, 2017 IDF declares war on smoking
  • Thousands take part in race commemorating fallen Druze police officers
    Thousands of participants took part on Friday in a race to commemorate the 421 Druze fighters who fell in all of Israel's battles and terror attacks.

    On Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Thousands take part in race commemorating fallen Druze police officers
  • Tamar and Mohammed top Israel's baby name list
    The most popular baby names in Israel over the past year were Tamar for girls and Mohammad for boys, the two favourites remaining at the top of their lists for the third consecutive year, according to figures released on Sunday by the Interior Ministry.

    On Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Tamar and Mohammed top Israel's baby name list
  • Syrians express gratitude for Israeli field hospitals
    Dozens of Syrian civilians have written letters of gratitude to Israel and the IDF for establishing field hospitals on its northern border which provided, and continue to provide, medical care to numerous victims wounded in the country's ongoing violent civil war.

    On Thursday, September 14, 2017 Syrians express gratitude for Israeli field hospitals
President's Page Security and Crisis Centre by EJC European Parliament Working Group On Antisemitism