Twitter bubble expressing hate speech

The authors of the report conclude that anti-Semitism is a widespread problem and that Twitter has become a “megaphone to harass and intimidate Jews.”


Social media has created a world more connected than ever before, allowing people to easily communicate with each other at the push of a button. But this technology has an ugly side, too.

Twitter, which holds a reputation for being a particular toxic platform, allows users to volley hateful rhetoric back and forth from behind their phone screens. But some groups are targeted more often that others. According to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group, Jews are on the receiving end of a surprising amount of hateful messages on Twitter.

A Wave of Hate

The ADL estimates that over 3 million Twitter users posted roughly 4.2 million anti-Semitic tweets between February 2017 and 2018. The findings were based on a sample of 55,000 tweets written in English – each combed using a complex method of analysis to determine whether they included or contributed to negative stereotypes and conspiracy theories about Jews.

The ADL report suggests that the social media platform has been co-opted as a tool to spread anti-Semitism – both in the U.S. and around the world. In their words, Twitter has become a “megaphone to harass and intimidate Jews.”

Twitter Responds

Twitter defended itself in the wake of the report, pointing to over 30 changes it initiated on its platform over the past 16 months to protect all users from abuse and the spread of hateful images. “We are an open platform and hold a mirror up to human behaviors, both the good and the bad,” the company stated. “Everyone has a part to play in building a more compassionate and empathetic society, including Twitter.”

Jewish StarBigger Than Social Media?

Although this response was encouraging to some, ADL national director Jonathan Greenblatt thinks the problem extends far beyond social media. He contends that the Twitter findings are symptomatic of increasingly hostile attitudes toward Jews across society, which he blames on emboldened extremists and the “divisive state of our national discourse.”

And the data back up his claims.

Reported incidents of anti-Semitism in the U.S. spiked in 2017, reaching numbers not seen in decades. FBI reports from 2016 show that Jews were targeted in over 50 percent of all religious hate crimes (more than twice as much as Muslims), despite making up only 2 percent of the U.S. population. According to FBI officials, Jews are “consistently among the top three most targeted groups” in America’s largest cities.

Also concerning: a recent study discovered Americans are astoundingly ignorant about the Holocaust. The history of Jewish persecution – once common knowledge – is no longer so.

Bigotry Revealed

Interestingly, the ADL report discovered eruptions of online anti-Semitism in the wake of certain news events, including a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville back in August 2017 and the October New York Times story on sexual assault allegations against Jewish movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

In another example, when former White House press secretary Sean Spicer remarked that Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” Holocaust-deniers eagerly jumped on Twitter and used Spicer’s comments to promote the idea that Nazi gas chambers were “fake news.”

It’s important to note that these sentiments are not relegated to the dark corners of the internet. Increasingly, anti-Semitism is seeping into the mainstream. If you follow us on Facebook, you might remember a story about a Washington D.C. city councilman who accused Jews of controlling the weather:

Promoting Tolerance and Acceptance

Despite what might seem like a bleak outlook, there are reasons to be optimistic. Councilman Trayon White apologized for his comments and met with numerous Jewish community members in an attempt to reform his views.

More recently, a Facebook user named Quai James posted a video mocking the haircut of a young Hasidic Jewish boy. The video quickly went viral and received widespread condemnation from Jewish organizations around the globe. But to his credit, James owned up to his disgraceful actions in a heartfelt apology video posted to Twitter earlier this week:

 

Share your reactions in the comments below.

 

43 comments

  1. Susan says:

    I have asked for my entire life, why the Jews?

    1. Bill Fox says:

      The Jews claim to be God’s People, which makes them a target of hate.

      1. Maureen Tighe-Brown says:

        So do christians make that claim. What’s the difference?!

        1. Professor says:

          The difference is that the Jews will kill you if you deny it.

          1. Susan says:

            What???

    2. Professor says:

      First of all, Jew is not a race of people, it is a belief in the Talmud which Jesus said was the religion of Satan. People hate Jews because of what they do, not because of what they believe. They are not a persecuted people. They are a hated people because of what they do. They are not even Semites. They are liars like their father. He was a liar from the beginning. He will deceive the world, even the very elect.

  2. James says:

    I know it’s cliche, but what is with all the victim stuff. I mean you want to be a victim attack people that caused others pain attack others that their grand parents did something 100 years ago, 1000,50,and it still isn’t the person that is here today’s fault. It all comes from the victimization of people. Not the strong, the preserved, the persecuted, the one that over comes and is the song example of what trials build! Why aren’t we building stronger people rather than coddling them and telling them it will be OK? It’s only ok when you stand up for yourself and become free of others.

    1. someoneelsehasmyusername says:

      What’s with all the victim stuff? When Anti-Semitism is on the rise world wide? When Jews make up 2% of the US population yet are subject to a lion’s share of hate crimes (twice as much as US Muslims)? The horse-blinder wearing BDSers? The fact that Jews are subject to generational hate and systemic conspiracy theories? Stand up for yourself? Israel does and gets international condemnation.
      I know it’s cliche, but get out of your comfortable little bubble and open your eyes. Also, grammar. Work on your grammar.

      1. James Merrill says:

        Not nearly enough for all the sleazy things they do as a government, Israel. That is a part of the issue. You can’t separate the politics from the religion. If you condem Israel you condem Jews as a whole. It isn’t fair to those that have legitimate criticism of Israel. I have no issues with anyone of the Jewish faith. I have a lot of issues for their government. So to speak is being a religious bigot, to stay silent is tacit acceptance of politically questionable behavior. I will speak up at every opportunity and accept I will be misunderstood.

  3. John Owens says:

    I’m glad someone is noticing. Since a large part of our own society is pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel, and the Palestinians are anti-Jew, I figured a large part of our society is anti-Jew. (I don’t like saying anti-Semitic because many people besides those with DNA from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi are also Semitic, including many other middle-eastern people like Iraqis, Persians, and Arabs.) I don’t remember where, but I read that a great many Palestinians actually have Jewish DNA because previous generations of Jews converted to Islam to avoid Muslim persecution or decapitation.

    Very few of us really know all the details about our genealogy more than a couple generations back, and if we hate based on DNA, we might be hating on ourselves. Isn’t it suspected that Hitler had some Jewish ancestry? Who knows if there might be a Jew behind the woodpile somewhere back in Louis Farrakhan’s ancestry?

    What European or American Jew has harmed any Muslims, or white people, or black people, or Hispanic or Asian people? Yeah, there have been some mean, dirty, cruel Jews, as there have been some mean, dirty, cruel people in every other group. People talk about the JEWS as though they are involved in an evil plot against humanity, which is patently ridiculous. That is like blaming all white people for the actions of the Belgians under King Leopold II in the Congo, or all modern Japanese for the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or all modern Germans and Austrians for WW2.

    Aren’t Ashkenazi Jews reckoned to be the people with the highest average IQ? If so, I think we should be nurturing and cultivating them, rather than ridiculing or persecuting them.

    Yes, the male Hasidim wear their hair differently, but that is not a reason to make fun of a child in a public forum.

    1. Carl Elfstrom says:

      I thought Judaism was just another religion. Although it started out in Israel there are a lot of Jewish people all over the world who don’t have Israeli roots, and not everyone from Israel is Jewish. The majority of them might belong to other religions. It seems like wer’e too quick to assume that Israelis are Jewish, and vice versa. Don’t forget about Sammy Davis Jr.. And Catholicism came from Rome, but what percentage of Roman Catholics do you think are Romans, or even have Italian ancestors ?

      1. Maureen Tighe-Brown says:

        Religion (2016)

        74.7% Jewish17.7% Muslim2.0% 
        Christian1.6% Druze4.0% other[6]
        Source: Wikipedia. Israel was founded as a Jewish state.

        1. Professor says:

          Right. This is why Truman redacted the word Jewish when he recognized Israel as a State. He was also paid very well to recognize Israel.

    2. Robert wilbur says:

      Twitter trashing Jews suck.the bible declares rHesus blesses those who bless the Jews and curse those who curse the Jews

      1. Professor says:

        John Hagee does not study the Bible and nether do you.

  4. Anthony Marra says:

    I just want to say that the deal with Iran can only fail if the treaty is broken by the other party! The Quran forbids a Muslim community from braking any agreement!
    I have studied the Quran extensively and Allah forbids this for any Muslim!

    1. janice Ellery says:

      If all Muslims truly followed the Quran. the world would be a much less violent place.The radicals interpret scripture the way they want with no regard for the truth. The same with Jewish hating people who claim to be Christian.. Christianity is part two of God’s plan. Anyone who disrespects the Hebrew people are in effect also thrashing God.

      1. Carl Elfstrom says:

        I’ve never been able to understand why anyone would be prejudiced against Jewish people. Of course, I’m not a prejudiced person. I don’t like certain individuals, but it has nothing to do with their beliefs or what kind of person they happen to be. I’ve had Jewish friends since I was eight years old. One of my best landlords was Jewish. The other best landlord I’ve had is the one I have now, and he’s from Iran. I’ve been in the same apartment for seven and a half years, and he hasn’t raised my rent yet, and has said he never will. I’m also good friends with him, but don’t share any of those peoples beliefs. I’m sure there have been people who were prejudiced against all kinds of people, and there’s no chance of it ever stopping. How could all such stupid, hateful people quit existing ? There’s not a chance of it. It seems to me that the best thing we can do is accept it and do our best to avoid such people. And when we hear such people voicing their hate against someone, those of us who are able to must come to the defense of the victim. At least three million does’nt seem like much compared with 300 million Americans. And most of them are just loud mouths on twitter. Loud mouths are usually only that, so I wouldn’t worry about it. I’ve never posted anything on twitter or even Facebook. The closest thing I ever come to social media is this blog. That’s why I always have a lot of wonderful things to say.

        1. John A Anderson, CD says:

          Part of it, goes all the way back to the treatment of Yeshua, an Essene Jew, by the Jewish establishment at the time (non-Essene Pharisees), approximately 2000 years ago. Add to that the institutionalized anti-Jewish feelings of the Roman Empire after the Jews rebelled in AD 70, which carried over into the Catholic Church after it was centered in Rome. The Catholic Church inherited the territory of the Empire as its territory after the defeat and fall in 476.
          Another part is the result of the tendency to do business and marry endogamously within the faith, resulting in land and money concentrating in the Jewish community, and not spreading out into the surrounding community.
          Combine these with the fact that people learn how to hate at HOME, at their parent’s knees, and understanding the SOURCE of the prejudicial behavior becomes easy. Understanding why it still shows today, and spreads to those who are different in other ways, with people in positions of power doing it, well that is considerably more difficult.

      2. Professor says:

        Good thing the Jews are not the Hebrew people.

    2. Carl Elfstrom says:

      I don’t think it’s a party but only Donald Trump they have to worry about. He’s a turncoat who used to be a Democrat, but now claims to be a Reblican, even though he doesn’t act much like one. I bet he’s got Frank Sinatra’s song I Did It My Way memorized.

      1. John Owens says:

        Carl, what has Donald Trump to do with anti-Jewish tweets? Really. I don’t get where you are going with that.

        1. Carl Elfstrom says:

          I was referring to Marra’s comment about the deal with Iran, even though that comment had nothing to do with the issue at hand, and should have been ignored. Thankyou for bringing that to my attention, sir.

          1. John Owens says:

            Ah. I think Marra is overestimating the fidelity of Muslims to the Quran.

      2. Robert wilbur says:

        The best President yet..a true republican, not a traitor..most mad at Our great president is scared he will stop allowing able bodied to continue on the liberal social programs that continue giving America away and keeping it broke.

        It beats the past 2 worse presidents..

        1. someoneelsehasmyusername says:

          This is HILARIOUS. Even your writing has a Russian accent!

  5. Jim says:

    It is sad but true. We will always have people who think ill of others based on religion, skin color etc. We live in a now society, everything happens and is posted now. no waiting for the 6 o’clock news. I’m afraid we all need to grow a little thicker skin because sometimes the comments made are just a joke but people are offended over the bad joke. This will continue for some time to come.

    1. Carl Elfstrom says:

      At least until the human population is replaced by robots.

  6. Tom says:

    It is sad that the insecurities of people drive them to be racist, sexist, anti-semitic, and anti any other group of people…what is strange is that these people do not acknowledge they have no understanding of, or belief in, Christ…Tom

  7. H. I. Storian says:

    “The Jew cries out in pain as he strikes you…” Perhaps none of you are familiar with Harry Truman’s diary entry? Sums it up rather well and is true even today.
    https://www.trumanlibrary.org/diary/page21.htm

  8. Bill Fox says:

    (NASB) Matthew 5: 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    1. Professor says:

      Mark 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

      John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

      Acts 7:43 Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.

      Revelation_3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

  9. Maureen Tighe-Brown says:

    This is how some christians have justified anti-Jew hatred fir the past 2000 years:

    “Justification of the charge of Jewish deicide has been sought in Matthew 27:24–25:

    When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!””
    Source: Wikipedia

  10. Warren Wall says:

    I understand the outrage against anti-Semitism as well as being derogatory towards other people of various religions. But I don’t believe you should blame Twitter. Blame the individuals that are making the statements. Twitter is simply allowing members to exercise their freedom of speach. They are not actively making anti-Semitic remarks themselves. There has been much discussion, even congressional hearings concerning the censorship by other social media outlets of their member’s posts. Twitter is simply not censoring peoples opinions.

  11. sheryl clyde says:

    Twitter does have a way to report offensive comments. Those comments are then usually taken down and if serious enough the offender is suspended. So while twitter is not a good place for a minority this happens to be true for any social media at this time in history because of who certain people decided to elect that used hate as a platform to get elected on. Jews are not the only ones being attacked anyone who is not protestant white heterosexual and male is being attacked. It is not just through twitter either civil rights and programs are slowly being eroded by the current trump and republican government. Those that hate never hate just one group.

  12. Maurice Slaunwhite says:

    No Man or Woman should ever harm one another in any way. The Bible tells us that a Man and Woman is to be Kind with one another And honor one another as Husband and Wife. The Bible also Condones Divorce. All pastors who do not know this read your Bibles. The Lord God will Judge That.

  13. Secred3rd says:

    Easy scapegoat. Consider those who tweet in the first place. Every Muslim in the US does not like anyone not of their religion. Attacking the Christians might prove unwise since they vastly out number the Muslims and are known to be short temper. Jews on the other hand are peaceful and would rather bow their heads. A easy target. It is easy for some unknown face to tweet knowing that they will never be seen.
    Must remember that the Internet is world wide so some oink over in Mecca can be anti Jewish between bows. The world knows not nor cares.

    1. Professor says:

      Right, Jews bow their heads while they have someone else murder you.
      People do care. This is why they criticize Israel for their despicable behavior.

  14. Professor says:

    First of all, Jew is not a race of people, it is a belief in the Talmud which Jesus said was the religion of Satan. People hate Jews because of what they do, not because of what they believe. They are not a persecuted people. They are a hated people because of what they do. They are not even Semites. They are liars like their father. He was a liar from the beginning. He will deceive the world, even the very elect. Does anyone actually read the Bible or do you just believe what your told about the Bible and the Talmud.

  15. Bodhidharma's Friend says:

    I find this whole thread moot. Neither the Christians, Muslims or the Jews rarely do anything in keeping with their own scripture/dogma. When we can not even agree on those things that are consistant across the their various teachings the argument is already lost. Give it a rest. Instead, I offer you an opportunity for good reason: The Kamala Sutra. Why? Because it is a nifty way to slice through these issues in a thoughtful and reasoned way.

    1. Professor says:

      Nifty?

  16. Bodhidharma's Friend says:

    Yes “nifty”. It is the best tool for sifting through the hard questions that plague us. I used the word nifty because of how well it works. I apologize for the less than formal language. The Buddha taught me to practice Right Speech.

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