In a joint letter, 180 NGOs from around the world called on Twitter’s new owner to adopt the widely accepted IHRA definition of antisemitism and act against Jew hatred on the social media platform.
Last week, a coalition of more than 180 civil rights groups and NGOs from the U.S., Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Latin America, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and more, called on Twitter and its new owner and CEO, Elon Musk, to adopt the widely-accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism as a tool to fight growing antisemitism on the platform.
“To maximize the probability that the future is good, the world needs an online platform where everyone can participate,” the letter reads. “Unfortunately, this is not the case, as Jewish users are subject to unrelenting harassment on Twitter.”
Musk recently announced that he will form a content moderation council with “widely diverse viewpoints.” According to past statements, under Musk, who considers himself a “free speech absolutist,” Twitter will only take down tweets that are violating the law in the U.S.
To demonstrate the gravity of Twitter’s antisemitism problem, the joint letter to Musk includes a dataset of more than 1,000 examples of antisemitic tweets that fall under the IHRA definition.
One antisemitic tweet states that, “The Holocaust was created by the Nazi Ashkenazi Jewish Zionists to justify the Balfour Agreement.” Another tweet reads, “The Jews playing board games with them nig***,” accompanied by a picture of the rapper Diddy, who recently became a billionaire.
“The joint letter recommends a way for Twitter to flag antisemitic tweets while educating users about antisemitism (see illustration).
The IHRA working definition covers various types of antisemitism, including justifying the killing of Jews in the name of radical ideology, Holocaust denial, and denying the Jewish right to self-determination in the state of Israel. The definition was adopted by more than 40 countries, including the United States, and by hundreds of educational institutions, local governmental bodies, and international organizations.
The letter to Musk concludes by calling on Twitter “to rise to its commitment to be the modern town square...by fully adopting the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global social action at the Simon Wiesenthal Center said, “There is a direct correlation between social media posts and the continuing spike of antisemitism and Holocaust denial in 2022. We need Elon Musk’s leadership to serve as a key component of the solution to degrading online hate and antisemitism.”
Tal-Or Cohen, founder and CEO of CyberWell, which provided the dataset of 1,000 examples of antisemitic tweets that were included in the letter said, “Data must be the cornerstone of our fight against online antisemitism. In the face of skyrocketing digital Jew hatred, social media platforms should take meaningful actions and integrate the IHRA definition into their community standards.”
Archie Gottesman, co-founder of JewBelong, stated: “Sadly, the Jewish people are not strangers to hate. It is likely that people will die if hate speech found on Twitter is allowed to flourish. We urge Mr. Musk and Twitter to do the right thing and adopt the IHRA working definition of antisemitism. You will literally save lives. “
The letter can be found online at www.AdoptIHRA.org/twitterletter.