Published on April 19, in The Jerusalem Post
The Strategic Affairs Ministry has in recent days been pushing an initiative to draft youth in Israel and around the world into a campaign against the surge in antisemitism witnessed online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The ministry, as well as other organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Community Security Trust in the UK, and Crif in France, have all issued reports in recent weeks highlighting claims from far-left and far-right extremists that Jews or Israel are somehow responsible for or benefiting from the coronavirus pandemic.
Antisemitic content has been spread on numerous social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as platforms used by extremists such as 4chan and Gab.
The ministry’s campaign involves highlighting antisemitic content on its own Facebook and Instagram accounts and urging its followers and views to report such abuse.
The campaign also spotlights positive news about contributions made by Israeli organizations, researchers, and individuals towards combating the coronavirus, as well as incidents of coexistence in Israel regarding the disease.
According to Ido Daniel, director of digital strategy at the ministry, some 750,000 people have seen the campaign posts on various social media platforms which have received 85,000 interactions such as shares, comments, and similar.
The campaign has highlighted a Jordanian imam who said Jews were “more dangerous than coronavirus,” and a false claim posted by a pro-Palestinian Spanish Facebook group that Israeli doctors were infecting Palestinian prisoners.
On a more positive angle, the ministry has brought attention to aid efforts by Israeli organizations to help African nations prepare for the pandemic, as well as a decision by the Israeli division of the Medtronic medical device company to freely publish the blueprints for its ventilators, much needed around the world to assist those with serious breathing difficulties caused by the coronavirus.
“It was really important to us to enable teenagers in Israel and abroad who care about Israel to fight back when they are at home and looking for ways to contribute, so we helped them through this campaign to do good, whether by taking down hateful material on social media, or sharing positive stories about how Israel is contributing to the global fight against coronavirus,” said Ido Daniel.
“We have received a lot of good reactions from people who also encouraged us to give them more tasks to help Israel fight this hate.”
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