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February 24, 2016 4:23 pm

Survey: Record Number of Israeli Teens Witnessing, Experiencing Online Antisemitism

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

A woman typing on a laptop, illustrative. Nearly four in every five teenagers living in the State of Israel  encountered antisemitism on social media and online in 2015. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A woman typing on a laptop, illustrative. Nearly four in every five teenagers living in the State of Israel encountered antisemitism on social media and online in 2015. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A record number of Israeli Jewish teens faced antisemitism on the Internet in 2015, according to a survey released on Wednesday by US Jewish organization the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

A poll of 500 Israeli teenagers aged 15-18 revealed that nearly four in every five encountered online antisemitic abuse last year. Eighty-four percent of the teens reported witnessing overtly antisemitic content online in 2015, and 16% said the content was personally directed at them. Most of the teens surveyed said they came across antisemitic content at least once a month, sometimes weekly or even daily.

The figures constitute the highest level of online abuse recorded in three years, according to the ADL.

In 2013, 69% of Israeli Jewish teens said they encountered antisemitic content online, and 13% said the content had been personally directed at them. Nearly 40% of those who encountered antisemitism in 2015 said they took no action to report or counter the online hatred, higher than the 33% who said the same thing in 2013.

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“As a highly developed and technologically savvy society in a volatile neighborhood, it is perhaps not surprising that Israeli youths more than ever before are being exposed to antisemitic hate on social media,” said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt. “It serves as a powerful reminder of the power of social networks and their ability to be used, and abused by those who seek to poison the internet with hatred of Jews.”

The survey, commissioned by ADL’s Israel Office, was conducted in Hebrew by the Israeli polling company Geocartography. Respondents were shown a definition of antisemitism and asked whether they came across similar hateful expressions online, either targeting them or others. Among the Israeli teens who reported experiences with antisemitism online, 94% said they saw antisemitic content included in posts on Facebook, talkbacks and Twitter. Ninety-two percent reported seeing antisemitic caricatures, pictures or symbols.

Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they had encountered antisemitic pages on social networks; 88% saw antisemitic video clips or songs; and 73% came across antisemitic websites.

Respondents also separated their experience of antisemitic content into the sites on which they came across it: 76% on Facebook; 47% on YouTube; 39% on Instagram; 31% on Twitter; and 18% on WhatsApp.

Among those polled, 82% also reported seeing anti-Israel messages or content online either in posts, tweets or pages on social networks. Most of them reported being exposed to anti-Israel content at least once a month.

“Israeli youths, who spend hours on the Internet and on social networks, are clearly more likely than most to have a heightened awareness of antisemitic content,” said Carol Nuriel, acting director of ADL’s Israel Office.  “Unfortunately, we have reached a saturation point for anti-Israel and antisemitic invective on social networks, and young people in Israel are seeing it more and more in their daily lives.  Some clearly feel powerless to confront it.  We need to equip students and young people to have the tools to respond to antisemitism appropriately and effectively.”

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