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October 27, 2020 9:49 am

US State Department Conference Tackles Mounting Hate and Antisemitism Online

avatar by Faygie Holt /

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers opening remarks for the “Ancient Hatred, Modern Medium: Conference on Internet Anti-Semitism,” Oct. 21-22, 2020. Photo: Screenshot. – Hate online, particularly antisemitism, is continuing to grow at alarming rates, and stopping it will require education, collaboration and a cohesive definition were the findings from the first-of-its-kind, two-day symposium sponsored by the US State Department.

“Nowadays, bigots everywhere can spread antisemitism online anonymously. In the first eight months of 2020, the Israel antisemitism monitoring system recorded 1.7 million antisemitic messages from more than 445,000 users on Twitter and YouTube; 37,000 of those messages referred to COVID-19, and many came from foreign agents like [the] government of Iran that ludicrously blamed Israel” for the pandemic, said US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in his opening remarks of the “Ancient Hatred, Modern Medium: Conference on Internet Anti-Semitism.”

The seven-hour conference featured recorded discussions and talks about a host of topics from “The Psychology of Hate” to “Building Coalitions and Alliances” to the “Legal Framework” of combating antisemitism. Experts came from across the globe and included members of the US Congress, Israeli government officials, representatives from TikTok and Facebook, university professors and others.

“The Internet can be tremendous force for good. It can bring people together and allow everyone a voice,” said Michael Gove, a member of Parliament in the United Kingdom. “But it is also the case that the Internet can be a cause for evil” and recruit “susceptible minds” to the “gospel of evil.”

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