Two Antisemitic Tweets Annually for Every Member of UK Jewish Population, New Report Calculates
A new report published on Friday revealed that Twitter users in the UK can view up to 495,000 explicitly antisemitic posts each year — approximately two antisemitic tweets annually for every member of the 290,000-strong British Jewish community.
Research for the report was carried out by the Woolf Institute on behalf of two UK Jewish communal organizations, the Antisemitism Policy Trust and the Community Security Trust.
Researchers discovered that antisemitic posts were highly visible in Twitter debates over the accusation that Israel is an apartheid state, and in discussions on racism, antisemitism, the situation of the Palestinians and similar areas.
The report also broke down the demographic data of Twitter users posting antisemitic material. According to the report, 34 percent of antisemitic postings come from males, 19 percent from females, and 47 percent from “unknown.” The top ten locations for those posting antisemitic material included major cities with significant Jewish communities like London, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow as well as smaller locations with fewer Jews, such as Redcar and northwest Leicestershire.
Julian Hargreaves, Director of Research at the Woolf Institute, remarked that the report showed that “if antisemitism online and within our societies is to be effectively tackled and reduced, we will need platforms, in this instance acting as agents of harm, to better understand and to act upon what the evidence is clearly telling them.”
The report contended that Twitter’s mechanisms for reporting offensive content remain woefully inadequate, as evidenced by the volume of antisemitic content found on the platform. “Policies to deal with online abuse aren’t worth the paper they’re written on if companies cannot effectively enforce them,” Danny Stone of the Antisemitism Policy Trust said in a statement. “This new report makes it crystal clear that Twitter’s systems for discovering and acting against anti-Jewish racism still aren’t good enough.”
A section of the report featured screenshots of some of the antisemitic tweets circulated on Twitter. Many of the tweets blamed the COVID-19 pandemic on Jews, while others engaged in Holocaust denial or mocked the deaths of Jews in Nazi concentration camps.
The report’s publication came as the Community Security Trust disclosed that it had received reports of 30 acts of antisemitic hatred during the recent festival of Hanukkah.
“It’s been a very upsetting series of events for the Jewish community at a time that really should be a joyous festival for everyone to celebrate,” Dave Rich, the group’s director of policy, said on London’s LBC radio.
Rich said that two menorahs in London had been destroyed by antisemitic vandals, alongside “a handful of assaults, lots of verbal abuse.”
“This is a pattern and people really need to be aware of what’s going on,” Rich asserted.