UK communities secretary pledges £100,000 to fight online antisemitism

Jenrick also committed to write to all councils and universities this week demanding that they adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition

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September 16, 2019 00:01
2 minute read.
UK communities secretary pledges £100,000 to fight online antisemitism

Protesters hold placards and flags during a demonstration, organised by the British Board of Jewish Deputies for those who oppose antisemitism, in Parliament Square in London. . (photo credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS)

The UK Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick has pledged £100,000 in funding in a bid to fight the spread of antisemitic material online, underlining the government’s “absolute commitment to tackling hatred in all its forms.”

Jenrick explained that “the funding will support the Antisemitism Policy Trust’s ongoing work to tackle the spread of racist tropes online and challenge harmful narratives about Jewish people.”

The Antisemitism Policy Trust is an organization that focuses on educating and empowering parliamentarians, policy makers and opinion makers to address and combat antisemitism.

“This forms part of the government’s wider agenda to tackle all forms of religiously and racially motivated hatred,” the communities’ secretary said in a statement on Sunday. “The organization will use the funding to develop short, educative videos to counter, debunk, and undermine the proliferation of hateful antisemitic material online.

“Antisemitism has absolutely no place in our society, and I am committed to tackling it at its root. Online hatred can be a pernicious force that not only causes immediate harm to its victims but can embolden its perpetrators. By funding innovative programs that educate future generations and stem the spread of harmful ideologies we will stamp out this scourge, wherever it appears.”

While addressing the Jewish Board of Deputies of British Jews on Sunday, Jenrick also pledged that he would write to all councils and universities this week demanding that they adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition as a matter of urgency.

“I will not tolerate antisemitism under my watch. All local authorities should adopt and use the IHRA definition. Failure to do so is unacceptable.”

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore echoed Jenrick’s thoughts, emphasizing that “there is no place in our society for hatred or any form of harassment, and it is frankly appalling that the battle against antisemitism still exists.”

The Community Security Trust, which monitors antisemitism and provides security for British Jewry, released a report last month stating that there were 892 antisemitic incidents recorded nationwide in the first half of 2019.

Of those incidents, 323 were related to social media, comprising 36% of the overall total.

This is compared with 221 incidents on social media in the first half of 2018, or 27% of the total, which means there was a 46% increase in the number of online incidents recorded by CST compared with 2018.


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