France seeks to close loopholes allowing online antisemitism

France could learn from the Israeli Antisemitism Cyber Monitoring System, a tool to track antisemitism worldwide that was unveiled at the beginning of the year.

March 21, 2018 02:13
2 minute read.
France Israel French Jews

People hold Israeli and French flags as they take part in a demonstration supporting Israel on July 27, 2014 in Marseille, southeastern France. (photo credit: BORIS HORVAT / AFP)


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A comprehensive French plan to fight antisemitism seeks to overcome Internet challenges in the fight against hate speech, a French official told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday at the sixth annual Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem.

Ambassador of France for Human Rights François Croquette was on a panel about government plans to combat antisemitism a day after the French government unveiled a three-year plan to fight online hate speech.

The plan is multifaceted and tackles antisemitism on various platforms, but Croquette highlighted new permissions given to police, who will now be able to track online hate speech covered by aliases.

“There are too many loopholes where people who want to preach hate online are able to do so,” he said, saying new tools are needed, and the plan comprises a step forward.

He also said France could learn from the Israeli Antisemitism Cyber Monitoring System, a tool to track antisemitism worldwide that was unveiled at the beginning of the year.

Croquette said there were three watershed events incidents that acted as wake-up calls about the severity of antisemitism in his country. The first was the kidnap and murder of French Jew Ilan Halimi in Paris in 2006, the second was the attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012, and the third was the attack in a kosher supermarket in Paris in 2015.

“To ignore this would amount to a state of denial,” the ambassador said.

In 2012, the Interministerial Delegation for the Fight against Racism, Antisemitism and anti-LGBT Hate (DILCRAH) was formed out of an existing committee against racism and antisemitism.

“The goal was to try to get all ministerial bodies together and make sure they would work on eliminating antisemitism and racism in society,” Croquette said.

“Clearly that fight isn’t over. Antisemitism is alive and kicking in France and Europe,” he said,

DILCRAH works on all levels, through communications, public campaigns, education, training teachers to try to address issues. “The government has tried to mobilize the whole of civil society... a collective effort to try to root out antisemitism,” Croquette said.

Presenting the new national plan at the Museum of the History of Immigration in Paris on Monday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said, “What annoys me is that it seems to be easier today to take down a pirate video of a football match than antisemitic speech.”

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