(photo credit: TWITTER)
More than half of Jewish Israeli teens have reported being attacked online because of their nationality, according to a new study the Anti-Defamation League released Tuesday.
Of 500 Jewish teens between the ages of 15 and 18 who participated in the poll last month, 51 percent said they had encountered hatred on the Internet because they were Israeli – up from 37% in an identical poll last year.
“The more teenagers in Israel are using the Internet to connect with friends and share social updates, the more they are coming into contact with haters and bigots who want to expose them to an anti-Israel or anti-Semitic message,” said ADL director Abraham H. Foxman in a statement.
ADL spokeswoman Hila Zeligman said the survey showed a “very dramatic increase in all the data” associated with anti-Semitism.
The poll found that nearly 83% of teens had been exposed to anti-Semitism on the Web – up from 69% last year – and 61% reported an increase in online anti-Semitism during Operation Protective Edge this summer.
In July, the Dutch Complaints Bureau for Discrimination on the Internet, a watchdog group, reported that online hate speech was the highest since the organization’s founding 17 years ago – a result that the recent poll supported.
The group quoted Facebook posts such as “Not only Palestine, the whole world is occupied and should get rid of those nasty Zionists,” and “Allah sees everything, Jews! You’re dead!!” It noted that the Twitter hashtag #hitlerwasright had become a trending topic with 10,000 instances of use.
In a recent, highly publicized incident, a Facebook page titled “I Acknowledge Apartheid Exists” posted a Photoshopped image of Jewish concentration camp survivors holding pro-Palestinian banners, including one reading, “Stop the Holocaust in Gaza.”
Shortly after Protective Edge drew to a close in September, the ADL released a set of best practices to combat hate speech online, collaborating with major Internet companies to develop guidelines for fighting “cyberhate.”
The guidelines urged Internet providers to “offer user-friendly mechanisms and procedures for reporting hateful content.”
In the November poll, 43% of teens said they had reported offensive content to web administrators, and 24% said they had criticized anti-Semitic statements in comments of their own.
“Israeli teens do not feel powerless to act,” Foxman said.
The ADL frequently commissions polls to measure levels of anti-Semitism worldwide. A survey last year indicated that of more than 53,100 adults surveyed across 102 countries, about a quarter “are deeply infected with anti-Semitic attitudes.”
The percentage is significantly higher in the Middle East and North Africa – 74% – and somewhat lower in the Americas at 19%.