Knesset, parliaments across the world form antisemitism task force

The task force hope to work on consistent policies for their countries related to hate speech, and to hold social media platforms, such as twitter, TikTok, Facebook and Google accountable.

Facebook symbol  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Facebook symbol
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Lawmakers from Israel, the US, the UK, Canada and Australia launched the Inter-Parliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Antisemitism on Tuesday.
“Over the last several years, there has been an alarming increase in antisemitic incidents across the globe, with many originating online,” the parliamentarians wrote in a joint statement, adding that they are working across the globe – and party lines – because “social media posts do not stop at international borders.”
Blue and White MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh is a founding member of the task force, along with Members of the US Congress Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch of the Democratic Party and Chris Smith of the Republican Party. In Canada, there is MP Anthony Housefather of the Liberal Party and Conservative MP Marty Morantz, and in Australia there is Josh Burns of Labour and Liberal MP Dave Sharma. Representing the UK are MPs Andrew Percy (Conservative) and Alex Sobel (Labour and Co-Operative). They plan to expand the group to more politicians and more countries after the launch.
The task force hopes to work on consistent policies for their countries related to hate speech, and to hold social media platforms, such as Twitter, TikTok, Facebook and Google accountable.
The lawmakers also hope to raise awareness about online antisemitism, and hope that the policies they advance will help protect all minority groups from hate.
They also seek to underscore the nonpartisan nature of the fight against antisemitism in democratic countries.
“By working with multi-partisan allies in parliaments around the world,” Cotler-Wunsh said, “we hope to create best practices and real change in holding the social media giants accountable to the hatred that exists on their platforms.
“It is imperative that we work together to expose the double standards,” the Blue and White MK added.
Smith, a Republican, warned specifically against “Alt-Right groups such as The Base and Atomwaffen Division, along with Russia’s Internet Research Agency” spreading antisemitic content online.
“We need to be ever vigilant with regard to all forms of antisemitic hatred, whether it comes from the alt-Right, the political Left, or Islamist groups,” he said.
Deutch warned that “it has never been easier than now for antisemites to connect and spread hateful propaganda using social media. These platforms have a responsibility to ensure that they are not being used freely by purveyors of hate.”
Burns pointed out that in times of upheaval, throughout history, people have sought to blame Jews for their societies’ ills.
“This task force is an important step to coalesce allies to combat the bigotry that is occurring in the dark corners of society, especially online,” he said.
Sobel, who is Jewish, said he has experienced antisemitism.
“Overt slurs are easier to recognize and report, but antisemitism is often insidious and harder to root out. Antisemitic conspiracy theories are rife on social media, with many subscribers not realizing the antisemitic roots and implications of QAnon and other right-wing conspiracy theories,” he said.
Though Sobel highlighted right-wing antisemitism, he represents the left-wing Labour party, which was recently investigated by the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission for antisemitism under its former leader Jeremy Corbyn.