New French plan seeks to overcome loopholes in online antisemitism

Philippe said France would tighten up its own rules pending progress at EU level.

Social media apps Twitter and Facebook [Illustrative] (photo credit: REUTERS)
Social media apps Twitter and Facebook [Illustrative]
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A new comprehensive French plan to fight antisemitism seeks to overcome challenges posed by the Internet and social media in the fight against hate speech, a French official told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday at the 6th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem.
Ambassador of France for Human Rights Francois Croquette was speaking on a panel about government plan 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 perpetrators of hate speech through the use of 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 to combat that, and the new plan comprises a step forward in that.
He also said France could learn from the Israeli  Antisemitism Cyber Monitoring System, a tool to track antisemitism all over the world, which was unveiled at the beginning of the year.
Speaking on the panel, Croquette said there were three watershed events incidents in France that acted as wake up calls about the severity of antisemitism in the country. The first was the kidnap and murder of French Jew Ilan Halimi 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,"  clearly it was time for action.
In 2012 the Interministerial Delegation for the Fight against Racism, Antisemitism and anti-LGBT Hate (Dilcrah) was formed out of an already existing committee to combat 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 route 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 anti-Semitic speech."
The plan could also involve fines on social networks which refuse to take down hate speech or to close accounts spreading it.
As well as the Internet, another major focus of the plan is prevention of racist and antisemitic bullying in schools.