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‘fight against hate’

Report by Julie Nathan, the Research Officer for the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and a Committee Member on Antisemitism and Racism Committee of ICJW, on new internet tool launched by Online Hate Prevention Institute.

Less than 70 years after the Holocaust, antisemitism is growing, thriving, and once again becoming socially acceptable, even respectable, in far too many dark corners of “polite society”. This year, in Australia, antisemitism moved from the margins to the mainstream of society.

This was partly due to, and exacerbated by, the nature of the internet. The internet, as wonderful a tool as it is, has become a major purveyor of Jew-hatred. The internet provides a means both of expressing and propagating antisemitism.

In my role at the ECAJ, I have challenged website owners and Facebook page owners over antisemitic content on their online sites, usually resulting in the removal of the content, or most of it. I have also prepared material to support the ECAJ’s complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) over online antisemitic content. It is time consuming work, and, like weeds in the garden, the objectionable content keeps coming.

Under our current Federal law, those who claim to be the targets of racism online are the ones who have to counter it, through a formal complaint to the AHRC, while those who host racist content online are generally not held to account unless and until victims submit a complaint.

This month, the Online Hate Prevention Institute, based in Australia, launched a new internet tool, ‘Fight Against Hate’, to counter antisemitism, and other forms of racism and bigotry online. It is a website with software which allows people to report online hate. This tool will also produce a “user-generated database of online hate speech” which will be of use to those requiring such data, such as academics, researchers, and anti-racism bodies and groups. It looks like a promising development in the effort to counter online racism. People can log in at http://fightagainsthate.com/. 

‘Fight Against Hate’ will be launched at the next Global Forum Against Antisemitism which is due to be held in Jerusalem in May 2015.