Posts Tagged ‘anti-Jew’

Facebook’s Zuckerberg says he won’t remove Holocaust denial posts

July 19, 2018

Founder of social media giant says those denying Holocaust may be doing so unintentionally and should not be removed, drawing condemnation from ADL; later clarifies remarks

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg meets with a group of entrepreneurs and innovators during a round-table discussion at Cortex Innovation Community technology hub in St. Louis,  November 9, 2017. (Jeff Roberson/AFP)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg meets with a group of entrepreneurs and innovators during a round-table discussion at Cortex Innovation Community technology hub in St. Louis, November 9, 2017. (Jeff Roberson/AFP)

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appeared to defend Holocaust deniers on Wednesday, suggesting that online hate speech disclaiming the genocide of six million Jews is misguided rather than a matter of ill-intent.

Zuckerberg later clarified his comments, saying he never intended to defend Holocaust denial.

Noting his Jewish heritage to the Recode tech news site, Zuckerberg defended the social media giant’s refusal to remove various offensive content. Instances of Holocaust denial are “deeply offensive,” he opined.

“But at the end of the day, I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong,” he continued, before the interviewer interjected to disagree.

“It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent,” said Zuckerberg. “I just think, as abhorrent as some of those examples are, I think the reality is also that I get things wrong when I speak publicly. I’m sure you do. I’m sure a lot of leaders and public figures we respect do too, and I just don’t think that it is the right thing to say, ‘We’re going to take someone off the platform if they get things wrong, even multiple times.’”

The Facebook head said the social network drew a line at calls for violence.

“What we will do is we’ll say, ‘Okay, you have your page, and if you’re not trying to organize harm against someone, or attacking someone, then you can put up that content on your page, even if people might disagree with it or find it offensive,’” he said.

His comments were swiftly condemned by the Anti-Defamation League.

“Holocaust denial is a willful, deliberate and longstanding deception tactic by anti-Semites that is incontrovertibly hateful, hurtful, and threatening to Jews,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the ADL, said in a statement.

“Facebook has a moral and ethical obligation not to allow its dissemination. ADL will continue to challenge Facebook on this position and call on them to regard Holocaust denial as a violation of their community guidelines,” added Greenblatt.

Zuckerberg later emailed Recode to say he had never meant to defend Holocaust denial.

“I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that,” he said. “Our goal with fake news is not to prevent anyone from saying something untrue — but to stop fake news and misinformation spreading across our services.”

In September 2017, Facebook came under fire after investigative reports in ProPublica and Slate showed that advertisers were able to specifically target anti-Semitic or prejudiced social media users with their ads.

ProPublica reported that “the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of ‘Jew hater,’ ‘How to burn Jews,’ or, ‘History of why Jews ruin the world.’”

Although the category was too small on its own, when adding other categories, such as the far-right, ultra-nationalist National Democratic Party of Germany, ProPublica was able to purchase ads targeting the 2,274 people who listed “Jew hater” in the “education” or “work” sections of their Facebook profiles. The ads were approved within 15 minutes.

The website also found that 3,194 Facebook users listed their employer as “German Schutzstaffel” — the German SS — and another 2,449 who said they worked for “Nazi Party.”

Facebook later intervened, but according to Slate, it was still possible to purchase ads targeting anti-Muslim and white nationalist users.

Zuckerberg’s remarks come amid mounting condemnation and calls for scrutiny of Facebook over a massive privacy breach.

In the worst ever public relations disaster for the social media giant, Facebook has admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, which was working for US President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Cambridge Analytica, which also had meetings with the Leave.EU campaign ahead of Britain’s EU referendum in 2016, denies the accusations and has filed for bankruptcy in the United States and Britain.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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Anti-Semitic online harassment in Germany on the rise, study finds

July 19, 2018

When Yorai Feinberg first opened his restaurant in Berlin, he felt welcome. But lately the Israeli has increasingly been the recipient of hate mail. A new study has found that hate in Germany has become more radical.

    
Yorai Feinberg (picture-alliance/dpa/J. Carstensen)

Yorai Feinberg has gotten used to hearing from “Ludwig Fischer.” Every few days the Berlin restaurant owner receives emails from a man who writes under the pseudonym of one of Hitler’s most notorious SA henchmen. He calls Feinberg a “filthy rat,” says the Holocaust is just a “scam” and rants that all Jews will land in the gas chamber.

Feinberg has collected some 60 pages of hate mail from Ludwig Fischer alone. “I don’t take it so personally anymore. I don’t take it too seriously,” says Feinberg.

Threshold getting lower

The Israeli says that when he came to Berlin six years ago, he felt at home right away: “I was immediately welcomed in Berlin.” Feinberg lived in Vienna before moving to Berlin, where he says the mood toward Jews and Israelis was less relaxed than in Germany. But he adds: “Things have gotten a bit worse meanwhile.”

The last few months have seen several high-profile attacks on Jews in Germany. Just last week a Jewish-American professor was attacked by a young German of Palestinian descent in the city of Bonn. In April, an attack on a yarmulke-wearing man in Berlin made international headlines.

Read moreGerman Jewish groups say NGOs must fight anti-Semitism if they want public funds

But it is online where attacks and insults are most frequently directed toward Jews and Israelis. That is according to a new study conducted by the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin), in which researchers studied 300,000 mostly anonymous texts. Most came from social media sites. The conclusion: Not only are more hateful comments directed at Jews, they are also becoming more radical.

“The threshold is sinking,” says Monika Schwarz-Friesel, who heads the TU Berlin institute for language and communication. “People use the anonymity of the internet to disseminate anti-Semitic comments.”

Anti-Semitism from the heart of society

Feinberg had his first encounter with anti-Semitism in Germany’s capital on the street. In December of 2017, a man berated him for several minutes in front of his restaurant. Feinberg recorded the incident and put it online. He says he received a lot of support from across the country. Nevertheless, he has also received an increasing amount of hate mail. “The problem is not a few evil individuals,” he says, “but all of those who agree with them.”

Read more‘Solidarity Hoodie’ challenges anti-Semitism

The TU Berlin study backs up that statement. “Anti-Semitism doesn’t only come from right-wing extremists or the populist scene,” says Schwarz-Friesel. She notes that left-leaning and liberal people as well as Muslims drew her attention with their anti-Semitic comments. “Everyday anti-Semitism rooted in the heart of society is the most dangerous,” in Schwarz-Friesel’s estimation. Radical statements are often brushed off as crazy, but when educated segments of society express anti-Semitic sentiment it is much more likely to gain acceptance, she says.

Old prejudices

“We were shocked to see that prejudices against Jews had changed so little over the last hundred years,” says Schwarz-Friesel, adding that Jews are still seen as the “scourge of the world,” a race that must be eradicated.

The arguments of today’s anti-Semites differ little from people with similar prejudices in the sixteenth century. One slight change, however, is that today’s anti-Semitism is often mixed with criticism of the state of Israel.

Read moreSeparating anti-Semitism from criticism of Israel

Most of the hate mail directed at Feinberg comes from the far-right. Pseudonyms like Ludwig Fischer point to a particular bent and the texts themselves tend to suggest a certain ideological template. Writers often deny the Holocaust, claiming that concentration camps never existed and that the Jews themselves that were responsible for the mass murder that took place during the Second World War, not the Nazis.

“The atmosphere in Germany has become more extreme overall, in every direction,” says Feinberg “Those on the right are getting more extreme and the left has also grown more extreme as a result.”

No perpetrator punished

Nevertheless, Feinberg is fighting the hate, but it isn’t always easy. When he shared the first hate mail he received from Ludwig Fischer on Facebook, it was immediately taken down and his account was blocked. The social media network’s censorship algorithms seemingly do not differentiate between the threatening and the threatened. Feinberg says he also feels abandoned by the justice system: “None of the attackers have been punished yet. I have experienced a number of extreme cases where I think the person issuing the attacks deserves to be punished for their actions.”

“If this trend continues, anti-Semitism will become more normal in real life, not just online,” says Schwarz-Friesel, explaining that today, the internet and reality are more intertwined than ever.

Still, Feinberg is hopeful that the situation will improve: “I am not going to leave Germany just because of a tiny and insignificant part of society.”

https://www.dw.com/en/anti-semitic-online-harassment-in-germany-on-the-rise-study-finds/a-44738878

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In Germany, online anti-Semitism is going mainstream

July 18, 2018

Jew-hatred on the web has risen 22% in a decade, with bigotry masquerading as anti-Israel criticism and relying on classic tropes, research reveals

Private security personel with 'Aryan Brotherhood' on his T-shirt opens the gate at the venue of the 'Schild und Schwert' (Shield and Sword) neo-Nazi festival, in the small eastern German town of Ostritz on April 20, 2018.( AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALL)

Private security personel with ‘Aryan Brotherhood’ on his T-shirt opens the gate at the venue of the ‘Schild und Schwert’ (Shield and Sword) neo-Nazi festival, in the small eastern German town of Ostritz on April 20, 2018.( AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALL)

A long-awaited study by internationally renowned anti-Semitism expert Monika Schwarz-Friesel has found that the amount of German anti-Semitic content on the internet has grown massively in the last 10 years, permeates mainstream society, and is increasingly extreme.

Released Wednesday, the research project studied 300,000 pieces of German internet content between 2014 and 2018, with a focus on social media. During the first year of the study, slightly less than 23 percent of the content was classified as anti-Semitic. In 2017, this number had jumped to over 30%.

A similar study conducted by Schwarz-Friesel in 2007 found only 7.5% of the internet content examined to be anti-Semitic, indicating an increase of more than 22% over the last decade.

The latest results show not only a massive increase in the amount of anti-Semitic content found online, but also a radicalization in terms of the content’s quality. For example, anti-Semitic comments in response to news and other articles have not only grown in number, but have become more rabid.

The study was funded by the German Research Association, and the results were published today at a press conference at the Techinical University of Berlin, where Schwarz-Friesel is a professor of cognitive science.

Monika Schwarz-Friesel. (Marc Neugröschel/Times of Israel)

“Anti-Semitism is ubiquitous in online communication,” says Schwarz-Friesel. “It has also increased and intensified in regard to Web 2.0, and hyperlinks to photos, texts, songs, and films.”

In fact, campaigns against anti-Semitism themselves on social media networks such as Facebook elicit massive amounts of anti-Jewish comments. Thirty-eight percent of comments posted in response to a 2014 German Facebook campaign entitled #Never Again Jew-Hatred were actually anti-Semitic.

The study also found that much online anti-Semitism appears as stereotypes projected at the State of Israel.

Schwarz-Friesel says that Israel-related anti-Semitism can be distinguished from legitimate criticism of Israel through several quantifiable metrics. She says there is little ground for oft-voiced concerns that any criticism of Israel can potentially be viewed as anti-Semitic.

Pepe the Frog, an internet meme, has become a symbol of the alt-right. (Twitter/Lior Zaltzman)

“It has been scientifically proven that Israel-related anti-Semitism is based on classic anti-Jewish stereotypes,” says a statement by Schwarz-Friesel and her team of researchers.

Remarkably, the study also found that anti-Semitic statements masquerading as criticism of Israel often appear in contexts unrelated to the Middle East conflict.

The Israel-related anti-Semitism, according to the researchers, is especially worrying as it is often considered to be socially acceptable and therefore meets little resistance among the mainstream and elites of society. This causes it to play an especially integral role in the spreading and consolidation of anti-Semitic worldviews.

However, anti-Semitism related to Israel is not the most widespread form of Jew hatred online. Fifty-four percent of the anti-Semitic material reviewed by researchers was based on classic anti-Semitic tropes, such as, “Jews are humanity’s greatest woe.”

Countering assertions that Muslim anti-Semitism is largely a response to Israeli politics, Muslim anti-Semitism was found to be based on such classic stereotypes more often than on Israel-related topics.

Worryingly, the study claimed that the overall increase in online anti-Semitism was not coming from extremist elements. This signifies that bigotry against Jews is not confined to radical splinter groups, but rather permeates mainstream society.

Finally, the study found a uniformity in anti-Semitic notions among users regardless of political affiliation or ideological background, bearing witness to anti-Semitism’s social entrenchment and cultural continuity.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-germany-online-anti-semitism-is-going-mainstream-study-finds/

The Sometimes Baffling Bias and Sexual Obsessions of The New York Times

August 11, 2016

Sometimes the bias in the New York Times comes not in the news that it prints, but in the news it chooses not to print.

By Ira Stoll

Here is a selection of recent news stories that the Times either entirely has ignored or handled with wire-service briefs that ran only on the newspaper’s web site, not in print:

  • A Saudi Judo competitor at the Olympics forfeited a match to avoid having to face an Israeli in the next round. (Saudi Arabia denied that was the reason.) This came after Olympians from Lebanon refused to allow Israelis to board their bus. (The Times did run a wire-service story online about the bus situation, but the newspaper appears to have assigned none of its own staff to the bus matter, and the wire-service brief doesn’t seem to have appeared in the print newspaper.)
  • Iran executed a teenager for the crime of being gay. The Times, again, handled the story with a wire-service account that seems to have appeared online only but not in the print newspaper. This wire service account adopted the Iranian government’s account that the boy’s crime had been “rape,” without mentioning the youth’s defense that it was a consensual interaction.
  • Israel rejected President Obama’s false public claim that its government had revised its assessment of the nuclear deal with Iran. This was a big flap in relations between Washington and Jerusalem, as the Israeli government likened the pact to the appeasement of Hitler at Munich, then somewhat backed down after an American protest. The Times handled this with a brief from the Associated Press that did not appear in the print newspaper.
  • Ali Shroukh, the Palestinian doctor whose assistance to a Jewish settler injured in a terrorist attack was the subject of a Times news article back in July illustrating “an act of kindness in a conflict that is often bereft of it,” was fired from his job, as a punishment for helping Jews. No follow-up story from theTimes.

Here, by contrast, are some of the Israel- or Jewish-related news articles that the Times did find the resources to cover in print, or with its own talent, during pretty much the same period:

  • Nine hundred words from an Israeli New York Times columnist about his lesbian sister.
  • Eight hundred words from an Israeli New York Times columnist about sexual practices of Gur Hasidic men, who “sometimes get prescriptions for antidepressants to suppress [their] sex drive.”
  • Thirteen hundred words on Miss Trans Israel, “an Arab transgender woman.”
  • Three thousand, five hundred words — 1,500 in the Sunday magazine, then another 2,000 the following Sunday in the Style section, about James Altucher, who got rid of his home and worldly possessions and “now carries nothing but a bag of clothes and a backpack containing a computer, an iPad and a smartphone.”

I’m not saying that any of the stories the Times did choose to print or publish with its own staff were unworthy or even uninteresting. But you’d think that if the newspaper could find room or resources for all that, it might also be able to find room for all the things it skipped or shrugged off. Over the long term, journalistic quality depends on using judgment to allocate limited resources. On the basis of the past few weeks of work, the editorial judgment of the Times about what is “fit to print” and what is not seems at the very least to be highly idiosyncratic, and at worst to be unmoored from the traditional news standards that originally won the Timesits reputation for excellence.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.  

Source — https://www.algemeiner.com/2016/08/10/sex-obsessed-the-new-york-times-news-judgment-veers-astray/