MARSEILLE, France (JTA) — A French nonprofit said it was considering making complaints against some Twitter users following an explosion of French-language anti-Semitic messages.
SOS Racisme, a Paris-based anti-discrimination organization, made the statement on its website after the phrase UnBonJuif on Oct. 10 became the third most popular hashtag among French Twitter users.
Literally meaning “a good Jew,” it served thousands of Twitter users to enter what the French daily Le Monde termed “a competition of anti-Semitic jokes.”
One Twitter account registered to the username “Marcel Leblanc” posted a picture of an emaciated Jewish woman taken in a Nazi concentration camp as his or her interpretation of what “a good Jew” meant. Others tweeted that “a good Jew is a dead Jew.”
Jonathan Hayoun, president of the Union of French Jewish Students, or UEJF, called on Twitter to “put in place a new system to moderate” anti-Semitic tweets. His organization expressed “grave concern” in light of how popular the hashtag has become.
On Monday, the most popular hashtag in France was LaRafle, meaning “the roundup” — the title of a 2010 film about the Holocaust-era deportation of French Jews that was aired the previous day by TF1, a public broadcaster. Twitter defined the LaRafle hashtag as “related to UnBonJuif.” Many tweets containing the LaRafle hashtag were anti-Semitic, and some users denied the Holocaust.
Michel Zerbib, director the news department of Radio J, France’s largest Jewish radio station, said that anti-Semitic tweeting matches are “a new but unsurprising development, as the virtual space releases many of the inhibitions that limit anti-Semitic speech in the public sphere.”