Israeli teens see spike in online anti-Semitism

Anti-Defamation League poll finds Israelis witness steep increase in ‘anti-Israel expression’ in 2014

Illustrative photo of anti-Semitic graffiti in Europe (CC BY-SA Beny Shlevich/Flickr)
Illustrative photo of anti-Semitic graffiti in Europe (CC BY-SA Beny Shlevich/Flickr)

NEW YORK — Jewish-Israeli teenagers faced more anti-Semitism and “anti-Israel expression” on the Internet in 2014 than they did last year, according to an Anti-Defamation League poll.

The survey, which was announced Tuesday, polled 500 Jewish Israelis aged 15 to 18 in November.

It found that 51 percent of the participants reported encountering “attacks” on the Internet because of their nationality, compared to 36% last year. Eighty-three percent of the teens reported seeing anti-Semitism online in some form through “hate symbols, websites, and messages found on social media and in videos and music,” compared to 69% last year.

The respondents noted that online anti-Semitism increased significantly during Israel’s war in Gaza this summer.

“The more teenagers in Israel are using the Internet to connect with friends and share social updates, the more they are coming into contact with haters and bigots who want to expose them to an anti-Israel or anti-Semitic message,” Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, said in a news release issued by the organization.

The survey also found that the teens encountered more anti-Semitism on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Eighty-four percent reported seeing anti-Semitism in Facebook posts or tweets, compared to 70% last year.

Sixty-five percent of the teenagers noted that they took action in response to the posting of anti-Semitic content by contacting website administrators or responding with comments of their own.

The poll was conducted in Hebrew by the Israeli polling company Geocartography. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%.

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