Poll finds 68% of Israeli teens report encountering anti-Semitic content online
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Poll finds 68% of Israeli teens report encountering anti-Semitic content online

Results of ADL survey mark ‘encouraging’ decrease in anti-Jewish hate speech on internet and social networks compared to high levels found in 2016

Illustrative: A broken window is seen at the center of the Jewish community center, after a suspected anti-Semitic attack in Rostock, northern Germany, January 8, 2009. (AP/ Thomas Haentzschel/File)
Illustrative: A broken window is seen at the center of the Jewish community center, after a suspected anti-Semitic attack in Rostock, northern Germany, January 8, 2009. (AP/ Thomas Haentzschel/File)

A poll carried out for the US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has found that over two-thirds of Israeli teens said they were exposed to anti-Semitic content online, with Facebook remaining the platform with the most reported hate speech against Jews.

But the results marked a decrease compared to previous surveys held in 2016 and 2014, with an ADL official saying that was “encouraging news” but there is still “much work to do.”

The survey, which was conducted in January and announced on Tuesday, polled 500 Jewish Israelis aged 15 to 18. It was conducted in Hebrew by the Israeli polling company Geocartography.

Results said that 68 percent of Israeli youth report having encountered anti-Semitism online, with 8% of all teens saying the anti-Semitism was directed at them personally.

Nearly a quarter of those polled reported encountering anti-Semitic expressions on Twitter or in Facebook status updates at least once a month. More than half said they had encountered hate on Facebook, eclipsing all other social media platforms, according to the ADL.

But those figures represent a decline from a January 2016 poll that found 84% of young people in Israel reported exposure to anti-Semitism on the internet and on social networks.

A similar decline was seen on Facebook, with 58% saying they had been exposed to anti-Jewish hate on Facebook, down from the 76% who reported so in 2016.

YouTube came in second among social media platforms, at 46%. Only 17% of Israeli youth reported encountering anti-Semitic content on WhatsApp.

The survey also found that 65% of those polled said they were exposed to social media pages with anti-Semitic content, compared to 71% in 2016 and 76% in 2014.

Teens’ exposure to anti-Semitic caricatures, images and symbols online has also declined, according to the results. The poll found that 71% of today’s teens have had exposure to such content, compared to 75% in 2016 and 80% in 2014.

Carole Nuriel, the acting director of ADL Israel (courtesy)

However, teens reported an increase in exposure to video clips and songs with anti-Semitic content: 70% reported exposure to that type of content, compared to 63% in 2016.

“There’s encouraging news here since teens are reporting less exposure to anti-Semitism compared to previous polls,” said Carole Nuriel, director of ADL’s Israel Office.

“We are especially encouraged to see declines in reported exposure among teens to anti-Semitic content on Facebook,” she added. “Nevertheless, many Israeli teens are still coming across a great deal of anti-Semitic hatred on social networks. There’s clearly still much work to be done by social networks to monitor, block and remove anti-Semitic content.”

The teens were also asked about whether various statements constituted anti-Semitic acts.

While 89% said they believe the denial of the State of Israel’s right to exist was anti-Semitic, and 86% noted that they considered boycotts of Israel to be anti-Jewish acts, only 76% think that reference to conspiracies regarding the intentions of Israel or Zionists to control governments or international systems are anti-Semitic.

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