Gaza war caused explosion of online hate speech in Europe, report finds
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Gaza war caused explosion of online hate speech in Europe, report finds

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA) — The summer war between Israel and Hamas generated an explosion of online anti-Semitic hate speech in several European countries, an international watchdog reported.

The assertion came in a report on 10 European countries released Wednesday by the International Network Against Cyber Hate and the Paris-based International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism — or INACH and LICRA respectively.

In the Netherlands, the Complaints Bureau Discrimination Internet, or MDI, recorded more instances of online hate speech against Jews during the two-month conflict than during the entire six months that preceded it, revealed the report, which the groups presented in Berlin at a meeting on anti-Semitism organized by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE.

More than half of the 143 expressions of anti-Semitism documented by MDI in July and August, when Israel was fighting Hamas in Gaza, contained incitements to violence against Jews, the report stated. Roughly three quarters of the complaints documented in that period occurred on social media.

In Britain, the Community Security Trust recorded 140 anti-Semitic incidents on social media from January to August, with more than half occurring in July alone.

And in Austria, the Forum against Antisemitism recorded 59 anti-Semitic incidents online during the conflagration of violence between Israel and Palestinians — of which 21 included incitements to violence — compared to only 14 incidents in the six months that preceded it.

The data on online anti-Semitic incidents corresponded with an increase in real-life assaults, LICRA and INACH wrote.

The report’s recommendations included a submission by the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, which called for OSCE member states to adopt the “Working Definition of Anti-Semitism” that the European Union’s agency for combating xenophobia enacted in 2005 but later dropped. The definition includes references to the demonization of Israel.