124 NGOs worldwide urge Facebook to adopt IHRA definition o antisemitism, fight hate speechm

August 10, 2020

The joint NGOs’ call discloses that in recent remarks given by a senior Facebook representative,  the company “does not have a policy aimed at combatting online antisemitism”, sparking the coalition to urge Facebook to “join the ranks of the historians, advocates, activists, lawmakers, and leaders who compiled the IHRA working definition” and “take responsibility and move toward removing the scourge of antisemitism from today’s most important online public square.”
In an unprecedented joint letter, a coalition of 124 non-profit organizations from around the world have urged Facebook to adopt the widely recognized International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism to fight hate speech on the social media platform.
The letter, which was sent to Facebook’s board and senior management on Friday, follows mounting public pressure urging Facebook to effectively act against hate speech and dangerous disinformation.
The joint NGOs’ call discloses that in recent remarks given by a senior Facebook representative,  the company “does not have a policy aimed at combating online antisemitism”, sparking the coalition to urge Facebook to “join the ranks of the historians, advocates, activists, lawmakers, and leaders who compiled the IHRA working definition” and “take responsibility and move toward removing the scourge of antisemitism from today’s most important online public square.”
In July, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, stated that “Facebook has to get better at finding and removing hateful content.” The joint call by the global coalition of NGOs emphasizes  that antisemitism and effective policies to address it, must be part of Facebook’s decision-making process to tackle hate speech.
Parallel to a surge in violent and murderous attacks against Jewish communities in recent years, online antisemitism has grown exponentially, with social media platforms serving as primary bullying arenas for the world’s oldest hatred. The coalition letter cites studies that “Jews overwhelmingly report that online antisemitism is the most acute form of Jew-hatred they experience.”
So far, nearly 40 countries have already endorsed or adopted the IHRA working definition in some official capacity, either through their membership in the IHRA or independently.
In the US, the definition of antisemitism is clear: The IHRA working definition has been adopted by the State Department, and a recent Presidential Executive Order on Combatting Anti-Semitism instructs the Department of Education to consider the IHRA definition when evaluating Title VI Civil Rights Act complaints of discrimination.
The signatories decision to focus on Facebook stemmed from the social media giant’s recent announcement that it would be revising its policies on hate speech and disinformation. The coalition’s decision was also based on a recognition that Facebook, as the leading social media platform, can set the standard for the social media industry in the fight against online hate. If, and when, Facebook adopts an effective and comprehensive policy to combat online hate speech and antisemitism, other social media platforms such as Twitter and TikTok are likely to follow suit.
Irwin Cotler, the Chair of Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights in Canada, one of the signatories to the letter, stated :”Antisemitism is the oldest, most enduring, most toxic, and most lethal of hatreds – the canary in the minefield of global evil. The IHRA definition is the strongest and most definitive normative framework we have for monitoring and combating antisemitism on a governmental, parliamentary, law-enforcement, and civil society level. Its adoption is as timely as it is necessary.”
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association, a signatory to the letter said: ”With more people than China and over a third of the entire global population with accounts, Facebook is a world of its own. Its power and reach are immense. With such great power should come great responsibility. That social media platforms have become hotbeds of hate and antisemitism is undeniable. So too is a lack of responsible action from the company to tackle it. Signing up to the IHRA definition would be an important step and a visible commitment from Facebook that there is no place, in the virtual, just as the real world, for the virus of antisemitism to thrive unchecked and unfettered.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Associate Dean and Director Global Social Action Agenda of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the signatories to the letter, noted that ”during the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic and social dislocation following George Floyd’s murder, extremists, including antisemites, leverage the unmatched marketing power of social media to mainstream hate, conspiracy theories and lone wolf terrorism.” ”Facebook must take the lead in the struggle to degrade the mainstreaming of antisemitism via social media. The IHRA definition of antisemitism provides Facebook with a straightforward definition of history’s oldest hate.”
Prof. Dina Porat, who is one of the authors of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism stressed that the definition has become ”a yard stick, a declaration of values.”
”Those who join its adoption are committed to the countering of antisemitism, and of other parallel evils. It is high time that the major social networks, Facebook first and foremost, use the IHRA definition as a criteria to identify antisemitic expressions, and uproot them immediately, thus exercising their responsibility to help create a world better than the one we are living in.”
The article was published on EJP

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COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.
For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl
“This message comes from Wollongong, Australia where we have a small Jewish community.
I wanted to ask you if Hijman Jacobs (1843-1872) might be in your family line? His great-grandchild who was once a student at our local university (~ 1970) is told that his great-grandfather was a Rabbi in Amsterdam. ” Thus the email I received this morning from Wollongong-Australia.
Never heard of a Rabbi Jacobs from Amsterdam, but what is not may yet come. I do not mean that I have ambitions to become the rabbi of Amsterdam, but it could just be that I have discovered an ancestor whose existence I did not know. Maybe he was not a rabbi and was only called a rabbi because he was a teacher. I am certainly not a descendant in the direct line, but perhaps he was a cousin of my father and therefore a real Jacobs. And if it is even slightly correct, I should definitely share that with Claire as well. Claire, I hear you ask. Who is Claire?
Claire and I share the same great-grandparents Salomon Levie Jacobs and Froukje Jacobs-Leek, who both passed away about a hundred years ago. About ten years ago we stood together in the cemetery of the Jewish Community in Muiderberg. We look alike and according to my wife have the same facial features. I also think that we both have mixed feelings about Aletta Jacobs with whom we both have the same family relationship. Proud of her commitment to equal rights for women and the prevailing discrimination, but we both also have difficulty with certain parts of her struggle / life vision in the field of ethics.
Claire and I are both from the orthodox core of the Jewish community. My dear caring and overprotective father has always told me that there must be one more person alive from the Jacobs family. A great-niece named Claire, granddaughter of his Aunt Bella, his father’s sister. My grandfather Jacobs had a sister and three brothers. All murdered with children, children by marriage and grandchildren. A cousin, Sampe, had survived the war but lost his wife and child in one of the camps. He was the only member of Jacobs’s side at my parents’ wedding in 1948. Sampe, my father told me, was deeply depressed and remarried a woman from Manchester. A girl is born who is named Claire. Sampe dies shortly after birth. Claire’s mother remarries. With whom and where my father did not know. But I have not forgotten the name Claire.
About ten years ago I received a phone call from the Jewish Community of The Hague. A certain Claire is looking for her origins. She lives in Melbourne. I didn’t have to think long, took the phone and talked to Claire, my grand-niece, the only still alive Jacobs. She wanted to know who her grandparents had been and also details about her father. Her mother had been married to him for only a short time and, in fact, knew very little about him. Because my father was on the verge of dementia at the time, I told Claire that if she wanted to hear more details from my father about her grandfather and grandmother, she should come now. And so I met Claire a week later. That feeling was very special. Even now, when I think back, tears come to my eyes. My grandfather and her grandmother were brother and sister. After she met my father, we went to Muiderberg together and stood before the graves of Salomon Levie Jacobs and Froukje Jacobs-Leek, our joint great-grandparents. Claire was raised by her mother and second father. But she was not told that her stepfather was not her real father. That stepfather never distinguished between Claire and the children born later. Mother and stepfather did not want to burden her with the real father who was no longer there.
Whether that was ethically correct or incorrect is no longer relevant. So her mother and stepfather had decided with the best of intentions in the world. Two weeks before her chuppah wedding, they told her husband-to-be that Claire’s real father is no longer alive. He, the husband-to-be, wanted Claire to find out, too, but because of the potential emotional blow, they decided to wait until a week after the wedding. She heard it, absorbed it, processed it emotionally, but did nothing with it. She was just married, building a family, then children … and then, ten years ago, when the children had left home and she and her husband had the wealth to themselves, she wanted to know: “Who were my grandparents and who was my father? ”
I was able to find someone who knew her father very well. We found the graves of her father’s parents and we found each other. Actually, we are just distant relatives, two people who had never met each other before. But we are both descendants of the same great-grandparents, we live in their footsteps, are both known to be the only survivors of that large Jacobs family. We both thanked G-d for being allowed to stand there together in the cemetery of the Jewish Community of Amsterdam, because we realized that most of the graves in the Jewish cemeteries will never be visited by anyone, because there is no one left. And while I was close to closing my diary, I received an email invitation from Claire to the chuppah of one of her grandchildren on January 5th in Monroe New York.
And now that e-mail from Wollongong, Australia. Maybe another Jacobs will turn up after all: Hijman Jacobs. I’m waiting!

Mr Romano Bolkovic- Our New Chief Co-ordinator for Southeast Europe of Committee for combatting Antisemitism

The EJA is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Romano Bolkovic as our Chief Co-ordinator for Southeast Europe on our Committee for Combatting Antisemitism.
Mr Bolkovic is a great friend of the Association and well known to anybody in Croatia where his journalistic talents, as well as wide network of contacts in political, cultural and economic life, are exemplary and without compare.
He is an editor and journalist at Croatian Television where he hosts a weekly prime-time interview called “Romano Bolković – 1 on 1”, whose guests include Presidents and Prime Ministers of European countries, as well as those engaged in the social, cultural and political life in Croatia, the region and across Europe.
He wrote for leading Croatian newspapers such as “Globus”, “Jutarnji list” and “Večernji list”, and is a regular columnist for “Objektiv” and “Storybook”. A member of the Croatian Writers’ Association and of the presidency of the Croatian Social Liberal Party, he is also a Commander of the European Order of St. George of the House of Habsburg-Lothringen. He lives in Zagreb and Berlin.

Protesters mass in France, Israel, UK to demand justice for Sarah Halimi

In France, some 25,000 demonstrate against court decision that Jewish woman’s killer was too stoned to be held criminally responsible
Protesters gathered in Paris, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and London on Sunday to demonstrate against the ruling of France’s highest court that the killer of a Jewish woman in the French capital was not criminally responsible because he had smoked marijuana before the crime.
Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old Orthodox Jewish woman, was pushed out of the window of her Paris flat to her death in 2017 by neighbor Kobili Traore, who shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great” in Arabic).
But in a decision earlier this month, the Court of Cassation’s Supreme Court of Appeals upheld rulings by lower tribunals that Traore cannot stand trial because he was too high on marijuana to be criminally responsible for his actions.
Some 25,000 protesters, many of them Jewish, gathered in Paris to demand justice for Halimi.
Under the banner of “Justice for Sarah Halimi,” the rally at Trocadero Square overlooking the Eiffel Tower reflected the widespread indignation of many French Jews at the April 14 ruling by their country’s highest court.
It was held under tight security arrangements in a cordoned-off enclosure where the Jewish umbrella group CRIF played a video on a giant screen in which French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia demanded another “trial of facts,” even if it ends without sentencing of Traore.
The rally Sunday was the first time in decades that a large number of French Jews gathered to protest against organs or actions of the French state.
“The clamor has risen and hope has returned. That hope is all of you here,” Halimi’s brother William Attal told a crowd of several thousand at the Trocadero esplanade in Paris.
The MP who leads Macron’s Republic on the Move party, Christophe Castaner, addressed the protest, which was also attended by opposition leaders and by several well-known actors.
Jacques Essebag, a French-Jewish comedian who is known by the stage name Arthur, in a video message said he has “decided to start using drugs because in France you can do whatever you want, even kill your neighbor if you don’t like her, if you use drugs.” He then added: “What has become of this country?”
Former French first lady Carla Bruni, wife of Nicolas Sarkozy, also appeared at the Paris rally, as did Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who said the city would soon name a street in Halimi’s memory.
“It will also be a way of doing her justice,” Hidalgo said.
However, the video message from Hidalgo, a Socialist politician, provoked whistles and booing from many protesters at the event, which did not feature live speeches due to COVID-19 measures.
Organized by the CRIF umbrella of French Jewish communities, the rally was called “to show our astonishment at a decision that conforms to the law, but not to justice,” CRIF said.
The event featured many French and Israeli flags, and those of the far-right Jewish Defense League.
More than 20,000 people demonstrated in Paris, and up to 2,000 took part in a march in the Mediterranean city of Marseille, police said, while around 600 gathered outside a synagogue in the eastern city of Strasbourg.
Three protests were also held in Israel, all taking place at 3 p.m. in order to coincide with the demonstration by the Jewish community in Paris. The main demonstration was in front of the French Embassy on Herbert Samuel Street in Tel Aviv.
The Jewish community in the United Kingdom also demonstrated in front of the French Embassy in London on Sunday at 1 p.m., in solidarity with the community in France. Attendance was limited because of COVID-19 restrictions.
In addition to the rally in Paris, protest rallies were planned to take place on Sunday in Marseille, Strasbourg and Lyon. Abroad, rallies were scheduled to be held in Washington, DC, Los Angeles and Miami in the United States as well as in Rome, Italy.
Some Jewish organizations have used harsh language about the case, including the conservative Europe-Israel group, which called it “the new Dreyfus Trial.” It’s a reference to the anti-Semitic treason charges leveled at a French-Jewish soldier in 1894, and which many to this day believe showed that French society and European societies, in general, were too anti-Semitic to allow Jews to truly integrate.
Israel blasted the decision of the French court last week.
“Sarah Halimi was murdered for clearly anti-Semitic motivations, for the sole reason that she was a Jew,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Hayat told The Times of Israel. “This was a despicable murder that harmed not only the victim herself and her family, but also the entire Jewish community’s sense of security.”
“The way to confront anti-Semitism is through education, zero tolerance, and heavy punishment,” Hayat continued. “This is not the message that the court’s ruling conveys.”
Sarah Halimi was beaten before she was thrown off her Paris apartment building’s roof in April 2017. (Courtesy of the Halimi family)
Critics of the ruling cited apparent composure by Traore, an immigrant from Mali who was 27 when he killed Halimi, a physician in her 60s. Traore, whom a lower court said targeted Halimi because she was Jewish, called her a demon as he pummeled her in her third-story apartment, which he entered by force.
He then threw her out the window and shouted: “A lady fell down from the window!” to cover up his actions, witnesses said. He left the scene, allegedly to escape it, and was arrested on a nearby street.
Others argue that even if Traore was psychotic, he was criminally liable when he took the drugs that made him psychotic and should therefore stand trial. He has no documented history of psychiatric problems.
French President Emmanuel Macron has said he would advance legislation to prevent criminals from avoiding trial by using an insanity defense for actions committed under the influence of drugs.
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בכיר ביוטיוב: "מנסים להקשות על פרסום שנאה והסתה"

משלחת של כ-100 שרים, חברי פרלמנט, סנאטורים ודיפלומטים מרחבי אירופה התכנסה בגיא ההריגה בבאבי יאר באוקראינה – מקום הרצחם של יותר מ-30,000 יהודים על ידי הנאצים ומשתפי פעולה בזמן השואה. המחוקקים וקובעי המדיניות האירופאים נענו להזמנת איגוד הארגונים היהודיים באירופה EJA והגיעו לבירת אוקראינה ערב יום השואה הבינלאומי והאתגרים הגיאופוליטיים. מנהל המדיניות הציבורית של יוטיוב, באירופה, מרקו פנצ’יני, סקר בפניי באי הכנס את האסטרטגיה של החברה למאבק בשיח שנאה והסתה.
קודם לביקור בגיא ההריגה בבאבי יאר, התכנסו המחוקקים האירופים לכינוס מיוחד שיזם יו”ר ה-‘EJA הרב מנחם מרגולין ודנו בדרכים אופרטיביות ואפקטיביות למאבק באנטישמיות הגוברת ברחבי היבשת – הן במערכות החינוך הפורמליות, הן ברשתות החברתיות.
במהלך הוועידה, הוחלט על הקמתן של קבוצות עבודה פרלמנטריות ייעודיות למאבק באנטישמיות שיוקמו בבתי מחוקקים ברחבי היבשת ויפעלו לגיבוש ותיאום חקיקה וקווים מנחים למאבק באנטישמיות ובניסיונות הכחשה וטיוח של השואה.
הרב מנחם מרגולין יו”ר איגוד הקהילות היהודיות ומרכז רבני אירופה: “כדי לחסן את העולם מהמגיפה הנוראה של האנטישמיות, כדי להגן על הילדים של כולנו משנאת האחר, אי אפשר עוד להשאיר את לימוד השואה כנושא וולונטרי או כשיעור אחד או שניים בלימודי היסטוריה. לימוד השואה ולקחיה חייב להיות נדבך מרכזי בהקניית כישורי החיים של הדור הצעיר – בבתי הספר, כמו גם באוניברסיטאות וזה צריך להיות מעוגן בחקיקה מחייבת ולא כהמלצה בלבד”.

הרב מנחם מרגולין, יו”ר איגוד הארגונים היהודים באירופה (EJA) • קרדיט: יוסי זליגר
עוד אמר הרב מרגולין: “לא מספיק יום בלוח השנה. אין די בטקסים. אפילו לא בהכרזות של פוליטיקאים. כדי לחסן את העולם מהמגיפה הנוראה של האנטישמיות, כדי להגן על הילדים של כולנו משנאת האחר, עלינו להשכיל ולהבין שלימוד השואה ולקחיה לא יכול להישאר כלימוד פרק אחד או שניים בשיעורי ההיסטוריה. לימוד השואה ולקחיה חייב להיות נדבך מרכזי בהקניית כישורי החיים של הדור הצעיר – בבית הספר, כמו גם באוניברסיטאות. זה חשוב לאירופה ולעולם לא פחות משזה חשוב לעם היהודי או לכל לאום או מגזר או מגדר באוכלוסייה כזאת או אחרת”.
בכינוס השתתפו רבנים רבים מאירופה, הרב משה ראובן אסמן רבה של אוקראינה, והרב בנימין יעקובס הרב הראשי להולנד וחבר נשיאות מרכז רבני אירופה.
גם רבה של אומן הרב יעקב ג’אן השתתף במשלחת רבנים ודיפלומטים אירופאים לבאבי יאר, לציון יום השואה הבינלאומי, האירוע נערך בשיתוף הפדרציה היהודית באוקראינה בראשותו של היו”ר הרב מאיר סטמבלר.

הרב מנחם מרגולין, יו”ר איגוד הקהילות היהודיות ומרכז רבני אירופה, הרב בנימין יעקובס רבה של אולנד, הרב משה ראובן אסטמן רבה של אוקראינה עם רבה של אומן הרב יעקב ג’אן

נשיא הפרלמנט של אוקראינה, רוסלן סטפנצ’וק ציין כי: “אוקראינה היא המדינה עם הכמות הרביעית הגבוהה ביותר בעולם של חסידי אומות עולם. הפרלמנט האוקראיני אימץ לאחרונה חוק למלחמה באנטישמיות והנצחת השואה במדינה. זיכרון, מחקר והנצחה, הם הדרכים היחידות להילחם באנטישמיות”, אמר. “הזוועות קרו כולן כי אנשים שתקו כתוצאה מפחד, אדישות ואגואיזם – ועלינו לחנך את דור העתיד כדי שינהג אחרת”.
ג’ואל מרגי, נשיא הקונסיסטואר של יהודי פריז, הקהילה היהודית הגדולה באירופה, שיתף את החששות של הקהילה היהודית בצרפת ערב יום השואה הבינלאומי: “סטטיסטיקה שנתית מראה שמספר התקריות האנטישמיות בשנת 2021 גדל בצרפת בהשוואה לשנת 2020. במיוחד עלייה באלימות. יש עלייה של קיצוניות בצרפת, באירופה ובשאר העולם. זה מאוד מדאיג מכיוון שהאנטישמיות הזו מגיעה הן מהימין הקיצוני והן מהשמאל הקיצוני וגם מהאסלאמיזם. במלחמה בשנאה יש להתייחס ספציפית לאנטישמיות. ד”ר מרגי קרא למנות נושא תפקיד האחראי למאבק באנטישמיות בכל מדינה באירופה. “למרבה הצער לעתים קרובות, מדינות ממנות אדם האחראי למלחמה בשנאה. אך יש להתייחס לכל צורה של שנאה אחרת”.
מנהל המדיניות הציבורית של יוטיוב, באירופה, מרקו פנצ’יני, סקר בפניי באי הכנס את האסטרטגיה של החברה למאבק בשיח שנאה והסתה וציין: “מה שאנחנו מנסים לעשות זה להקשות ככל האפשר על פרסום דבריי שנאה והסתה על גבי הפלטפורמה שלנו. בכל פעם שאנחנו מוצאים משהו שמנוגד למדיניות שלנו לגביי שיח שנאה, אנחנו לא רק מסירים אותו אלא גם מזהים את המרכיבים בקטע התוכן הזה והאלגוריתמים שלנו מחפשים תוכן דומה. בנוסף, יש לנו מומחים שיכולים להתמודד עם תוכן כזה גם בהרבה במגוון רחב של שפות שאינן אנגלית”.
הרב מאיר סטמבלר, יו”ר פדרציית הקהילות היהודיות באוקראינה, אמר כי “הקהילות היהודיות במדינה מתחדשות בתמיכה מלאה של השלטונות. קיימת דואליות רבה ביחס לגיבורי האומה שהיו גם אנטישמים ואנחנו מתריעים על כך אבל מבינים שזו אומה שהולכת ונבנית מחדש לאחר 70 שנות קומוניזם וכמי שמתהלך ברחובות קייב עם כל הסממנים של יהודי דתי, אני חייב לציין שבקייב אני מרגיש הרבה יותר בטוח כיהודי מאשר בפריז, בריסל, לונדון או כל בירה אירופית אחרת”.
https://www.bhol.co.il/news/1330699?utm_source=whatsapp&utm_medium=robot

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