Antisemitism

Antisemitism is a unique and pervasive form of hate with a long, brutal history. Online trends have only amplified this.

Since ISD’s founding in 2006, challenging antisemitism worldwide has been a key focus for our organisation. The late Lord George Weidenfeld, a co-founder of ISD, spent his life fighting antisemitism throughout his illustrious career. These efforts informed the basis of a broader struggle against hate and intolerance worldwide.

Early efforts to address antisemitism began with the Club of Three, a policy-led dialogue between high level politicians, academics and activists to address issues regarding social cohesion and security cooperation, including antisemitism. These dialogues featured heads of state including Angela Merkel, Tony Blair and Shimon Peres.

In 2010, ISD seeded the Phoenix Initiative, an “inter-community initiative for a new centre ground” that brought together leading Muslim and Jewish leaders and thinkers to bridge gaps within their communities to tackle some of the harder and more divisive social issues in a way that would avoid resorting to reactionary narratives.

In 2018, ISD supported a number of civil society led initiatives in the UK through its £1m Google Innovation Fund, supported by Google.org. One of them, Muslims Against Antisemitism, built campaigns to reframe discussions of antisemitism within Muslim communities and tackle hate head on.

In 2020, ISD published a report, The Online Ecosystem of the German Far-Right, that documented the rising use of antisemitism in Germany, specifically showing that over half (56.9%) of mentions relating to Jewish people on the Kraut/pol/ threads on 4chan contained clearly antisemitic narratives. This research was based on the use of Method 52, a proprietary tool developed by ISD and the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM).

Later in 2020, ISD published a landmark study of Holocaust denial on Facebook and other social media platforms titled Hosting the ‘Holohoax’: A Snapshot of Holocaust Denial Across Social Media that received widespread coverage and helped evidence the civil society critical mass which saw Facebook change its policies on Holocaust denial on its platform.

During the 2020 US election campaigns, ISD worked with a number of American Jewish organisations to identify and respond to antisemitic trends in online hate speech. Much of this research was featured in a collaboration with prominent US-based Jewish affairs publication The Forward titled Fahrenheit 411.

Commissioned by the European Commission, ISD published a report, The Rise of Antisemitism Online During the Pandemic: A Study of French and German Content, on the prevalence of antisemitism designed to help shape and evidence the EU’s upcoming strategy on countering antisemitism, which will be presented at the end of 2021. The study provides insight on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on online antisemitism in France and Germany, analysing the platforms where such content is found, as well as the most prominent antisemitic narratives – comparing key similarities and differences between these different language contexts.

ISD’s Jakob Guhl (Manager, Policy & Research) has contributed a chapter about antisemitism in Facebook pages supportive of the UK Labour party, “’Everyone I know isn’t antisemitic’ – Antisemitism in Facebook Pages of the UK Labour Party” to an upcoming, interdisciplinary volume, Antisemitism on Social Media, that addresses online antisemitism (to be published by Routledge in March 2022). The volume will centre around the role of social media in the dissemination of antisemitism, and its impact on society at large, showing how social media is weaponised by antisemitic actors across the ideological spectrum.

In partnership with B’nai B’rith International and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), ISD is working on the development of a hands-on guide for both Jewish and non-Jewish civil society organisations across Europe (with a special focus on Germany) to counter antisemitism online. The project, titled “Stop Antisemitism Now – a guide to tackling Antisemitism online”, began in September 2021 and will run until February 2022. It is supported by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community.

Lord George Weidenfeld

The late Lord George Weidenfeld
Founder, Club of Three. Cambridge, UK, 2009

Muslims Against Antisemitism

Campaign image from ISD/Google Innovation Fund recipient Muslims Against Antisemitism
London, UK, 2018

Holocaust denial content

Breakdown of Facebook groups and pages
containing Holocaust denial material by ideology
from ISD’s Hosting the Holohoax report

Latest Polarisation and Hate Publications


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ISD’s Polarisation and Hate Speech team

Sasha Havlicek
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Sasha Havlicek

Co-Founder and CEO

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Sasha Havlicek
Sasha Havlicek

Co-Founder and CEO

Sasha Havlicek is Co-Founder and CEO of ISD, having spearheaded ISD’s pioneering research and data analysis, digital education, policy advisory, training, tech and communications programmes. With a background in conflict resolution and an expertise in extremism, digital information operations and electoral interference, she has advised a range of governments at the highest levels and has spearheaded partnerships with the UN, EU Commission and Global Counter-Terrorism Forum. She has also worked with the private and civil society sectors to promote innovation, including developing major programmes run in partnership with Google, FB and Microsoft. Sasha serves as an expert advisor to the UK Counter-Extremism Commission and the Mayor of London’s counter-extremism programme, and is a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations. Sasha previously served as Senior Director at the EastWest Institute where she led conflict resolution programming. Sasha has testified before US Congress, the UK Parliament and is a regular commentator in the media (CNN, BBC, Channel 4 News and other networks).
Huberta von Voss-Wittig
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Huberta von Voss-Wittig

Executive Director, ISD Germany

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Huberta von Voss-Wittig
Huberta von Voss-Wittig

Executive Director, ISD Germany

Huberta von Voss is Executive Director at ISD Germany, where she has led the expansion of ISD's German office since 2019. She has previously been part of the leadership team of the New York based NGO Seeds of Peace. Her efforts as Director for Public Affairs and Communications led to steep digital growth, new media engagement, a Podcast series as well as a series of high level events in New York and Washington, D.C. Huberta is the author of "Portraits of Hope: The Armenians in the contemporary world" (Berghahn Books) as well as "Arme Kinder, reiches Land" (Rowohlt) on child poverty in post-reunification Germany. She has appeared on various German and international TV shows and is fluent in English and French. She serves on several boards, among them United Ways Germany, to foster social cohesion. Huberta was awarded the Leo Baeck Medal (2018) and the BGA Medal of Honor by the British-German Association. She is a member of the Young Leader network of the BMW Foundation and an alumni of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.
Milo Comerford
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Milo Comerford

Head of Policy & Research, Counter-Extremism

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Milo Comerford
Milo Comerford

Head of Policy & Research, Counter-Extremism

Milo Comerford is Head of Policy & Research, Counter Extremism, leading ISD’s work developing innovative research approaches and policy responses to extremism. Milo regularly briefs senior decision makers around the world on the challenge posed by extremist ideologies, and advises governments and international agencies on building effective strategies for countering extremism. He was previously Senior Analyst at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, where he led major research projects on Salafi-jihadi propaganda, international educational responses to extremism, and the transnational far right. His writing and research features frequently in international media and he has made recent broadcast appearances on BBC News, Sky News and Al Jazeera.
Jacob Davey
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Jacob Davey

Head of Research & Policy, Far-right and Hate Movements

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Jacob Davey
Jacob Davey

Head of Research & Policy, Far-right and Hate Movements

Jacob Davey is Head of Research & Policy of Far-right and Hate Movements. His research focuses on the role of digital communications in inter-communal conflict, internet culture, online hate speech and the international far-right. He has led a number of projects piloting novel models for identifying extremist conversation online as well as interventions to counter this phenomenon. He has advised national and local policymakers on right-wing extremism, including the Home Affairs Select Committee, and has lead trainings with frontline practitioners on the mobilisation strategies of extremist groups. He has provided commentary on extremism-related issues in a number of platforms including The Guardian, The Independent, and The BBC, and also sits as a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right. He is the co-author of ISD reports Hosting the ‘Holohoax’: A Snapshot of Holocaust Denial Across Social Media, The Interplay Between Australia’s Political Fringes on the Right and Left: Online Messaging on Facebook, The Genesis of a Conspiracy Theory, A Safe Space to Hate: White Supremacist Mobilisation on Telegram, An Online Environmental Scan of Right-wing Extremism in Canada, The Fringe Insurgency – Connectivity, Convergence and Mainstreaming of the Extreme Right, Counter-Conversations: A model for direct engagement with individuals showing signs of radicalisation online, “Mainstreaming Mussolini” – How the Extreme Right Attempted to ‘Make Italy Great Again’ in the 2018 Italian Election, ‘The Great Replacement’: The Violent Consequences of Mainstreamed Extremism, and An imprecise science: Assessing interventions for the prevention, disengagement and de-radicalisation of left and right-wing extremists.
Rashad Ali
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Rashad Ali

Resident Senior Fellow

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Rashad Ali
Rashad Ali

Resident Senior Fellow

Rashad Ali is a Resident Senior Fellow at ISD. Rashad is a counter terrorism practitioner who works on deradicalisation initiatives alongside Prisons, Probation Services, Police and community groups. He was formerly a national leadership member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the revolutionary Islamist organisation and has been actively involved in undermining its extreme ideology and perversion of Muslim faith since his departure. As a researcher he has given testimony and contributed submissions to the Home Affairs Select Committee on Radicalisation, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Intelligence and has briefed the London Mayor's office on Counter Terrorism and has been consulted by think tanks and governments in Germany, Denmark, the EU and the US. He is an external lecturer for Derby University’s Master Class courses on Radicalisation and Counter Terrorism. He has written for The Observer, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Times, Dissent Magazine, Birlingske in Denmark, Conservative Home, and given commentary for Newsnight, BBC News. He is the author of Islam, Shariah and the Far Right published by Demoqratiya journal, A Guide to Refuting Jihadism published by HJS and EFD, and the author of the ISD report Blasphemy, Charlie Hebdo, and the Freedom of Belief and Expression. He is classically trained in Islamic theology and jurisprudence and Modern studies in Islam. He studied at al-Azhar University, Cairo, and the Markfield Institute.
Jennie King
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Jennie King

Senior Policy Manager

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Jennie King
Jennie King

Senior Policy Manager

Jennie King is a Senior Policy Manager at ISD. She supports programme design, policy outreach and strategy across the organisation. Jennie previously served as MENA Regional Director Arts, Assistant Country Director Egypt and Co-Director Hungary for the British Council, the UK’s international body for cultural relations. She also served as an Attaché for the Guatemalan Diplomatic Mission. She is the co-author of the ISD report Hoodwinked: Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour on Facebook. Jennie read Arabic and Spanish at Pembroke College, Cambridge, receiving a Foundation Scholarship and the Marie Shamma’a Frost Prize for Oriental Studies.
Till Baaken
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Till Baaken

Senior Manager, Projects and Development, ISD Germany

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Till Baaken
Till Baaken

Senior Manager, Projects and Development, ISD Germany

Till Baaken is a Senior Projects and Development Manager at ISD Germany, focusing on right-wing extremism and Islamism as well as disinformation and conspiracy theories in German-speaking and English-speaking countries. His articles have been published in a range of publications, including the Journal for Deradicalization and the International Journal of Conflict and Violence. He has also contributed to several books and handbooks on radicalisation and de-radicalisation. He is the co-author of the ISD reports Disinformation Overdose: A study of the Crisis of Trust among Vaccine Sceptics and Anti-Vaxxers, Fluchtwege. Wie das Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz auf etablierten sozialen Medien durch die Verlinkung zu alternativen Plattformen umgangen wird and Wegweiser – Hintergrundbericht für das Projekt »Radikalisierung in rechtsextremen Onlinesubkulturen entgegentreten«. Till holds an MA in Terrorism, Security and Society from King’s College London.
Jakob Guhl
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Jakob Guhl

Research Manager

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Jakob Guhl
Jakob Guhl

Research Manager

Jakob Guhl is a Manager at ISD, where he works within the Digital Research Unit and with ISD Germany. His research focuses on the far-right, Islamist extremism, hate speech, disinformation and conspiracy theories. He is a frequent commentator on German radio and broadcast, including Deutschlandfunk, Tagesthemen, NDR and Radio Eins. Jakob has been invited to present his research about online hate to the German Ministry of the Justice and provided evidence to the German Minister of the Interior and the German Family Minister on how to strengthen prevention against right-wing extremism and antisemitism. His research has been featured in Die Zeit, The Guardian, DW, The Telegraph, CNN, Euronews, Coda Story, Vice, Politico, New Republic and Die Welt, among others. Additionally, he has published articles in the “Journal for Deradicalisation”, “Demokratie gegen Menschenfeindlichkeit”, Taz, Der Standard, GNET and co-authored an essay for an edited volume of the Munich Residence Theatre about the origins of contemporary political anger. He is the co-author of ISD reports Crisis and Loss of Control: German-Language Digital Extremism in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Hosting the ‘Holohoax’: A Snapshot of Holocaust Denial Across Social Media, A Safe Space to Hate: White Supremacist Mobilisation on Telegram and The Online Ecosystem of the German Far-Right. Jakob holds an MA in Terrorism, Security and Society from King’s College London.
Aoife Gallagher
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Aoife Gallagher

Analyst

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Aoife Gallagher
Aoife Gallagher

Analyst

Aoife Gallagher is an Analyst on ISD’s Digital Analysis Unit, focusing on the intersection between far-right extremism, disinformation and conspiracy theories and using a mixture of data analysis, open source intelligence and investigative techniques to understand the online ecosystem where these ideas flourish and spread. Previously, Aoife was a journalist with the online news agency, Storyful. She is co-author of the ISD reports The Genesis of a Conspiracy Theory and Profit and Protest: How Facebook is struggling to enforce limits on ads spreading hate, lies and scams about the Black Lives Matter protests. Aoife has completed an MA in Journalism.
Ciaran O’Connor
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Ciaran O’Connor

Analyst

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Ciaran O’Connor
Ciaran O’Connor

Analyst

Ciaran O’Connor is an Analyst at ISD, working in the Research and Policy unit. Ciaran specialises in using open-source research to track and monitor disinformation and extremism online, with a particular focus on far-right activity and communication across open and closed networks and platforms. Ciaran is currently working on multiple ISD projects in analysing the intersection of misinformation and extremism with COVID-19 on social media. Ciaran previously worked as a journalist on the investigations team at Storyful, a social media news agency that specialises in the verification and analysis of amateur footage and misinformation online. He is the co-author of ISD reports The Boom Before the Ban: QAnon and Facebook and Disinformation briefing: Narratives around Black Lives Matter and voter fraud.
Lea Gerster
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Lea Gerster

Analyst

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Lea Gerster
Lea Gerster

Analyst

Lea Gerster is an Analyst at ISD and ISD Germany. She works across a range of projects focused on the proliferation of extremist ideologies and disinformation in the English- and German-speaking part of the internet. Previously, Lea worked for two years in online extremism-related roles at TRD Policy and the Centre on Radicalisation and Terrorism. She also worked as an intern for the Swiss foreign office and as a volunteer at a Japanese tea farm. She is the co-author of the ISD report Crisis and Loss of Control: German-Language Digital Extremism in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic. She holds an MA War Studies from King’s College London and a BA in history, Japan studies, and political sciences.
Julia Ebner
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Julia Ebner

Senior Research Fellow

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Julia Ebner
Julia Ebner

Senior Research Fellow

Julia Ebner is a Senior Research Fellow at ISD, specialising in far-right extremism, reciprocal radicalisation and European terrorism prevention initiatives. Julia advises parliamentary working groups, frontline workers and tech firms, and delivers workshops in schools and universities. She regularly writes for the Guardian and the Independent and has appeared on the BBC, CNN, ZDF, ARD, France24, Al Jazeera, LBC and others. She is the author of The Rage: The Vicious Circle of Islamist and Far-Right Extremism and is co-author of the ISD reports The Online Ecosystem of the German Far-Right, The Great Replacement: The Violent Consequences of Mainstreamed Extremism, Mainstreaming Mussolini – How the Extreme Right Attempted to ‘Make Italy Great Again’ in the 2018 Italian Election, The Fringe Insurgency – Connectivity, Convergence and Mainstreaming of the Extreme Right, and Hate at the push of a button. Julia holds an MSc (Dist) in International History from London School of Economics and an MSc (Dist) in International Relations from Peking University. She completed her undergraduate studies with a BA (Hons) in Philosophy and a BSc in International Business.