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). ISD later documented increased antisemitic conversations linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
ISD is currently partnering with the European Commission on mapping online antisemitism in French and German in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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ISD’s Polarisation and Hate Speech team
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