A whole of society approach to countering online antisemitism.

The Status Quo

Antisemitism continues to threaten Jewish life, culture and safety in 2023. Attacks on Jewish people and sites reportedly reached record high levels in many countries in the last year. By amplifying hateful, prejudicial and extremist ideologies, antisemitism poses a threat to democracy and endangers the realisation of human rights– on- and offline. Antisemitism violates fundamental rights, especially the right to human dignity, the right to equality of treatment and the freedom of thought, conscience and religion. While a substantial amount of antisemitic incidents are committed by individuals affiliated with— or influenced by— extremist movements, antisemitic attitudes are not just a problem among  political fringes. These beliefs are instead “deeply rooted” in mainstream society, where antisemitic discourses have  become increasingly “normalised”. ISD’s analysis has revealed that antisemitism is on the rise online – finding a seven-fold increase in French antisemitic content on Twitter, Facebook and Telegram between 2020 and 2021, and over a 13-fold increase in antisemitic content in German. Considering how closely intertwined offline incidents are related to online activity, it is essential to find holistic responses to address online antisemitism. 

The reality is that the research landscape is currently fragmented, and there is no way to truly measure the reach of this online threat as of yet. Efforts have mainly been driven by  a small group of Jewish civil society organisations and related stakeholders. However, much of this work has not been coordinated across sectors and geographies, efforts have often  been duplicated due to a lack of communication, best practices lost, and results haven’t been shared. Thus, it is of the utmost importance to create a space of exchange, in order to share best practices and to research the threat landscape of online antisemitism. 

Solution

The independent pilot project aimed at building a Coalition to Counter Online Antisemitism (CCOA), funded by google.org/TIDES Foundation through 2025. It will bring together a broad range of stakeholders working on antisemitism— e.g. CSOs, cities, businesses, practitioners and citizen initiatives to create a new set of partnerships to counter online antisemitism at scale. Working to amplify existing best practice, the coalition will build bridges between research, educational measures and policy changes. During the pilot phase, the project primarily focuses on five countries: Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Sweden. 

Three working groups are involved in the areas of research, education, and policy, while contributing and sharing results across the sectors. Research results inform the development of educational material. 

Method 

A strong coalition aiming for a whole-of-society approach between Jewish organisations, government officials, CSOs, platforms and the private sector to facilitate information and research sharing targeting online antisemitism, the exchange of best practices of intervention models and a common roadmap to develop policy solutions to combat online antisemitism will be developed by different working groups. 

ISD Germany will conduct a stakeholder mapping to ensure all relevant CSOs and communities, private sector, sports, the cultural sector as well as key policy makers and law enforcement are involved.  

Research working group: ISD will establish and coordinate a pipeline of crosscutting, international analysis, and research into the network to bridge the gap between the threat landscape analysis conducted by ISD and other thought leaders in this space, and building action on the ground – with a particular focus on how platform systems may present risks in the online antisemitism domain. 

Education working group: The working group will build an international network of multipliers to counter antisemitism via developing a training toolkit for practitioners, law enforcement, government officials and youth. Sub-grants will be given to innovative ideas that build synergies between sectors.

Policy working group: ISD will scope and help disseminate best practice interventions and share evidence-based solutions to promote advocacy power and policy development with a focus on a deepened intersectional understanding of the hybridised threat landscape of online antisemitism. 

A final report will outline the coalition's key findings, including research results, recommendations to policymakers, and an overview of effective educational interventions. 

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Project CCOA team

Huberta von Voss
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Huberta von Voss

Executive Director, ISD Germany

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Huberta von Voss
Huberta von Voss

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.
Jacob Davey
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Jacob Davey

Director of Policy & Research, Counter-Hate

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Jacob Davey
Jacob Davey

Director of Policy & Research, Counter-Hate

Jacob Davey is the Director of Research & Policy for Far-right and Hate Movements at ISD. Jacob has managed projects focusing on online hate speech, the international far-right and political violence. He has led a number of projects piloting novel models for identifying extremist conversation and hate speech online, including analysis tracking hate groups in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, and is currently leading a major programme of work mitigating hate threats in the US. He has advised national and local policymakers on right-wing extremism, including the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament. Jacob has managed and co-authored numerous ISD reports including Between Conspiracy and Extremism: A Long COVID Threat?, ISD’s Gaming and Extremism Series, and A Safe Space to Hate: White Supremacist Mobilisation on Telegram.
Sina Laubenstein
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Sina Laubenstein

Director of Programs, ISD Germany

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Sina Laubenstein
Sina Laubenstein

Director of Programs, ISD Germany

Sina Laubenstein is the Director of Programs for ISD Germany, designing and implementing the regional strategy of the Berlin-based entity and driving the strategic expansion of ISD’s portfolio in Europe. She is responsible for the inter-entity collaboration, connecting ISD Germany’s outputs and objectives to the global organisation and the wider team. At ISD, Sina is also leading a project on monitoring online gender-based violence around the 2024 European election and is co-leading the Coalition to Counter Online-Antisemitism (CCOA). She additionally was the co-developer behind the curriculum of the Business Council for Democracy (BC4D). Sina previously consulted on a law against digital violence, advising policymakers and the German government, and up until 2021, as a recognised expert in the field, she led an international project focusing on hate speech online.
Nathalie Rücker
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Nathalie Rücker

Senior Manager, Capacity Building & Civic Action, ISD Germany

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Nathalie Rücker
Nathalie Rücker

Senior Manager, Capacity Building & Civic Action, ISD Germany

Nathalie Rücker is Senior Manager, Capacity Building and Civic Action for ISD Germany. She manages the Business Council for Democracy (BC4D) project and also co-leads the project "Pan European Coalition against Online Antisemitism" (CCOA). Previously, Nathalie worked at the intersection of peacebuilding research, conflict prevention and human rights education, in Germany and abroad, focusing on global citizenship education and the capacity building of civil society actors. She holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in Public International Law and International Relations and is a trained conflict mediator.