Over the last several years, there has been an alarming increase in antisemitic incidents across the globe, with many originating online. As social media posts do not stop at international borders, members of the national legislatures of Australia, Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States came together last month across party lines to launch the Inter-Parliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Antisemitism.
Members of the task force include Member of Knesset Michal Cotler-Wunsh (Blue and White, Israel), Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather (Liberal, Canada), MP Marty Morantz (Conservative, Canada), Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Democrat, United States), Congressman Ted Deutch (Democrat, United States), Congressman Chris Smith (Republican, United States), MP Josh Burns (Labour, Australia), MP Dave Sharma (Liberal, Australia), MP Andrew Percy (Conservative, United Kingdom) and MP Alex Sobel (Labour and Cooperative, United Kingdom).
The launch of the task force follows campaigns working to expose online antisemitism, including the #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate campaign that served as a global call to action to combat the virulent antisemitism that goes unaddressed or inadequately addressed on social media platforms.
The task force has the following goals:
- Establishing consistent messaging and policy from parliaments and legislatures around the world in order to hold social media platforms – including Twitter, TikTok, Facebook and Google – accountable.
- The adoption and publication of transparent policies related to hate speech.
- Raising awareness about antisemitism on social media platforms and its consequences in order to acknowledge the tremendous responsibility that comes with the power the platforms hold.
- Emphasizing that, if one minority cannot be protected by hate speech policies, then none can be. This task force will, therefore, serve as a means for protecting all minority groups from online hate.
- Underscoring that the fight against antisemitism is a non-partisan consensus in democratic countries.
“Always and at this time in particular, as we stand united in fighting a global pandemic, another virus rages that requires global collaboration and cooperation,” stated Cotler-Wunsh. “By working with multi-partisan allies in parliaments around the world, we hope to create best practices and real change in holding the social media giants accountable to the hatred that exists on their platforms. It is imperative that we work together to expose the double standards.”
Housefather said, “Online hate, including antisemitic hate, is growing exponentially. Posts are viewed across national borders and impact people in many jurisdictions. Social media platforms have failed to adequately address hatred on their own. But they cannot be expected to create different policies in every separate country. By working together, we can create international definitions and recommendations for regulating social media platforms that can then be reviewed and hopefully implemented by each individual country.”
Morantz added, “Online hate is an abhorrent reality on social media platforms. I am honoured to work on a bipartisan basis with my Canadian colleagues, as well as international colleagues, to find solutions that keep all those safe who might suffer from online hate, antisemitism and discrimination.”