Parliamentarians from around the world have hatched a plan to fight online anti-Semitism by getting top companies involved. The MPs plan to track their progress at an international confrence in the United States next year.
“We are going to try to engage YouTube and the Googles and the social-media sites in relation to the jihadist propaganda on the Internet,” Canadian MP John Mann told Canada’s Globe and Mail. The goal is to get companies to move quickly on reports of racial hatred, he explained.
The MPs, members of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (ICCA), ratified the Ottawa Protocol this week. The protocol said, “We are alarmed by the explosion of anti-Semitism and hate on the Internet, a medium crucial for the promotion and protection of freedom of expression.”
The protocol also called on universities to combat anti-Semitism “with the same seriousness with which they confront other forms of hate.”
At the Ottawa Conference, MPs noted the need to move beyond traditional notions of anti-Semitism, and to understand that new forms of hate – particularly hatred of Israel – are also anti-Semitic. “Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is wrong. But singling Israel out for selective condemnation and opprobrium – let alone denying its right to exist or seeking its destruction – is discriminatory and hateful,” they said.
The conference was “the largest ever international parliamentary gathering on anti-Semitism,” according to organizers. It drew participants from countries that had not sent delegates to the previous ICCA meeting, which was held in London in 2009. New representatives came from Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, Mann said.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke at the event and warned against anti-Semitism disguised as criticism of Israel. “Harnessing disparate anti-American, anti-Semitic and anti-Western ideologies, it targets the Jewish people by targeting the Jewish homeland, Israel, as the source of injustice and conflict in the world and uses, perversely, the language of human rights to do so… We must be relentless in exposing this new anti-Semitism for what it is,” he said.
“History shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israel mob tells us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are in the longer term a threat to all of us,” Harper warned.