American Jewish Committee Launches Media Campaign To Step Up Fight Against Online Antisemitism
The statistics that chart the rise in antisemitism online and on social media are nothing short of alarming.
The latest State of Antisemitism in America report by the American Jewish Committee found that two-thirds of American Jews surveyed had seen antisemitic content online or on social media. That number jumps to 85% for Jewish adults under 30, and one in four of those respondents said those online incidents made them feel physically threatened.
But beyond the numbers lies the true impact of antisemitism when it is seen, heard, or poses a physical threat.
Telling that story is the impetus behind a new media campaign from the American Jewish Committee (AJC). At its core are four short videos that highlight the pride as well as the peril of being a Jew in America. The campaign also features non-Jewish allies to emphasize that antisemitism is not just a Jewish problem; it is one that all of society needs to solve.
“The Jewish people and their allies will stand up to antisemitism, not run from it,” said AJC CEO Ted Deutch. “These videos will not only be a source of inspiration for many Jews; seeing these people speak so forcefully and passionately about their Jewish identity filled me with pride. We have many challenges to take on as a people but if these videos are any indication, the Jewish future is bright.”
The issue of online antisemitism has become a priority, given that social media platforms make it easy to conceal an identity. Commenters often don’t hold back their hate, as one woman, Rena, found out.
“TikTok has been an awful place to be as an out Jew,” she said in one video. “The comment that stood out to me the most was ‘Hitler should have done a better job.’”
The videos also highlight when antisemitism is not just ugly but dangerous. One person, Azriel, talks about one incident that now makes him think twice about wearing a yarmulke in public.
“I was walking home from Shabbat dinner one night. I got surrounded by a group of guys,” Azriel says while becoming visibly emotional. “Got yelled at, just called a lot of slurs. It became really scary after that. After that, I took off my kippah.”
Indeed, the State of Antisemitism in America 2022 report found nearly four in 10 American Jews said they have changed their behavior in public at least once out of fear of antisemitism.
The campaign begins just as AJC has launched a task force to help implement the White House national strategy to counter antisemitism announced in May. The strategy features dozens of recommendations offered by AJC.
Some mirror AJC’s Call to Action Against Antisemitism, a society-wide guide that includes a comprehensive plan social media companies can take to strengthen hate-speech policies and take a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism. The videos are accompanied by a link to a petition that calls on social media companies to crack down on antisemitism.
The videos and related materials will appear on AJC’s social media channels and be part of an extensive digital campaign urging people to take action against online antisemitism.
Another AJC video series, tied to the release of the previous AJC antisemitism report, has received over 14 million views.
The series also reinforces the need for all people to act against antisemitism and includes allies of the Jewish community amplifying the need to fight anti-Jewish hate.
Toward that end, the videos also feature comments from non-Jewish allies including Father Nicolas, a Greek Orthodox priest. “If we don’t speak out, we are putting ourselves in danger,” he said.
It is that kind of allyship that the videos explain is both welcome and needed. Each ends with a simple plea: “Join us.”
AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 25 offices across the United States, 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world.