Jewish Agency chief: Social media are anti-Semitic ‘killing fields’

Jewish Agency head Isaac Herzog painted a grim picture of rising anti-Semitism fueled by platforms of online hate at a conference on Monday.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Head of the Jewish Agency Isaac Herzog used sharply worded metaphors to describe the dangers of online activity in spreading anti-Semitism globally, describing social media as “killing fields” and “a hotbed of the lunatics of the world.” Herzog made his comments on Monday at the Conference of Presidents National Leadership meeting in Jerusalem.

“The political divide whereby extremists from the extreme right and the extreme left use anti-Semitism to serve their needs, plus the culture of hate emanating from social media where the real dirt of the world express themselves, creates a platform of haters which is very dangerous,” Herzog said.

Herzog linked various anti-Semitic incidents together as part of a global phenomenon, pointing to the Pittsburgh massacre, in which 11 Jews were gunned down by a man who spewed anti-Semitic attitudes online and to the more recent verbal assault on French-Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, who was accosted by “yellow vest” protesters in Paris last weekend.

“The recent event in which Professor Alain Finkielkraut, a French Jew walking the streets of Paris, was chased and attacked by anti-Semitic extremists telling him to get out of the country and cursing him as a Zionist, is shocking,” Herzog said. “This incident and that of the attack in Pittsburgh and other anti-Semitic attacks around the world don’t stand alone.”

Herzog called for improved security at Jewish institutions, improved education on the history of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, and suggested that the definition of anti-Semitism established by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance be adopted as legislation by European Union countries.

The meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations runs through Thursday.