More than half-a-million Israeli social media posts in 2020 featured violent speech toward Palestinians, Arabs

More than half-a-million Israeli social media posts in 2020 featured violent speech toward Palestinians, Arabs
A new report has recorded a rise in hate speech and racist language used online by Israelis against Palestinians and Arabs.
2 min read
10 March, 2021
Anti-Palestinian comments spiked during the election. [Getty]

A new report has documented a 16 percent increase in anti-Palestinian racist speech and incitement by Israelis on social media platforms in 2020. 

The Index of Racism and Incitement in Israeli Social Networks produced by the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media (7amleh) reported that in 2020 there were 574,000 online conversations that included violent language directed at Palestinians and Arabs

This marked a 79,000 increase in posts containing violent speech directed at Palestinians and Arabs from the previous year. 

Figures released by the non-profit organisation showed that 1-in-10 Israeli posts about Palestinians and Arabs contained violent language

The majority of the posts, 64 percent, used some form of racist language, while 29 percent invoked hate speech. Inciting language was present in 7 percent of the posts.

By far the most popular platform used by Israelis to spread racist or inciting language was Twitter, where 61 percent of the posts appeared, followed by Facebook with 19 percent. This is a change from the previous year when Facebook was the most popular platform for spreading hate.

During the year, 7amleh recorded two spikes in online hate speech. The first and largest spike came in March and coincided with Israeli elections, and was primarily directed at Arab representatives. 

The second spike came six months later when Israel and the UAE signed normalisation agreements. 

In a video produced to accompany the report, 7amleh highlighted some examples of the kind of hate speech posted by Israelis. 

"Not every Arab is a terrorist, but every terrorist is an Arab. All Arab Knesset members support terrorism," wrote one social media user. 

Read more: Navigating Arab identity in America's racial landscape

"It is a shame that they did not expel all the Palestinians to Jordan and Syria in the Six Day War, and we would have been spared this headache after 53 years," wrote another. 

A recent poll by the Hebrew University's aChord Center showed that 49 percent of all religious Israelis and 23 percent of secular Israelis indicated support for stripping Palestinian Israelis of their citizenship.

The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media is an advocacy group that seeks to "create a safe, fair and free digital space for Palestinians" according to its website. 

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