Online anti-Palestinian hate speech, incitement rose in 2021: report

Online anti-Palestinian hate speech, incitement rose in 2021: report
A report by Palestinian digital rights organisation 7amleh found that anti-Palestinian hate speech rose by eight percent in 2021
2 min read
19 January, 2022
Online anti-Palestinian hate speech in 2021 was at its highest between March and May [Getty]

Online Israeli hate speech and incitement towards Palestinians and Arabs on social media increased in 2021, according to a new report by the Palestinian digital rights group 7amleh.

For its annual report on cyber-racism, 7amleh looked at hundreds of thousands of conversations across social media.

Hate speech rose by eight percent in 2021, the report found.

The organisation found 620,000 conversations by Israelis which included racist attacks and incitement. The posts increased by 46,000 from last year, when there were 574,000 hateful online threads against Palestinians.

Online anti-Palestinian hate speech was at its highest between March - when Israeli parliamentary elections took place - and May.

Israel launched a deadly bombing campaign against the besieged Gaza Strip for 11 days in May, killing 256 Palestinians, while rockets launched from the enclave by Hamas and other Palestinian groups led to 13 deaths in Israel.

Palestinians took part in widespread protests in April and May last year after Israeli soldiers and settlers stormed Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestinian families were expelled from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Jerusalem.

"Social media platforms in the May Uprising reflected what was happening on the ground, as hate speech notably increased during the uprising", said Nadim Nashif, Director of 7amleh.

The hate speech incidents were most prevalent on Twitter, with 58 percent of the violent and racist comments being found on the site.

Nineteen percent of the incidents were recorded on Facebook.

A further 15 percent of racist speech was found on comment sections of websites and apps, and 8 percent was seen on blogs.

Levels of incitement were at their highest levels since 2017.

"Social media was also used as a tool to organise violent and inciting attacks against Palestinians and Arabs, with its impact exceeding the digital realm into the real world", Nashif said.