In a long-overdue move to combat the insidious spread of antisemitism on social media, Meta has expanded its hate speech policies to include misuse of the term “Zionists.”

As revealed in Meta’s blog post on Tuesday, the company undertook an extensive months-long inquiry to delve into the historical and contemporary usage of the term “Zionist,” particularly in light of the ongoing war in Gaza. Meta engaged with an impressive array of more than 145 historians, civil rights groups, legal and human rights experts, and free speech advocates from across the globe to determine its new policy.

Meta’s new approach acknowledges the troubling reality that the term “Zionist,” while seemingly referring to the political movement advocating for the establishment of a Jewish state, has been hijacked by Israel’s detractors as a cover to spread antisemitism and misinformation.

Now,  the use of “Zionist” may violate Meta’s terms when uttered in conjunction with antisemitic libels, such as Jews controlling the world, drawing comparisons between Jews and animals, calling for violence against Jews, denying their very existence, or cruelly mocking them for having a disease.

Social media’s role in amplifying antisemitism has become increasingly apparent particularly in the wake of Hamas’ indiscriminate massacre against Israel on October 7.

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a staggering increase in online antisemitic incidents across Western countries spiked following that tragic day. In the United States, 7,523 incidents have been filed compared to 3,697 in the year prior. France saw an alarming increase of online antisemitism from 436 incidents to 1,676, while the UK reported a jump from 1,662 to 4,103 cases.

“The year is not 1938, not even 1933. Yet if current trends continue, the curtain will descend on the ability to lead Jewish lives in the West – to wear a Star of David, attend synagogues and community centers, send kids to Jewish schools, frequent a Jewish club on campus, or speak Hebrew,” says Irwin Cotler Institute Professor Uriya Shavit.

“What the fight against antisemitism needs now is efforts focused on the hubs of poison, and the presentation of measurable and attainable goals.”

    Anguri Xara July 11, 2024 1:44 am

    I’m a proud Zionist -though not a Jew- and I reported and will report any trespasses and even confront those individuals

    Miriam Servetter July 12, 2024 9:35 am

    Thank you for Meta doing this. Why is it that Jews are always the scapegoat? Why can’t we just have peace? Zionism is the movement to return to the homeland.

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