Around 2004, changes in technology created Web 2.0. As technology adapted, so did online antisemitism. With the new “social web” came a new “social antisemitism.” This Antisemitism 2.0 is the use of online social networking and content collaboration to share demonization, conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial, and classical antisemitic motifs with a view to creating social acceptability for such content.
This phenomenon is spreading antisemitism and acceptability of antisemitism in new and increasingly effective ways. Social pressures are key to understanding Antisemitism 2.0, which is a combination of the technology and the emerging social environment.
The main threat posed by Web 2.0 to the Jewish people and their supporters is the creation of a culture where antisemitism has social acceptability, particularly among young people, resulting in the lowering of resistance and the establishment of hate networks.
To challenge Antisemitism 2.0, the Jewish community must as a strategy begin to engage online as an online community made up of individuals and organizations. The community has the talent to combat antisemitism online, but only if it is recognized, trained, funded, and given a shared sense of ownership in the fight against this newest manifestation of antisemitism.
After a lot of stuff you’re familiar with if you’re reading me here, he says:
How can the community more effectively combat online antisemitism and particularly Antisemitism 2.0? The primary requirement of any successful strategy is that it be communitywide and community based. A strategy of cooperation between organizations and individuals is needed, along with an infrastructure to facilitate such cooperation. As the Jewish sage Hillel said two thousand years ago, “Do not separate yourself from the community; and do not trust in yourself until the day of your death.” Both organizations and individuals need to take this into account, as any attempt-by either individuals or organizations-to assert dominance or authority is doomed to fail in a Web 2.0 world.
Zionism on the Web, an organization run through voluntary effort and with a zero budget, is able to compete with the likes of Wikipedia for rankings and prominence in Google and is often able to outrank sites such as the Israeli Foreign Ministry or the Jewish Agency. This is largely because policy prevents those large organizations from taking the “community approach.”
Such policy needs to be changed. Websites funded with taxpayer or community money not only have a responsibility to provide decent resources but also a responsibility to link to, share resources with, and assist others. They must become the hubs of the virtual community, and regardless of their real-world importance, online they must re-earn their credentials though cooperation with the community. A new initiative in policy planning for the Jewish community is needed.
We make our little stand online here at JewishJournal.com and on YouTube.
How about you? Anyone linking up these P2P hasbara efforts? Funding them? Recognizing them?
—The Web Guy
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