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Author(s): Placzynta, Karolina
Date: 2024
Abstract: Despite the benefits of the intersectional approach to antisemitism studies, it seems to have been given little attention so far. This chapter compares the online reactions to two UK news stories, both centred around the common theme of cultural boycott of Israel in support of the BDS movement, both with a well-known female figure at the centre of media coverage, only one of which identifies as Jewish. In the case of British television presenter Rachel Riley, a person is attacked for being female as well as Jewish, with misogyny compounding the antisemitic commentary. In the case of the Irish writer Sally Rooney, misogynistic discourse is used to strengthen the message countering antisemitism. The contrastive analysis of the two datasets, with references to similar analyses of media stories centred around well-known men, illuminates the relationships between the two forms of hate, revealing that—even where the antisemitic attitudes overlap— misogynistic insults and disempowering or undermining language are being weaponised on both sides of the debate, with additional characterisation of Riley as a “grifter” and Rooney as “naive”. More research comparing discourses around Jewish and non-Jewish women is needed to ascertain whether this pattern is consistent; meanwhile, the many analogies in the abuse suffered by both groups can perhaps serve a useful purpose: shared struggles can foster understanding needed to then notice the particularised prejudice. By including more than one hate ideology in the research design, intersectionality offers exciting new approaches to studies of antisemitism and, more broadly, of hate speech or discrimination.
Editor(s): Ermida, Isabel
Date: 2023
Abstract: This chapter introduces the notion of ‘enabling concepts’: concepts which may or may not themselves constitute a mode of hate speech, but which through their broad social acceptability facilitate or legitimate the articulation of concepts which can be more directly classed as hate speech. We argue that each distinct hate ideology will contain its own, partly overlapping set of ‘enabling concepts.’ In this chapter, we will focus on the enabling role of references to apartheid for the constitution of antisemitism in British online discourse around Israel. This argument does not rest on agreement as to whether the ‘apartheid analogy’—comparisons between contemporary Israel and the former Apartheid regime in South Africa—itself constitutes a form of antisemitism. The chapter draws on qualitative analysis of more than 10,000 user comments posted on social media profiles of mainstream media in the UK, undertaken by the Decoding Antisemitism project in the wake of the May 2021 escalation phase of the Arab-Israeli conflict. We will show how web commenters frequently use the apartheid analogy to trigger more extreme antisemitic stereotypes, including age-old tropes, intensifying and distorting analogies (such as Nazi comparisons) or calls for Israel’s elimination. The results will be presented in detail based on a pragmalinguistic approach taking into account the immediate context of the comment thread and broader world knowledge. Both of these aspects are relevant preconditions for examining all forms of antisemitic hate speech that can remain undetected when conducting solely statistical analysis. Based on this large dataset, we suggest that—under the cover of its widespread social acceptability—the apartheid analogy thus facilitates the articulation and legitimation of extreme antisemitic concepts that would, without this prior legitimation, be more likely to be rejected or countered.
Date: 2023
Abstract: Key findings
• Since 7 October, Decoding Antisemitism has analysed more than 11,000 comments
posted on YouTube and Facebook in response to mainstream media reports of the
Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel.
• Our analysis reveals a significant jump in the number of antisemitic comments, even
compared with other violent incidents in the Middle East.
largest proportion of antisemitic comments – ranging between 19 % in German
Facebook comment sections and 53 and 54.7 % in French Facebook and UK YouTube
comment sections, respectively – in contrast to previous studies where direct
affirmation of violence was negligible.
• The number of antisemitic comments CELEBRATING THE ATROCITIES rises in response to
media reports of attacks on Israelis/Jews themselves, compared with reports on the
conflict more generally.
• Beyond affirmation of the Hamas attacks, other frequently expressed antisemitic
concepts across the corpus included DENIALS OF ISRAEL’S RIGHT TO EXIST, attributing SOLE
GUILT to Israel for the entire history of the conflict, describing Israel as a TERRORIST
STATE, CONSPIRACY THEORIES about Jewish POWER, and ideas of inherent Israeli EVIL.
• As with the project’s past research, this analysis reveals a diversity of antisemitic
concepts and communicative strategies. The findings reaffirm that antisemitism
appears as a multifaceted mosaic, as a result of which it is not possible to deal with
all the elements. Only the most prominent tendencies are brought into focus here.