What is an online Antisemitic hate crime ?
So you’ve been scrolling on a social media platform such as Twitter or Facebook and come across a hideous image or post about the Jewish people or some form of Holocaust denial. However the profile of this account doesn’t seem to have many followers or it’s hidden anonymously.
So what do you do ?
Dependent on what country and jurisdiction you’re in, usually hate crime laws are very different , and why would you want to report an offensive post? The police would call it a “malicious communication”.
The police describe
“where someone sends a letter or any other form of communication that is indecent or grossly offensive, threatening, or contains information which is false or believed to be false” and the purpose for sending it is to cause “distress” or “anxiety” to the person it is sent to.
Here is an example of below of a typical Antisemitic post that could be offensive to not only the Jewish community, but also those using memes, a blood libel trope of Jews obsessed with money.
This may be grossly offensive to any Jewish person but would the police act on this post as a hate crime?
In the UK, we have very strict hate crime laws when it comes to religious or racial offences. Most people think that Freespeech is important but there is a huge difference between Freespeech and hate speech.
It is always extremely good to report something like this to social media, but over the years we have learnt that keeping posts up on social media as you have the evidence if reporting to the police in the United Kingdom.
Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook take things like this pretty seriously, but over the past two decades they really never bothered to take a post like this down. With platforms such as Gab and Telegram, it would be very unlikely they would remove something like this.
So what do you do when you see something that offends?
We always recommend taking a screenshot and a copy of the URL of the post, notes on the person who posted the image, even if you don’t know who it is and it’s anonymous. There is also in the United Kingdom which is set up for you online, a police website address ״True Vision״ which you can upload your complaint regarding the offensive material and you can obtain a reference number.
You then may get a call from a police officer to make further investigations. You can also call 101, and report it to your local police. However, for one post the likelihood of bringing this to court on one occasion may be very difficult.
If the offensive material is posted towards yourself it’s more likely that the police will investigate further.
Some people believe that removing offensive material is the best thing to do but as we said over the past few years, when you remove the offensive material there is less likelihood of the police investigation being able to track the offender. Also, a lot of social media platforms do not like to give out information of the user and there’s been great discussion on whether there should be more of a credit or debit card membership to be able to register on social media platforms. It then gives at least a chance of finding out who posted the material.
Third-party reporting organisations like “Eye on Antisemitism”, have a dedicated Freephone number and email address for people in the United Kingdom, but for people around the world to report it, we can advise you which is the best way to deal with it by emailing us through our website.