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Exclusive:  new study shows five-fold increase in online antisemitism since October 7

A study monitoring antisemitism on social media has found new antisemitic content is being posted at a rate of 145 posts a day.
Deborah Stone
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Published: 26 March 2024

Last updated: 26 March 2024

Antisemitism on social media increased five-fold following the October 7 Hamas terror attacks, according to a study conducted by the Online Hate Prevention Institute and Online Hate Taskforce and released exclusively by The Jewish Independent today.

The study gathered examples of antisemitism between October 21, 2023, two weeks after the Hamas massacre, and February 8, 2024 comparing them with antisemitism on the same platforms in the 11 months before October 7.

Researchers found an average of 145 items a day, compared with just 27 in the earlier period.

Antisemitism had increased on all 10 platforms examined but was significantly more visible on some social media sites compared with others.

Quantity of antisemitism by platform

The Jewish Independent

Gab and Telegram, which have little moderation and are known as platforms for extremist and alternative groups, were predictably host to high levels of antisemitism. Les predictably, and of greater concern to the researchers,  X (formerly Twitter) was just as bad.

“It is concerning that in 2024, X appears to have more in common with Gab and other alternative platforms than it does with mainstream platforms. The data suggests it may be time to stop regarding X as a mainstream platform,” researchers Andre Oboler and Jasmine Beinart observed. 

The professional platform LinkedIn, where many users typically avoid politics and controversy, experienced the most dramatic increase in antisemitism, most of it Israel-related.

“Since October 7 LinkedIn has increasingly been used for advocacy related to the conflict, and some of that advocacy has crossed into uses of antisemitic language and imagery. LinkedIn has not adopted to handling such content and has a far larger problem in this area than other platforms,” the researchers found.

Increase in antisemitism by platform

The Jewish Independent

Racist Anti-Zionism: the newest antisemitism

The researchers identified a new form of antisemitism which they call Racist Anti-Zionism.  It is a line of thought that defines Zionism as evil and justifies harming anyone identified with Israel on the grounds that they are supporting oppression.

“Racist Anti-Zionism moves beyond opposition to Zionism as an ideology, and into expressions of hostility and incitement to hate and violence against people who identify as Zionists or have expressed positivity towards Israel.”

The vast majority of Jews are Zionists, so using “Zionists” becomes another way of targeting Jews.

Online antisemitism researchers Andre Oboler and Jasmine Beinart

Racist Anti-Zionists don’t believe they are antisemitic, arguing that Zionism is not Judaism.

Oboler and Beinart say their approach can be likened to arguing that attacking women wearing burkas is not Islamophobic. Not all Muslim women wear burkas and the burka is not integral to Islam, but the association is strong enough that opponents of Islam target women in Islamic dress.

“Similarly, the vast majority of Jews are Zionists, so using “Zionists” becomes another way of targeting Jews,” the researchers wrote.

Another significant stream in antisemitism related to Israel is comparing Israeli policies to Nazism, including images which conflated Netanyahu and Hitler or compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the Nazi treatment of Jews.

From hooked noses to Israel-hate

The report divided antisemitism into four core categories and 16 sub-types. The four categories, in order of volume, are: traditional antisemitism, antisemitism related to Israel, Holocaust-related antisemitism, and incitement to violence.

Traditional antisemitism was the most dominant form of antisemitism by a significant margin. It includes tropes familiar since the Middle Ages: conspiracy theories alleging that Jews control governments, banks, media, and other institutions, blood libels, holding Jews responsible for killing Jesus, depicting Jews as devils, and claiming Jews are “not human”.

In assessing antisemitism related to Israel – as opposed to criticism of Israel – the report used the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

Examples of antisemitism related to Israel included:

  • accusing Israel inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust (“It's mathematically impossible to cremate six million in that timeframe, Barbie”)
  • denying Jewish people self-determination, e.g., by claiming Israel’s existence is racist (“Fuck a ceasefire! I’m calling for the end of Israel all together!)
  • requiring a behaviour from Israel not expected of other countries (Does Zionist racist Israel have a right to self-defence? No!)
  • describing Israel or Israelis using antisemitic words or imagery (“synagogue of satan have been stealing land, identity, & culture from different nations for centuries. they are the gold digging grave robbers”)
  • comparisons of Israeli policy to Nazism (“Hitler was right”)
  • holding Jews collectively responsible for Israel’s actions (“Never forget, never forgive what the Jews are doing”)

Type of antisemitism by platform

The Jewish Independent

Openness to attack

The increase in antisemitism comes both from increased activity by established posters of antisemitic content and from new users.

The researchers observed that general hostility towards Israel and Jews arising from the Israel-Hamas War has made antisemitism more acceptable and that social media influencers have jumped on the bandwagon of popular perception.

They noted the increase in antisemitism may also be partly related to changed use of social media to support Israel. Jews who used their social media accounts to express compassion for the victims October 7 attack or to support Israel made their Jewishness more visible and were sometimes subject to attack as a result.

In some cases, individuals personally expressing support for Israel on one platform had their business targeted on a different platform.

These attacks included false ratings and reviews, attempts to stir up boycotts of Jewish-owned business and videos targeting individuals who had contributed to Jewish or Israel-based charities.

What can be done?

The report shows enforcement of community standards policies works: platforms with strong moderation had less antisemitism and less virulent examples.

But the researchers argue there should be a greater expectation on social media platforms to identify and counter antisemitism.

They recommend:

  • reporting mechanisms that allow users to identify specifically antisemitic content (not just generic hate speech)
  • specialist teams capable of identifying antisemitism and dealing with complaints
  • platform-funded audits and transparent reports on antisemitic content
  • proactive automated removal of antisemitic content
  • Holocaust denial banned by all platforms
  • The use of the IHRA definition of antisemitism related to Israel in the operation of platform processes to counter hate

They also argue governments need to get more involved in countering online antisemitism by:

  • funding the monitoring and measurement of online antisemitism, and other forms of online hate
  • exploring the regulation of online hate.
The Jewish Independent


Online antisemitism before October 7

Online antisemitism after October 7

About the author

Deborah Stone is Editor-in-Chief of TJI. She has more than 30 years experience as a journalist and editor, including as a reporter and feature writer on The Age and The Sunday Age, as Editor of the Australian Jewish News and as Editor of ArtsHub.


  • Avatar of Andre Oboler

    Andre Oboler27 March at 07:08 am

    Dennis, wearing a burka is not part of Islamic religious scripture. It is a cultural interpretation some Muslim have on what the scriptural dictate to dress modestly means. My argument is that they are entitled to adopt or reject that, and that is their business.

    Religious Zionists like Rav Kook certainly did treat Zionism in religious terms. The Jewish religious calendar quite literally revolves around Israel. You are entitled to your own view of what both Judaism and Jewish peoplehood means for you, but recognise that others will have a different view and Israel will play a different role for them in their Jewish identity (both religiously and culturally).

    You write, “Anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel are separate issues, and conflating them is a deliberate attempt to prevent calling attention to the realities of the situation that there are two equal claims to citizenship within Israel/Palestine.” I am uncertain how that relates to anything in the report.

    The ECAJ statement in the report (page 4) explains: “This is not about criticism of Israel. It is about blatant, well established, often historic forms of antisemitism again flooding mainstream discourse.”

    The foreword from David Matas (page 4) states, “Racist anti-Zionism needs to be distinguished from both ideological anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel. Racist anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism. It uses opposition to Israeli policy or actions as permission to promote hatred toward Jews. This form of antisemitism underlies the increased prevalence of other forms of antisemitism.”

    The report discussed the topic on page 126 quoting “However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic” and adding “This formulation protects legitimate political criticism.” It also quotes Prof. Herbert C. Kelman who warned in 2007, “We must be very alert to the danger that legitimate criticism of Israeli policies and practices may provide the excuse and occasion for guilty-free expressions of anti-Semitism – in other words they may relegitimize anti-Semitism… under the guise of political criticism.” We give context to this showing how he was talking about “the identification of Jews as Christ-killers [which] has not lost its hold” (quoting him again).

    Your concern does not seem to reflect what is actually in the report. 74.5% of the content involved traditional antisemitism unrelated to Israel. Only 37.3% of the antisemitic content involves Israel at all, but much of it also involves other types of antisemitism.

    It’s not in the report, but running the number on this, I can see that only 8.39% of the data fell into any of our Israel categories without also falling into another category. This dropped to 1.35% when we focus only content that denies Israel’s right to exist e.g. by calling it a racist endeavour. It would be even lower if we limited it to this category without other Israel related categories.

    Thank you for the question that led to this additional analysis.

  • Avatar of Dennis Altman

    Dennis Altman27 March at 01:10 am

    This article is misleading when it claims: “Not all Muslim women wear burkas and the burka is not integral to Islam, but the association is strong enough that opponents of Islam target women in Islamic dress.

    “Similarly, the vast majority of Jews are Zionists, so using “Zionists” becomes another way of targeting Jews,” the researchers wrote.

    In the first case there is a religious observance which is very different to support for a national state [indeed some ultra-Orthodox Jews are also anti-Zionist]

    Anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel are separate issues, and conflating them is a deliberate attempt to prevent calling attention to the realities of the situation that there are two equal claims to citizenship within Israel/Palestine.

  • Avatar of Ruth Wilson

    Ruth Wilson26 March at 11:38 am

    We need more articles like this. It presents information backed by sound research and provides evidence that can be used to guide and support responses to pro-Palestinian rhetoric. The concept of racist anti-Zionism will prove especially useful in addressing the discrimination that has become endemic to life on university campuses.

  • Avatar of Miriam Feldheim

    Miriam Feldheim26 March at 07:17 am

    One thing your article has overlooked is that when a person sees anti-semitism on social media they should not comment on it or share it, even if it is to let others know it is going on. The algorithms pick up comments and sharing as interest in this type of content and then pushes it even more.

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