After Israeli basketball team Maccabi Tel Aviv beat Real Madrid in the Euroleague final on Sunday over 18,000 anti-Semitic messages were posted on Twitter in an outpouring of hatred against Jews.
Twitter users created the hashtag “#putosjudios” (“#fuckingjews”) to spread their anti-Semitic messages in real time via Twitter. Among the anti-Jewish tweets posted in reaction to Real Madrid’s loss were.
- “Jews to the gas chamber. Go Madrid.”
- “Fucking Jews. This would not have happened with Hitler.”
- “Maccabi will shower after the game…But in the gas chamber, I hope.”
- “Now I understand Hitler and his hate for the Jews.”
Several Jewish and anti-racism organizations in Spain filed a criminal complaint against five identified Twitter users for incitement to hatred, defamation and glorification of terrorism.
In July 2013 in the U.S., Twitter was misused for similar purposes after Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended from Major League Baseball for the season for using performance enhancing drugs. Responses on Twitter included “Ryan Braun is a lying Jew!!! #kike” and “leave it to a jew to cheat the system, deceive people, then tarnish other’s reputations. Fuck you asshole.”
Jews are not the only targets when bigots take to Twitter to express their views. ADL spoke out earlier this month when racially-motivated comments flooded Twitter soon after Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, who happens to be Black Canadian, scored the game-winning goal in a National Hockey League playoff game against the Boston Bruins.
Such online hate underscores the critical need for education on anti-Semitism and bigotry. A recent global poll on anti-Semitism conducted by ADL revealed that 29% of people in Spain hold anti-Semitic attitudes and 48% of them think Jews talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust. In the U.S. the respective numbers were 9% and 22%.
ADL ardently supports the right to free speech and advocates for strong terms of service or community standards that address aggressive or malicious behavior online. Twitter does not provide even the most basic “Flagging” mechanism for complaints which is widely used on the experienced platforms run by Google and Facebook.