ADL Poll: Two-Thirds of Israeli Teens Have Experienced Anti-Semitism on the Internet

Jerusalem, November 7, 2013 … More than two-thirds of Israeli teens have been exposed to anti-Semitism on the Internet and one-in-three report being the victim of a cyber-assault because they are Israeli, according to a new survey by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released today.

The ADL poll of 500 Jewish teens between ages 15 and 18, conducted in Hebrew by the Israeli polling company Geocartography, found that 69 percent of young Israelis have encountered various forms of anti-Semitic expression on the Internet. Thirty-six percent (36%) of those polled reported being the victim of online attacks, including verbal abuse or being blocked from a Web site or forum simply because they are Israeli.

The poll was conducted in mid-October 2013 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent.

“The poll found a disturbingly high number of Israeli teens has experienced anti-Semitism, not as part of their daily lives in Israel, but on the Internet,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “While they feel generally safe at home, Israeli teens are hardly immune from exposure to anti-Semitism and hatred toward Israel due to the borderless nature of the Internet and the cover of anonymity it provides to anti-Semites and those holding extreme anti-Israel views.”

ADL’s Israel Office commissioned the poll in honor of the League’s 2013 Centennial Year in an effort to flesh out anecdotal evidence that Israel’s technologically saavy youth are no strangers to the various strains of anti-Semitism that spread virally on the Internet.

The two-thirds of Israeli teens who reported being exposed to anti-Semitic content described having experienced various forms of hatred online:

  • 76 percent have been exposed to anti-Jewish caricatures, anti-Semitic images and symbols like swastikas;
  • 70 percent have encountered anti-Semitic expressions made by others;
  • 67.7 percent have visited social media websites espousing anti-Semitic ideas;
  • 63.5 percent have watched or listened to videos or songs with anti-Semitic content;
  • 46.2 percent say they have stumbled upon or visited anti-Semitic web sites.

Of those Israeli teens who reported being attacked simply because they are Israeli:

  • One in four (25 percent) said they have been denied access to specific pages;
  • 23 percent reported being verbally assaulted;
  • 9 percent said they had been banned from various web forums;
  • 6 percent reported being physically threatened because of their Israeli nationality.

Of those who did experience anti-Semitism or a cyber-assault due to nationality, a significant majority – 59 percent – said they took some type of action to counter the anti-Semitic or anti-Israel content.  Nearly 37 percent of Israeli teens said they reported the issue directly to Internet providers, while another 20 percent said they had asked a friend to report the issue on their behalf.

Mr. Foxman, the co-author with Christopher Wolf of “Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread on the Internet” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), said the fact that many Israeli teens are actively reporting their run-ins with online anti-Semitism is encouraging.

“The good news is that Israeli teens are not only technologically saavy but do not remain passive and are more than likely to report the anti-Semitism or anti-Israelism they encounter,” said Mr. Foxman.  “The poll findings serve as a reminder that, even in Israel, education about anti-Semitism continues to be very important.  Teenagers need to know how to identify and to report anti-Semitism and inappropriate behavior online because they, too, can play a role in helping to respond to and counteract online hate speech.”

Selected ADL Poll Questions: 2013 Survey of Israeli Teens

Have you or have you not experienced any of the following due to being Israeli?

  • 23% - I was cursed for being Israeli
  • 9.1% - I was excluded (shunned) within different forums for being Israeli
  • 24.7% – I was denied access to websites or certain webpages for being Israeli
  • 5.5% - I was physically threated for being Israeli
  • 63.7% - None of the above

The term “Anti-Semitism” is defined to mean “hatred of Jews.” Have you or have you not encountered any manifestations of online anti-Semitism, for example: anti-Semitic expressions of different people, symbols, images, caricatures, drawings, videos, etc?

  • 1.3% - I have encountered online anti-Semitism only directed towards me
  • 55.9% - I have encountered online anti-Semitism only generally
  • 11.8% - I have encountered online anti-Semitism both generally and directed towards me
  • 31% - I have not encountered online anti-Semitism

Have you or have you not encountered any of the following manifestations of online anti-Semitism?

  • 70% - Anti-Semitic expressions from different people (Examples: Facebook status updates / tweets on Twitter, etc that are anti-Semitic)
  • 67.7% - Pages on social media websites (like Facebook) that contain anti-Semitism
  • 63.5% - Videos or songs that contain anti-Semitism
  • 76.5% - Caricatures, images or symbols that have anti-Semitic characteristics (like swastikas)
  • 46.2% - Anti-Semitic websites
  • 3.6% - None of the above

In response to manifestations of anti-Semitism that you encountered, did you or did you not react in any of the following ways? (Note: this question pertains only to those who responded that encountered online anti-Semitism)

  • 20.7% - I told my parents about the anti-Semitic content I encountered
  • 11.3% - I told my teachers about the anti-Semitic content I encountered
  • 36.9% - I reported to the management of the social media outlet / website about the anti-Semitic content, and sent a request to remove it
  • 20.4% - I asked a friend to report to the management of the social media outlet / website about the anti-Semitic content, and send a request to remove it
  • 26.7% - I posted online comments in response to anti-Semitic content
  • 15.8% - I reacted in a different manner (not listed above) against the manifestations of anti-Semitism
  • 40.4%  - None of the above

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.