7/02/2017, Haifa: 7amleh - The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media has published disturbing results of a recently conducted research this week. This research observes and detects posts on social media written in Hebrew that are racist and inciteful in nature. The results show exacerbated racism and widespread hatred and incitement against Arabs and Palestinians.
The research reveals that 60,000 Israeli internet users wrote at least one post containing either racism or hatred towards Arabs and Palestinians 7amleh identified 675,000 racist or provocative posts against Arabs on social networks, which were uploaded at the rate of one post every 46 seconds throughout 2016. The majority of these posts were on Facebook. The number of posts more than doubled in 2016, rising from 280,00 similar posts in 2015 to 675,000 in 2016.
The research suggests and notes that the escalation in hate speech led by Israeli senior officials and state media has hugely impacted Israeli public internet users. The incitement seen in the content written on the internet seemed to rise as the Israeli leadership increased incitement and hatred in their public addresses. This was evident when Arabs were widely accused of the arson in Israel in November 2016, and again as the Minister of Culture and Sport of Israel made racist remarks towards the national Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and the rapper, Tamer Nafar, following the latter’s performance at the Ophir Awards ceremony. This increase in animosity was also visible throughout the duration of the case of Elor Azaria, as many political leaders openly supported the soldier’s actions.
The results also indicate that the Israeli media is the main information source for the investigated audience about the Arabs and Palestinians. It is noticed that posts containing hatred and incitement are mainly directed at Palestinian politicians, who are frequently mentioned in the Israeli mass media and by Israeli politicians. The Knesset member, Haneen Zoabi, bore the brunt of insults and incitement to murder, with 60,000 posts being directed towards her. The Knesset member Ahmed Tibi was subjected to 40,000 posts, closely followed by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with 30,000 and Ayman Odeh with 25,000. Basil Ghattas was verbally abused in 15,000 posts each. Furthermore, Abnaa Sakhnin Football Club was singled out in 14,000 posts.
7amleh published these research results in light of an Israeli campaign, which aimed to place the blame for incitement to hatred on Palestinians. This campaign has led to Arab and Palestinian activists being arrested as well as social media accounts being removed. Israel, under the pretext of this campaign, is also claimed to have made censorship agreements with Facebook and Google, asking them to transfer users’ data to Israel. This campaign has also led to enacting laws that force social media companies to comply with Israel's policies and interests, further discriminating against the digital rights of Palestinians.
7amleh believes that Israel, through these practices, has actually started extending its occupation not only over Palestinian land, but across the digital world as well. Israel has more than 200 criminal files against Arab and Palestinian activists charging them with incitement on the internet, while almost not a single case of incitement has been opened against Israeli instigators. This policy appears to give a green light for Israeli social media users to continue and escalate their extremism in the virtual sphere, meaning that this phenomenon will only continue to aggravate.
Nadim Nashif, the Director of 7amleh notes: " This report contains a message to the decision makers on these social media networks to halt the biased and dual policies. The report also calls on social media networks to stand firm against the incitement and violations hosted on their sites against Arabs, and to deal with, on a serious level, risks induced as a result of this incitement.” According to Facebook policies and regulations, there is nothing which justifies the continuation of 60000 accounts and pages full of hatred and incitement on its website.
7amleh conducted this research through "Vigo", which is an Israeli company. Vigo provides technology and tools for monitoring, research and social media management. Vigo is a subsidiary company of "Yifat Group". The company has used and inserted more than 100 keywords of insults and familiar incitement words through its advanced software and technologies in order to present these horrifying conclusions to 7amleh.