The following are some examples of the antisemitic comments posted to the OHPI Facebook page in response to our coverage of Facebook’s refusal to remove Holocaust denial. The relates Facebook threads are here, here, here and here.

Far-Right antisemitism

This post and its reply are the kind of content mostly found on 4Chan’s /pol/ and among the Alt-Right.

The first poster is using a fake account. The account posts almost nothing but pictures of cats in its timeline. It likes a large number of pages, however, and is clearly used to engage with far-right pages while monitoring / trolling far-left pages. The pages include 4 Chan‘s Facebook page,  a Canadian Alt-Right page “Doug Ford Memes“, a Canadian page called “Right Wing Nation“, and a number of Canadian pro-gun pages.

The second account, which posted the reply, is a real person’s account complete with selfies. They are a fan of Australia far-right personality and former United Patriots Front leader Blair Cottrell, Open Borders for Israel – an antisemitic page started as a 4Chan /pol/ campaign, and an Alt-Right page called “Politically Incorrect Conservative“.

This is factually incorrect and one of a number of false claims made by Holocaust deniers. The gas chambers were examined in detail by a UK court in the case of  Irving v Penguin Books Ltd and Deborah Lipstadt in 2000. The evidence from that case is publicly available and books have been written based on it.  They “Oy vey” and “goyim” references are typical /pol/.

This user’s profile continues the theme with a cover photo saying “goyim lives matter”. The user either doesn’t like any pages or more likely has altered their privacy setting to hide which pages they like. They appear to be in Perth, Australia.

 

Antisemitism in the name of human rights

While the modern human rights movement as well international humanitarian law was created in response to the Holocaust, it hasn’t prevented some seeking to use human rights as a tool to promote antisemitism and even Holocaust denial.

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights was closed by the UN in 2006 in part because of its systemic antisemitism. As the US State Department report on antisemitism noted, “For many years before its abolition, the Commission on Human Rights had a separate agenda item focusing solely on alleged violations of Israel… This allowed multiple resolutions against Israel, while no other country could have more than one resolution run against it each year. No other country beside Israel had an agenda item exclusively scrutinizing it.” As the report noted, “Between 2001 and when it was disbanded in 2006, the UN Commission on Human Rights passed 26 resolutions and one decision that were critical of Israel. The situations in North Korea, Burma, and Sudan warranted a combined total of 11 resolutions and decisions during the same period.” This is despite, for example, the Darfur Genocide in Sudan which killed around half a million people.

As the IHRA definition of antisemitism explains, “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic” but where Israel is singled out for discriminatory treatment, antisemitism can “include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish
collectivity”.

The following comment posted to our page denied the Holocaust by suggesting there were “far too many conflicting stories [for it] to be believable”. That “conflicting” material, produced by Holocaust denials and spread through social media is exactly why Facebook needs to act. It no different to fake news, but more dangerous as it is used to incite racism. The person who posted this has made an honest mistake through ignorance, Mark Zuckerberg would have us believe all Holocaust denial on Facebook is like this, but that’s not the case. Facebook hosts pages and groups dedicated to promoting Holocaust denial. It also allows links to Holocaust denial videos to be shared and spread, both on Facebook and through external links. This fakes Facebook a key part of the problem.

Well done to the person who replied and corrected this person’s comments. Well done also to the person who originally posted the comment for taking that response on board. We can only hope they now take a little time to learn more about the Holocaust from credible sources. There are plenty of Holocaust education resources available both in person (e.g. through museums), in books, and online.  We’d recommend Yad Vashem (Israel’s national Holocaust Memorial Museum), the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (like in Israel, a national government institution), or from universities with centers in this area like the University of Southern California or University College London.

Conspiracy theories

The person who made the above post went on to make another even more blatantly antisemitic post. In this post he promotes the Khazar myth, a debunked academic theory (since disproved by DNA evidence) and which was turned into a conspiracy theory by those seeking to deny Jews their identity. He’s right that the Lemba people in Africa share DNA links with other Jews. They have been recognized as part of the Jewish people.  Given they are compared to the rest of the Jewish population around the world and found to match, and given this group has been in isolation for around 2,000 years, the DNA evidence actually also proves the link between to today’s Jews around the world and the people in Israel around 2,000 years ago. I.e. it proves the exact opposite of what the conspiracy theorists try to promote. The original Khazar myth has nothing to do with the Lemba.

This sort of conspiracy theory is found on many of the most antisemitic websites on the internet.

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