OHPI in The Melbourne Jewish Report

Hanna Baum “Online Hate Prevention Institute”, The Melbourne Jewish Report, Vol 2, 13 February 2015.

A topic of overwhelming interest in our Jewish community and the general community is the rise of ISIS. Australia has more than 70 young people in Syria, Iraq, and other states fighting under the extremist Islamic flag (Julie Bishop ABC News 2/2/15).

The question we grapple with is how did these young people, often from privileged backgrounds, become involved in a political movement that espouses the absolute antithesis of everything that we hold dear. The answer is very simple – social media and mainly Facebook.

Facebook accounts for approximately 43% of all online news and information per day. This is a staggering statistic. The power of Facebook is way beyond the power of all the media put together. With such power to inform and entertain it is hardly surprising that many of the traditional forms of anti-Semitism have been on the rise.

How do we as a community confront this online hate with one voice?

Beth Weizmann has many Jewish organisations in its corridors yet none so crucial as the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI), a relatively new organisation, just three years old.

Dr Andre Oboler is the CEO and founder. A political activist since 2004, Andre began his work at the Anti-Defamation Council. OHPI became an independent organisation from Zionist Federation of Australia in 2012. It is not politically affiliated and added general racism, cyber-bullying and more to its anti-Semitism platform.

Rabbi James Kennard, Principal of Mount Scopus College, is keenly aware of the impact of social media on students and the need to understand how to combat anti-Semitism. “Tragically the tremendous potential that the Internet has to improve all of our lives, is too often derailed when Facebook and other social media are used to spread racism and hatred.”

Mount Scopus College invited Dr Andre Oboler to run a Year 11 seminar the outcome of which was the publication of a manual “Combating Facebook Antisemitism”. The booklet is a most effective way to confront racism and anti-Semitism on social media. The detailed responses are comprehensive and applicable to most forms of anti-Semitism. It is an excellent guide for the individual and for organisations.

Contact Dr Andre Oboler of Online Hate Prevention Institute on 92725594 or www.ohpi.org.au.