Anti-Defamation on the Web

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and co-author, with Christopher Wolf, of Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread on the Internet (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), talks about the dark side of the web--viral hate speech--and how to combat it.


Abraham Foxman

Comments [28]

Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

>Antisemitism is wrong and should be condemned.

>The problem is that when people denounce the terrible treatment of the Palestinian people, under Israeli Military Occupation, paid for by American tax dollars, they are accused of antisemitism.

As long as fake "anti-war", "progressive" people ignore "Palestinian" people firing rockets into Israel, bomb buses, literally depict Jews as sons of pigs and apes in "Palestinian" media, "educate" their children with Nazi era stereotypes of Jews AKA Yahoods, murder opponents of Hamas by throwing them off roofs and dragging their bodies behind motorcycles, they can properly be accused of antisemitism.

>So the charge of antisemitism or self hating jew is hurled to shut up those that criticize the theft of Palestinian land and the brutal conditions that exist in Gaza.

Any European, African, Asian who lives in North America, Native American land, and accuses others of Occupation and Land theft, is woefully ignorant of their own status.

>It's necessary to see who is saying it and why,


>because the charge is not always valid, it can be and is used to cover up horrible stuff.

Horrible stuff like 70,000+ dead in Syria yet "anti-war" activists have not seen it worth their time to protest the murder.

Jun. 06 2013 01:57 AM
DTorres from Manhattan

Antisemitism is wrong and should be condemned.
The problem is that when people denounce the terrible treatment
of the Palestinian People, under Israeli Military Occupation, paid for
by American tax dollars, they are accused of antisemitism.
So the charge of antisemitism or self hating jew
is hurled to shut up those that criticize the theft of Palestinian land
and the brutal conditions that exist in Gaza.
It's necessary to see who is saying it and why,
because the charge is not always valid, it can be and is used
to cover up horrible stuff.

Jun. 05 2013 04:17 PM

Epic, fascinating subject.

So sad that the show seems to have felt that it needed the political cover of an Abe Foxman book to feel licensed to broach a subject that demonstrates specific empathy and sympathy toward Jews. (You could have just trotted out so many hundreds of comments posted on WNYC's comment boards since 9/11, that have gone unmentioned but surely not unnoticed by your host, guests, callers or ombudsman.)

Jun. 05 2013 12:30 PM
henry from md

@Guy from NYC et al: "reflexive comparative victimology" indeed. Calling Israel an Apartheid State (overlooking the facts about the country) while giving States like Iran, Saudi Arabia etc etc a free pass and agitating for the destruction of the Jewish State masquerades as objective mainstream criticism of Israel's policies - in which corner have you been living you enlightened being?

Jun. 05 2013 11:45 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

The wild and woolly days of the 'net ought to be over. Like the closing of the Western Prairie, those days need to be declared to be over.

Sales taxes need to be collected on goods purchased - for those states that have sales tax laws; sites need to be 'graded' for content - something analogous to the MPAA ratings for movies - to give parents and consumers a heads up; email ought to have a method of certification so that we can eliminate viruses and spam - this could be a revenue source for the USPS; sites that purport to journalism ought to have their content graded for 'truthiness' - How much celebrity gossip do we need to see each day?

As it is, we are leaving 'policing' of the Internet - which untended can become a rat's nest - to the marketplace viz. the development of various corporate-sponsored sandboxes - The Apple Store, Amazon, Microsoft, google play, etc.

The investment and infrastructure that created the Internet did not come from private companies - Why is it that ad companies and media licensing entities (and porn companies) are getting all of the money?

Jun. 05 2013 11:21 AM
Amy from Manhattan

"If 'the Jewish community'" carried out an attack? An entire community--Jewish, Muslim, or any other--doesn't carry out an attack, & it doesn't make any more sense to monitor any one entire community for the actions of a few of its members than any other. What does make sense is to know what groups within an overall community advocate such attacks & keep tabs on those groups.

Jun. 05 2013 11:02 AM
CK from Yorktown

OMG: he wants to use DNA to prove hatred? He's kidding right? Let's not have this num nut on as a guest again Brian. Worthless discussion.

Jun. 05 2013 10:59 AM
telegram sam from Staten Island

Different rules for Jews and Muslims... Wow. What a humanist.

Jun. 05 2013 10:58 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Mr. Foxman: What do you think of the site JewWatch? That is also a hate site, though it is presented as just information.

Also, I did a paper for an English class years ago and discovered that a Holocaust Revisionist group had bought out a literary magazine and was still publishing under the original name. What do we do about that?

Jun. 05 2013 10:56 AM
John A

Too many places to point to to resort to finger pointing. Good luck Abe!

Jun. 05 2013 10:54 AM
Guy from NYC

Awareness of hate speech is not served by reflexive comparative victimology on the part of public figures like Foxman, persecution-complexes or the constant and preposterous playing of the antisemitism card when scholars or anyone at all questions the violent politics of the state of Israel. To equate opposition to Israel's policies to "mainstream anti-Semitism" is absurd and detracts from efforts to meet the challenge of hate speech in a free society.

Jun. 05 2013 10:54 AM
jgarbuz from Queens


Because Tutu is a LIAR when he calls Israel "an apartheid state" somehow comparable to old racist South Africa. That's why.

Jun. 05 2013 10:54 AM
PJ from Nj

Ask Abe about the disgusting hatred directed towards Rev Tutu on Jewish websites? What are his thoughts

Jun. 05 2013 10:49 AM
telegram sam from Staten Island

I'm Jewish as well and I agree with Martin and Sheldon. I don't like nor trust Foxman. He constantly equates criticism of Israeli right wing policy with anti-Semitism and it's not the same thing. He plays victim vs. victim insisting anti-Semitism is a worse problem than Islamophobia and notice he has nothing to back up his stats on that. He needs to keep hocking mit chinik on an essentially nonexistent problem to justify his existence and the big checks he cashes as Lone Defenders of the Jewish People.

Jun. 05 2013 10:49 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Of course Jews get hit more than Muslims. Because Jews OUTSIDE OF ISRAEL are know not to fight back. They'll sue you, but they won't physically fight. Nobody is afraid of Jewish violence, as they are of Muslim violence. Except in Israel, of course, but even in Israel the leftists have so pacified the Jewish population that Arab gangs inside Israel itself now terrorize Jews!

Jun. 05 2013 10:48 AM

Not convinced Foxman actually spends a lot of time on the internet. There's currently more hate speech online against African-Americans, Muslims, and Chinese people than Jews.

Jun. 05 2013 10:48 AM
John A

Heck, someone threatened death to one of the guests on WNYC's comment board just yesterday.

Jun. 05 2013 10:46 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Why is the tracking of hate crimes done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics??

Jun. 05 2013 10:44 AM
Scott from Lower Manhattan

Any mention about RTLM and its role in whipping up Hutu mobs during the Rwanda massacre?

Jun. 05 2013 10:44 AM
Pam from ny

What does Mr. Foxman think of the approaches of England, Canada, & other countries that outlaw hate speech?

Jun. 05 2013 10:43 AM

Is there any value in seeing our demons over hiding them in shadows.

Jun. 05 2013 10:43 AM
jf from i

This is the only place where I can talk about corporations crimes against humanity. You censor that you destroy the earth a little.

Jun. 05 2013 10:41 AM
Peter from North Carolina

Viral hate speech is ugly, but there is also a very high public tolerance of “acceptable” or mainstream anti-Semitism. For example, many academics support boycotting and divesting from Israel and are happy to say so in interviews and speeches. Yet these same academics do not boycott other countries; they seem to hold Israel to a different standard then everyone else.

Could you ask Mr. Foxman to discuss how he views hate speech as compared to mainstream anti-Semitism?

Jun. 05 2013 10:36 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The thing about Foxman is, that he's so irritating to look at and listen to. I'm certainly not against most of what he says, but he's just not presentable. Leaders have to have charisma, or else their message falls flat. That's simply an unfortunate fact of life.

Jun. 05 2013 10:32 AM
oscar from ny

I swear one day these demons are gonna make ny so communist they'll be handing out pampers i the saturated with demons demonising everything...if there is one thing i hate about these ppl in charge is that their mind follows the absurd, the get a kick in watching you suffer..they're idea of justice is catering to the handicap, the erderly, the mental case, the young, the unstable and pass laws one size fits all...ideas so frivolous that this country has become a patriarch trap...scared ppl..paranoids.. afraid and victims of the vile lies, slave to the deprived mentality of the devils that are occupying the world and commanding all us like cattle to hell..

Jun. 05 2013 10:00 AM

What does criticism of Foxman have to do with hate speech online? Are you really going to minimize how much there is and the intensity of it just because Foxman is who he is?

Jun. 05 2013 09:57 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Ditto Sheldon's remarks. (and I' m Jewish!)
Mr. Foxman has earned mistrust everywhere.

Jun. 05 2013 09:36 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Abe Foxman. A man that shamelessly makes his living as disingenuous ethnic power-broker that can sell you a "free" pass, if your pockets are deep enough. It pays to be [Mark] Rich.

Does Mr.Foxman still believe the government should tell Muslims where they can build their houses of worship?

Jun. 05 2013 09:27 AM

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