Connect with us


European Jewish student group sues Twitter over its handling of antisemitism and Holocaust denial



BERLIN (JTA) – Europe’s main Jewish student organization is fed up with the antisemitism, Holocaust denial and other hate speech burgeoning on Twitter — so they are taking the social media company to court.

The Brussels-based European Union of Jewish Students and the Berlin-based HateAid non-profit group on Wednesday announced they have sued Twitter in Berlin District Court for failing to uphold its own pledge to remove hate speech from the platform.

The action — which included the placement of a hashtag prop in front of the German parliament building, in an inversion of a symbol that Twitter itself popularized — was sponsored by the Berlin-based Alfred Landecker Foundation, as part of its Digital Justice Movement, started by HateAid.

The move comes as Germany prepares to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day with ceremonies and events across the country.

But that is not enough, said Avital Grinberg, president of the EUJS, which represents some 160,000 European Jewish students. “Remembrance of the Shoah must not be merely expressed through emotional speeches, but also through clear positions, resolute action and protective laws,” she said.

The announcement of the lawsuit comes a day after Twitter reinstated the American Holocaust denier and white supremacist Nick Fuentes, the latest in a string of people who had posted antisemitic material to the platform to be allowed back since the billionaire Elon Musk bought it last year. Fuentes immediately tweeted antisemitic comments and was suspended again.

But the site does not remove antisemitism, according to the student group’s lawsuit. Armed with six specific cases in which they claim Twitter did not take complaints seriously, the Berlin law firm of Preu Bohlig sued Twitter on Tuesday, demanding the removal of antisemitic content that is illegal under German law, said Torben Duesing, a partner in the firm, at a press conference Wednesday in the German capital.

Their aim is twofold: to move a social media mountain, and to encourage targets of hate speech to speak up. The six cases — all of which were posted in the last three months — were not described, to avoid giving them further publicity, organizers said.

But the groups did say that in one case relating to Holocaust denial, Twitter had explicitly refused to remove the content.

Europe has been a challenging frontier for technology companies, which have had to take steps to ensure digital privacy and change their handling of misinformation because of European laws and regulations. Now, the students’ lawsuit aims to leverage Germany’s particularly vigorous laws barring Holocaust denial and the glorification of Nazi ideology to force the platform to remove it. There are similar laws in other EU countries.

The lawsuit focuses on clarifying whether Twitter has a contractual obligation to its users, under its legal terms of service, to remove antisemitic tweets that contain sedition, including trivialization and denial of the Holocaust.

Just because Twitter doesn’t respond adequately to complaints doesn’t mean one should give up trying, said German Jewish writer and activist Marina Weisband at the press conference. All Twitter users around the world agree to the terms of service, “which is designed to protect users” from hate speech, she said. But if Twitter doesn’t enforce these terms, what are they worth?

Twitter claims to share the view that “Jewish rights are human rights,” said Grinberg. “But the reality appears to be the opposite.”

There has as yet been no response to the suit from Twitter, which has not had a public relations team since shortly after Musk’s acquisition, when he slashed the staff. The company is already subject to an advertiser boycott that has sharply curbed its revenue, the result of a push by the Anti-Defamation League and others in response to Musk’s lack of action around hate speech on the platform.

The ADL released an analysis last year finding that Twitter removed only 5% of 225 tweets that it reported as “strongly antisemitic” — comments accusing Jewish people of pedophilia, invoking Holocaust denial, and sharing conspiracy theories — over nine weeks last summer. It also found that antisemitism spiked on the platform following Musk’s acquisition.

In 2021, a report by the British-based Center for Countering Digital Hate found that 84% of reported posts on social media platforms containing antisemitic hate were not reviewed by the platforms. According to the survey, Twitter intervened in only 11% of the cases.

Twitter does promise to police its platform and has lately has suspended the accounts of users whose antisemitic comments made headlines. That was true last year for Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, and again on Wednesday for Fuentes after his reinstatement.

But more is needed, said the students and attorneys behind the European lawsuit.

“We know that one lawsuit is not enough to make Twitter a perfect place,” Josephine Ballon, HateAid’s lead attorney. “We know that it takes more than that, but we are convinced that it is precisely these kinds of lawsuits that will put new tools” in the hands of minority groups and individuals.

“Social media is the most important debate platform of our generation,” said Grinberg. The lawsuit, she said, is “the response of resilient Jews to the failure of Twitter, social media, politicians and the law.”

The post European Jewish student group sues Twitter over its handling of antisemitism and Holocaust denial appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.

Continue Reading

Local News

Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary



By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”

Raquel Dancho (left), Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, and Nikki Spigelman, President, Gwen Secter Centre

Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)

Continue Reading


Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station



This is a developing story.

(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.

An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.

The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.

The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to  transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.

Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.

The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News