Racism, Antisemitism, and the 48 hour Twitter walkout
I took part in the 48 hour Twitter walkout which began at 09:00 on Monday 27th July, and ended at 09:00 on Wednesday 29th July, alongside the hashtag #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate. This walkout was organised, alongside others by Tracy-Ann Oberman, a Jew who faces Antisemitic (racist) abuse daily. Her account of this is here.
Why did I do this? I’ve been a Twitter user for about 10 years. ‘Back in the day’ Twitter used to be a lovely place.. more like the local shop where everybody would talk to each other, say a friendly “hello”, talk to others shoppers about cricket, the weather, perhaps a little bit of geo/socio/politics.. but one would never beat one’s chest at the local village shop with their takes on those matters..
Twitter then changed.. it has morphed into a hotbed of racism.. against black people, Muslims, those from a Traveler background.. and this racism became supercharged. Hindus were then targeted. I think part of the problem with Twitter is User anonymity. People think they can get away with anything.. and so they try to — and often they succeed.
There is another ‘ism’ which has flourished on the platform. Antisemitism. The particular danger as regards Antisemitism is that it is one of the most subtle forms of racism. Antisemitism from the far-right is often obvious, brash and unashamed. Antisemitism from the far-left is often thinly veiled in ridiculous statements which are known as ‘tropes’ — note Antisemites on the far-right use tropes as well as the far left. Even some ‘Centrists’ have been known to use tropes!
So why did I take part in this 48 hour boycott of Twitter? Simply, Antisemitism has been allowed to flourish in British society over the last few years. We have MPs in the Houses of Parliament — in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘movement’ — who criticise Zionism. Zionism *literally* means the right for Israel to exist — Israel being the safe haven for the world’s 15 million Jews, in which to leave in peacefully.
The problem with the response to Antisemitism is it is not a sexy issue for a Corporate to take a loud stand against. Corporates, often in good conscience change their avatars to the Pride flag during Pride Month, and many have done similar with the Black Lives Matter movement — a movement which sprang from Black People rightly seeking emancipation from structural disadvantage.
However, where were the Star of David Avatars when so many British Jews were seriously considering leaving the UK had Jeremy Corbyn been elected as Prime Minister? Where was the solidarity from Corporates? Perhaps Antisemitism does not matter enough, and perhaps Jews do not matter enough to those Corporates.
Twitter relies on bombasticity, responded to by outrage. That is it’s business model. It is not good enough. Unless it seriously changes it’s algorithm as regards the speed at which Antisemitic hatred is reported, sadly it will remain a vehicle for a lie/trope to make it half way around the world whilst the truth is still getting it’s boots on.