Documenting Online Incitement Against Protestors

24 November 2020

A report by the Berl Katznelson Foundation has found 87,000 incidents of online hatred targeting the Black Flags Movement and anti-corruption demonstrators this year. Six percent of these incidents, altogether totaling 5,500, involve incitement to violence.

The report demonstrates how hatred against anti-corruption demonstrators has been fueled by statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ministers in his cabinet. In May and June there was a relatively low rate of hateful comments online. However, that changed in July when the regular demonstrations outside of the Prime Minister’s Balfour Street residence began to grow in size and frequency.

Most of the comments employ epithets such as “dirty leftists,” “disease spreaders,” and “anarchists.” After Netanyahu himself branded demonstrators “disease spreaders,” in a comment in September, the use of the term rose by 550%. When Minister of Internal Security Amir Ohana branded demonstrators “anarchists” on July 15, use of the word as a term of condemnation rose 5150%.

Berl Katznelson Foundation researchers found 25 posts attacking the demonstrators on Netanyahu’s Facebook page that were shared 42,000 times.

Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90