Iganski, Paul, and Abe Sweiry. “Antisemitism and Social Media”.
It is now well-known that each time there is an upsurge in the Israel-Palestine conflict there is a rise in violent and other abusive incidents against Jews around the world. So it was in 2014 with Israel’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’ military action in July and August. Numerous backlash incidents against Jews in the UK and elsewhere in the world were reported by news media. The news reporting mainly focused on physical acts: violence and the daubing of insults and slogans on synagogues and other communal buildings. This time around, however, there were also numerous instances of anti-Jewish abuse on social media, to the extent that by the end of July 2014, the Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz reported “an explosion of anti-Semitic abuse on social networks, including Facebook and Twitter”. There has, however, been little sustained or in-depth analysis of the problem of antisemitism on social media. Using the methodology of corpus linguistics, we carried out a rapid response analysis of the phenomenon on Twitter to inform the recent report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry against Antisemitism. In our paper, we discuss our methods of analysis, the key findings, and the potential we see for the future in using corpus approaches for the analysis of antisemitism and other manifestations of discriminatory discourse.