Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
News

Jewish pols experienced 6,000 antisemitic tweets in a month, says ADL

Jewish incumbents running for reelection were bombarded with antisemitism on Twitter over the summer, according to a study released Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League.

The ADL found that between July 23 and August 22, 30 incumbent Jewish members of the House and Senate received a total of nearly 6,000 antisemitic tweets, about 10% of the tweets directed at the group as a whole.

Nearly half of the tweets questioned the loyalty, honesty, ideology or faith of Jewish incumbents, the report said. Other common themes included misinformation about Democratic donor George Soros, including conspiracy theories that he is bankrolling Black Lives Matter protests and “antifa” in order to support “Jewish supremacy;” allegations of Jewish control over the media, the financial world or the government; and accusations that incumbents were secret Communists or Marxists. Some of the tweets “targeted incumbents with claims of pedophilia,” a nod to a QAnon conspiracy theory that purports the government is running a child sex-trafficking ring.

“Social media platforms are breeding grounds for hate and antisemitism at a frightening scale, and as very public and sometimes polarizing figures, Jewish members of Congress often experience the worst of this on Twitter,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in a statement.

The majority of the tweets dealt in antisemitic tropes rather than direct anti-Jewish slurs, said the report; fewer than 10% of the tweets contained explicitly antisemitic language. Twitter has yet to remove any of those that do.

While New York Sen. Chuck Schumer received the vast majority of total tweets aimed at Jewish incumbents, New York Rep. Jerry Nadler received a higher percentage of troubling tweets, the report said. The two men combined fielded nearly 60% of the problematic tweets. Tied for third place were California Sen. Diane Feinstein and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Some of the tweets that questioned the incumbents’ Jewish faith focused on their interactions with visibly Muslim people, including a photo of Sen. Sanders and activist Linda Sarsour, who has long drawn allegations of antisemitism.

The report included recommendations for social media companies to combat antisemitism, including ways to better inform content reviewers about antisemitic tropes, collect and share data on hate and adjust algorithms to stop the spread of hateful content.

It also recommended that candidates ask Congress to study online hate’s impact on elections and work to target misinformation.

The ADL used a digital tool, the Online Hate Index, to compile the tweets and estimate the likelihood that each was antisemitic, then had three reviewers label and analyze them.

The ADL’s report represents the most recent step in the organization’s campaign Stop Hate For Profit, aimed at getting social media platforms to more effectively combat hate speech. In July, the group led an advertising boycott against Facebook for its failure to remove hate groups from the platform, and last month, celebrities like Kim Kardashian froze their Facebook and Instagram handles for a day as a part of the ADL’s campaign.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.