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24. 02. 2021

Tracking Antisemitism in Real Time

The Challenge

Hate speech and polarizing language are increasing problems online, and antisemitism in particular is presenting a growing threat to Jewish communities and individuals worldwide. Across Europe and in the United States, record numbers of incidents are being reported, as Covid-19-related conspiracy theories give rise to a new narrative for offenders to express antisemitic sentiment.

Similar trends have been observed in the Czech Republic. In 2019, the country’s Federation of Jewish Communitiesreported 694 antisemitic incidents, a doubling from 2018. Concerned by these statistics, Semantic Visions developed the Antisemitism Monitoring Tool (AMT) to bring real-time data to the fight against the antisemitic wave. 

The Solution

In early-2020, Semantic Visions partnered with the Jewish Community of Prague to identify and track antisemitic narratives relevant to the Czech Jewish population. Using historical data, Semantic Visions created an ontological blueprint to derive meaning from disparate online events. Then, by training our software to query our database of online news content in 12 major languages, AMT “learned” to detect, categorize, and analyze antisemitic narratives in four distinct categories. These include: 

  • Stereotypes: False, demonizing, or stereotypical claims and conspiracy theories regarding Jews and Jewish communities.
  • Intimidation: Threats of violence against Jewish individuals and communities or justifications of use of violence against Jews.
  • Holocaust denial: Denial or relativization of the Holocaust or the number of Jewish victims (Holocaust revisionism); blaming Jewish individuals, organizations, and the State of Israel for inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Delegitimization of Israel: Denial of Israel’s right to exist; claims that the existence of Israel is based on racism; comparing the current actions and policies of the state of Israel with Nazi policy; calls for boycott of Israel and support of the BDS movement.

Additionally, AMT was developed to track antisemitic narratives in combination with other categories, such as notable individuals, companies, institutions, countries, states, regions, cities, and events. Examples of combined categories include “Covid-19 and antisemitic conspiracies,” “U.S. politicians and Jewish stereotypes,” and “U.S. banking institutions and BDS.” 

The Result

Every week, Semantic Visions produces a report of events and emerging narratives for the Prague Jewish community, data that far exceeds previous manual collection efforts, says Lucie Neumannová, head analyst for the Jewish Community of Prague.

“Online is just one pillar of the data mining our analysts do; that is why the Semantic Visions partnership is so important,” says Neumannová. “In the past, the monitoring was very time consuming and our analysts mostly had to crawl the web manually. The partnership with Semantic Visions provides us a far-more comprehensive overview of data, articles, and websites that can be used to track trends.”

Neumannová adds: “Semantic Visions’ solution gives us the ability to track events that are relevant for our community members in the Czech Republic, and to do so with more accuracy and insight than ever before.”

Download the product sheet here.

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