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May 22, 2014

Sports Discussions Marred By Hate On Twitter

After Israeli basketball team Maccabi Tel Aviv beat Real Madrid in the Euroleague final on Sunday over 18,000 anti-Semitic messages were posted on Twitter in an outpouring of hatred against Jews.twitter-spain-hate

Twitter users created the hashtag “#putosjudios” (“#fuckingjews”) to spread their anti-Semitic messages in real time via Twitter. Among the anti-Jewish tweets posted in reaction to Real Madrid’s loss were.

  • “Jews to the gas chamber. Go Madrid.”
  • “Fucking Jews. This would not have happened with Hitler.”
  • “Maccabi will shower after the game…But in the gas chamber, I hope.”
  • “Now I understand Hitler and his hate for the Jews.”

Several Jewish and anti-racism organizations in Spain filed a criminal complaint against five identified Twitter users for incitement to hatred, defamation and glorification of terrorism.

In July 2013 in the U.S., Twitter was misused for similar purposes after Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended from Major League Baseball for the season for using performance enhancing drugs. Responses on Twitter included “Ryan Braun is a lying Jew!!! #kike” and “leave it to a jew to cheat the system, deceive people, then tarnish other’s reputations. Fuck you asshole.”

Jews are not the only targets when bigots take to Twitter to express their views. ADL spoke out earlier this month when racially-motivated comments flooded Twitter soon after Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, who happens to be Black Canadian, scored the game-winning goal in a National Hockey League playoff game against the Boston Bruins.

Such online hate underscores the critical need for education on anti-Semitism and bigotry. A recent global poll on anti-Semitism conducted by ADL revealed that 29% of people in Spain hold anti-Semitic attitudes and 48% of them think Jews talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust. In the U.S. the respective numbers were 9% and 22%.

ADL ardently sup­ports the right to free speech and advocates for strong terms of ser­vice or com­mu­nity stan­dards that address aggres­sive or mali­cious behav­ior online. Twit­ter does not pro­vide even the most basic “Flag­ging” mech­a­nism for com­plaints which is widely used on the expe­ri­enced plat­forms run by Google and Facebook.

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