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What can be done?
Anti-Semitism and new Medias

haGalil onLine - a German-Jewish Online-Magazine, as a model for the successful fight against anti-Semitic propaganda on the Internet

Much has been written, said and deplored for the past decade regarding the antisemitic campaign in the "new media", which is not so new anymore.

Many reasons have been accounted for why not much can be done against the flood of rassist and antisemitic hustle in the Internet. Some suggestions as to how to restrain these have been discussed and rejected during notable conferences, others have been pursued, some are still in the making. One is getting used to the frequent announcements by state security services that the numbers of these so-called "hate-sites" are frighteningly increasing.

In order to better explain the countermeasures of haGalil onLine against the circulation of the anti-Semitic campaign, one crucial point has to be made beforehand: anti-Semitism is the distinguishing feature of fundamental-nationalistic ideology and as such a connection for many different movements, such as the Pamjat in Russia to the Ku-Klux-Klan in the United States, from Christian-Arian alliances and Islamic fundamentalists.

Anti-Semitism holds a more and more dominant and aggressive position on the Internet-sites of all these organisations. In comparison to all other means of propaganda, Internet-Propaganda is actually the broadest tool of distribution, since it also reaches "unskilled/unsophisticated" recipients, who are not to found within the common circles. There is however one "positive aspect" from these conclusions: the more the antisemitic-antizionistic ideas are central in the ideological fundament of a movement, the more such ideas can be proven wrong, if one can expose such as delusion.

The Internet is international. The hate-campaign is being circulated in many languages. Demands for a worldwide binding consent of values are praiseworthy initiatives, but they lack the technical reality. They presume that it should be defined and established what can be said and circulated about Jews and Israel, this not only at the Bodensee, but also in Malaysia, Durban, Budapest or Riad. With regard to the constantly developing media Internet, this discussion should not aim at what is morally desirable, but should instead concentrate on what can be actually done from a very technical point of view. Supposedly "patent solutions", such as "filter software", positive and negative lists, optional cd’s, control through provider companies etc. show only limited success.

With haGalil onLine we introduce a model, which since 1995 has proven to be a successful method in fighting right wing extremism and anti-Semitism on the Internet. It is a rather simple model, which can be used in various manners and which is possibly this successful, because it has been created for something and not against something. We have worked much less against the lies as for the truth.

100 : 1  for haGalil onLine

It is haGalil onLine’s major strategy to create a massive counterbalance through the use of detailed content: promoting truth against lies and hatred. If we use 100 of our pages against one right-exremist page, which promotes antisemitic slander, the chances that a student, in search of information, will end up on haGalil onLine -  rather than coming up with a Nazi-Site - are 100:1.

The continuing improvement of the information offered is responsible for a high position in search enginges, meaning that pupils, teachers, students, journalist or other users in search of information such as "Judaism" or "Jewish holidays" will first encounter haGalil onLine, being a serious source of information. It is rather stunning, that this simple "fence of content" actually functions quite effectively without any regard to all known weak spots thought of by official sides, since the relation of 100:1 remains even without a worldwide consent and is rather independent from filter software etc.

Use of communicative means

Our second approach uses the communicative means of an active online service. The best requirements for communication are encounters and authentic information. We have known for a long time, that antisemitism and racism are always more alive, where no or few Jews only are present. HaGalil onLine is therefore sometimes for many teenagers in East Germany the first and only option to establish contact with Jews.

Out of a total of 210.000 visitors monthly, we receive on a daily basis numerours e-mails with queries from pupils and teachers. Our discussion forums and chats offer the possibility of communication within the reading audience. Consequently, a Nazi dropout met the chairwomen of a Jewish community in Bavaria. Together they created a series of lectures at schools and youth centres.

Support for the Juridical System

Juridical means are another effective way in the battle against Nazipropaganda. In 1997, we introduced the first form of notification for Nazi-Sites. About 1,000 charges are being reported yearly. In Germany itself, almost every third charge against Nazi-Sites is the result of a notification through the haGalil onLine notification form.

We not only pass on the observations of our readers, but conduct our own – at times without any specific given reason – investigations and offer the state’s attorney juridical as well as technical support. For most parts the charges brought up by haGalil onLine eventually led to convictions. This clearly proves that for the fight against antisemitism no new laws are needed, but the use of the existing laws is sufficient.

Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism hate and hositility against democracy on the Internet, must be battled on the Internet and through the use of the Internet. The efficiency of haGalil onLine proves, that the circulation of the fundamentalistic-nationalistic hate-campaign can be immensely limited through the proper use of the Internet.

David Gall / Transl. Noa Livne
haGalil onLine - www.hagalil.com - P.O.Box: 900 504 - 81505 Munich - Phone.: +49 - (0) 179 - 112 15 46

What can be done should be done:
The Fight Against Anti-Semitism on the Internet

hagalil.com 09-02-2003