Anti-Israel incitement by Arabs is at an all-time high, thanks to the internet, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told a group of lawmakers and media activists at an international event in Yerushalayim on Tuesday. The year 2017 saw a more than 500-percent rise in incidents of online incitement than were seen in 2016, she said.
The uptick for the incitement, she told attendees of an international conference on preventing on-line incitement, was the announcement that the United States was moving its embassy to Yerushalayim. “This event, which was widely covered in the media, both in Israel and abroad, led to a massive response calling for violence and terror against Israelis by the ‘Palestinian street,’” Shaked said. “It is very clear that those who carry out terror attacks are directly influenced by the content they see on the web.”
In 2017, Shaked said, the Justice Ministry had filed 12,351 complaints with web sites demanding that incitement-related, violent, or other illegal materials be removed. In 2016 the Ministry filed just 2,241 complaints. In 2017 nearly three-quarters of the complaints related to anti-Israel and anti-Semitic content, while a quarter related to violence and terror. Most of the web-site hosting companies responded by removing the offending material, but Shaked said that she expected sites to police themselves and remove the content without the need for a request to do so.
“This incitement, which unfortunately the Palestinian Authority is also involved in, requires our constant policing of web sites and social media,” Shaked said. “We have been investing in ways to identify and remove offending materials more quickly. On our agenda is battling incitement and terror, as well as hatred of other types, including bullying, illicit images and racist content,” she added.