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World Leaders Meet in Sweden to Discuss How Social Media Is Influencing Anti-Semitism

World Leaders Meet in Sweden to Discuss How Social Media Is Influencing Anti-Semitism

World leaders met in Sweden this week for the International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and discussed how social media is influencing anti-Semitism.

"Anti-Semitism is an infusion of hate into pockets of ignorance, a force of destruction which wears down any virtue in its path," said Israeli President Isaac Herzog. "It will require not only improving Holocaust education in schools, such as the outstanding program of Yad Vashem, but also working aggressively on social media, including with and confronting social media companies to ensure that hateful incitement is quickly removed."

According to CBN News, YouTube and Facebook officials have said they will also work to quickly eliminate hate speech from their online sites.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said the company is "now removing 15 times more hate speech than we were just five years ago. And we are not going to stop."

Facebook has pledged more than $5.8 million to the effort.

The U.S. has earmarked $1 million to fight online anti-Semitism in the Middle East and North Africa, said United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The U.S. also has started "an expanded series of international visitor leadership programs" to confront anti-Semitism in North Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America, he said.

"Our priorities include condemning and countering anti-Semitism, ensuring physical security for Jewish communities, supporting Holocaust education, especially for young people, protecting religious freedom and urging countries to commit more deeply to the fight against hate speech online," Blinken said in a video message.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said anti-Semitism is a "poison to our democracies," and the European Union is hoping to name European ambassadors for Holocaust remembrance.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said she is planning new memorial sites, Holocaust museums and educational programs about the Holocaust.

Dani Dayani, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, said the forum was a success.

"Against the backdrop of the alarming rise in antisemitism worldwide, the Malmö Forum provides an important international platform to raise global awareness of the need for Holocaust remembrance as well as an opportunity for government officials and the world community to join forces in the fight against this destructive and age-old phenomenon," he said.

Photo courtesy: ©Dole/Unsplash

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.