Enlisting Celebrities in the fight against antisemitism is welcome but not enough.
The best way to defeat antisemitism on social media is with an army of volunteers fighting daily, hour-by-hour. As such, the appointment of Ms. Tishbi as a “special envoy to combat antisemitism and delegitimization” came as no surprise.
Tishbi’s activism in social media on behalf of Israel is welcome and appreciated. It will certainly benefit the work of all those involved in the Israeli government and the Israeli Foreign Service in particular.
However, if Foreign Minister Yair Lapid or any of the citizens of Israel believe that it will settle the fight against antisemitism and hatred of Israel online and in general by appointing one person or another – they are mistaken. There are enormous challenges ahead in our attempt to influence social network policy. These challenges include removing content that calls for the destruction of the state or locating citizens who plan to harm Jews in synagogues. In this case, it is similar to the battle between David and Goliath; however, one stone is not enough to wake the giant from his sleep.
The joining of an eloquent speaker, familiar and important as they may be, deserves to be part of an overall, well-planned campaign against age-old hatred. In such a campaign, it is important to set goals and detailed plans, budgets for developing technical tools, recruiting and training professionals, and connecting more Israelis in Israel and worldwide to the primary goal. Thus, it is time for the Israeli government to invest more resources in local non-profit organizations and volunteers working in the field.
While the Foreign Minister calls for the mobilization of “one million Israelis for high-tech,” the struggle to prevent investors from boycotting Israeli developments in the future is left behind. Unlike in the glamorous world of start-ups, the Israeli government misses the human capital that lives among us. They are the same Israelis who want to contribute and help the country while traveling in London or Paris.
FOA has been involved in this battle for the past two years. Since the inception of the Organization, we have trained hundreds of volunteers in Israel and around the world, removed antisemitic links together with the social media companies, and developed technological tools – without a reasonable budget from the government. Unfortunately, government bodies hardly find it appropriate to fund non-profit organizations operating in the field. There is no doubt about their intention and dedication to the effort and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, among other things, assists many professionals in promoting ongoing activities.
But it seems that sometimes the priorities in the state budget and inter-ministerial and inter-bureaucratic politics prevent non-profit organizations from continuing to exist or expanding existing activities. Thus, the current government and its predecessors leave the real battle for resourceless citizens and promote tax money actions whose real benefit does not realize their potential.
Now is the time to adequately fund non-profits and official agencies worldwide and give them the appropriate resources to form a solid foundation for work. Provide activists in the field, familiar with the situation, and have the necessary skills with proper budgets and professional assistance. By doing so, we will be able to move towards a world free from antisemitism.