Antisemitism – Digital Companies Role in Safeguarding & Supporting Fundamental Rights

Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and museum staff reported that Anti-Semitic graffiti has been found at the camp complex. Anti-Semitic phrases were written using spray paints on Nine barracks of the Auschwitz II-Birkenau site, which is largest camp of the complex. Auschwitz concentration camp is a complex of 40 concentration camp and was operated by Nazi Germany for extermination of Jews during second World War. More than one million Jews were killed inside the camp. The atrocities are marked as indelible scar on the collective conscience of human beings.

The statement from Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and museum said that graffiti has “two references to the Old Testament, often used by antisemites, and denial slogans”. The statement also read that “Such incident … an offense against the Memorial Site … is, above all, an outrageous attack on the symbol of one of the greatest tragedies in human history and an extremely painful blow to the memory of all the victims of the German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.”

Anti-Semitism is one of the lengthiest and deepest form of hatred, world has ever experienced. Hatred continued even after the Holocaust and continually deepening with passage of time and surfacing globally under various forms and shapes, evident in the form of abhorrent vengeance and violence against Jewish communities, desecrating cemeteries, burning synagogues etc.  

European Commission has formulated the EU strategy for keeping a check on rising antisemitism, and for taking necessary steps to combat it. The strategy will be known as “EU Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life” and will focus on three key elements for achieving its objectives i.e. preventing antisemitism, fostering Jewish life and promoting the research and remembrance of Holocaust. EU has undertaken a great step by clearly communicating commitment of EU to be free from antisemitism.

In a digital world, anti-Semitism has taken a digital shape and has become much more serious. The Commission has strategized to build the legal safeguard under proposed Digital Services Act by providing by intending to provide a framework of guidance and obligations of online companies, marketplace and digital platforms. Proposal intends to curb, harmful and illegal behaviour against vulnerable communities. In times to come, the guidelines will increase the responsibilities of digital companies and will change the way in which digital marketplace functions.

The initiative will also be strengthened by The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act, which will prevent high-risk AI systems from being used in the propagation of bias and discriminations. If required, AI algorithms can also be deployed for reinforcing counter-narratives to address the challenges of antisemitism, conspiracy theories and denial / distortion of Holocaust. Further, the Code of practice on Disinformation is being strengthened.  Commission will also continue to focus for analysing as well as responding to disinformation, incitement to violence, extremist rhetoric and hate speech under Action Plan on Disinformation and European Democracy Action Plan.

Antisemitism is centuries old problem leading to persecutions, pogroms, and Holocaust of the Jewish communities, which have contributed immensely in shaping the modern world.

Hatred goes against the fundamental right of human dignity and history has taught us, that if hatred goes unchecked for a very long time, it gains the root of power, which impound   freedom, equality democracy and the rule of law. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU prohibits, any discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion and belief.

Various funding programs will be used under European Commission strategy, for achieving the objectives of the strategy, especially the citizens, equality, rights and values (CERV) programme. At a budget of EUR 1.55 billion, the program stands to give a mega push, for promotion of fundamental rights in Europe. Adoption by EU,  will also help in gaining more seriousness and scale in other parts of the World.  

Bureau Galactik Views

Related articles