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The PSC responds to criticism from CAA

Recently the Campaign Against Antisemitism published a report detailing the scale and nature of the antisemitic comments posted on the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Facebook page.  The compilers found that over 7% of the comments in November were antisemitic (out of a total of around 3,000).  Their foreword concludes:

We challenge the patrons, trade unions and students’ unions that endorse PSC to publicly withdraw their support until PSC unequivocally endorses and enforces the International Definition of Antisemitism used by the British Government, the College of Policing and the National Union of Students, along with thirty other nations. Sadly it is common for Jews to suffer a double antisemitism: not only are we subjected to antisemitic abuse, but when we highlight that abuse we are accused of dissembling and conspiring to cry wolf as a means of silencing our enemies, a claim which itself is antisemitic. Campaign Against Antisemitism is concerned with antisemitic bigotry. We act without any reference to politics whatsoever. Yet we fully expect that among PSC supporters, this report will be seen as a cynical political manipulation, thus further proving our claim that the pro-Palestine movement is deeply infused with antisemitism.

The examples included cover the full spectrum of antisemitic tropes.  Here’s a sample:

I wasn’t sure about the control mechanism adopted by the CAA:

• PSC permits hate speech against Jews, but does not permit it against other groups. We tested PSC’s moderation policy by posting hate speech against a non-existent people from a comic strip (the “Bangalla People”). The ‘hate speech’ we posted was almost identical to anti-Jewish sentiment which PSC allowed to be published. Within six hours, PSC removed the “Bangallaphobic” content and banned the account which posted it

A moderator might well have deleted such comments because they seemed nonsensical – I would have found it more interesting to hear how the moderators dealt with anti-Arab or anti-Muslim comments.

Now the PSC has posted a response.  In fact it has posted two responses – the first for some reason (together with its comments) has been deleted.  From what I remember it wasn’t too different from this version though.

It acknowledges the problem and indicates that it will do more to tackle this, and I can sympathise with the difficulties of moderating a busy site.  (Although almost inevitably Islamophobia is reflexively coupled with antisemitism, even though that wasn’t the issue here.)

A quick trawl through the site this morning revealed further problematic material – including a textbook case of ‘Zionists’ being used as code for ‘Jews’.  Even if you want to quibble over whether extreme anti-Israel rhetoric is antisemitic – are such hateful and murderous comments compatible with the PSC’s stated principles?

I have asked on the site whether it is possible to tag a moderator directly – this should  make it much easier to identify and deal with such comments.

Hat Tip: Howie