25 Nov, 2020
JERUSALEM WEATHER

In response to a significant rise in online anti-Semitism, the organization They Can’t has dedicated itself to the removal of anti-Semitic hate videos from YouTube and other social media platforms. This Herculean task was made far more difficult two months ago, at the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, held in Jerusalem.

At the forum, representatives of numerous organizations, including Eliyahou Roth, founder of They Can’t, explained the magnitude of the problem of online anti-Semitism to Google Senior Policy Counsel and YouTube Head of Policy Juniper Downs at length. According to Roth, it appears that YouTube didn’t like what he had to say.

Prior to the forum, They Can’t had a high success rate, causing the removal of 75 percent of anti-Semitic videos reported to YouTube. Immediately after the forum, that rate dropped to 15 percent, and has stayed there since the forum was held in May.

The impetus behind They Can’t began when Roth immigrated to Israel 11 years ago. “I was studying in yeshiva (seminary), and my non-Jewish friend asked me what I was learning, and I said Talmud,” he told Breaking Israel News. “He searched the word Talmud on Google video and found that the Talmud teaches Jews how to kill Christians and make matzah with their blood. He called me back frantic and said, ‘This is what you are learning’.”

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“My friend believed that I was learning how to kill him,” he said. “I had to send him other links explaining what the Talmud actually is.” Roth correctly points out that even today, when doing a simple search on YouTube with the word Talmud, at least three of the top 10 videos that come up are blatantly anti-Semitic.  

Traumatized by the experience, Roth felt he needed to take action.

Today, They Can’t operates in three languages – English, French and German. “We are going to create one in Hebrew as well, and one in Spanish,” Roth said. “We are aiming to go global because the internet is global.”

The site creates calls to action for its followers, asking them to participate in efforts to take down hateful content. “We ask the people to go to the videos and to report them as hateful content to YouTube,” explained Roth. It is a method that the website calls “crowd reporting.”

The site also monitors YouTube accounts that typically upload hateful content and flags these videos. “I spend two hours a day scanning YouTube and watching these hateful videos. And it is hard. I have to take a shower afterwards,” said Roth.

Many people don’t report hateful content simply because they’re reluctant to watch it in the first place, Roth explained. “It is easy to like and to share online. When we have a video called “*#@%-ing Jews”, people aren’t supposed to like it or share,” he said. “So for a video like this, when we send it out on our call-to-action, only about 10 percent will go to the video and report it. It is simply too offensive for the rest of our followers to watch or even open.”

List of anti-Semitic and hateful YouTube channels targeted by They Can't

List of anti-Semitic and hateful YouTube channels targeted by They Can’t

Roth and his team at They Can’t are in a very difficult place. On the one hand, they need as many people as possible to go to these videos and report them for hate speech, while on the other, they don’t want to increase clicks and web traffic to this repugnant content.

Another difficulty facing Roth and the organization is cyber-bullying and sometimes outright threats by anti-Semitic supporters around the world who attack They Can’t users for simply following the site or for reporting a video.

Recounted a few success stories of the organization, Roth said, “A 17-year-old in the US was cyber-bullied from a number of websites a year ago, and he went to the police. All of the accounts that were bullying him were closed down.”

Despite their hard work, there are still many active YouTube channels continuing to spew their anti-Semitic hatred, including Hitler missed a fucking jew #1, Food Medicine – Jew Pharma Money Mongers, Astral Legions – Final Eradication Of The Jewish Parasite, and hownationsdie.avi.

With YouTube no longer being as responsive to crowd reporting, Roth has been forced to change his tactics. “If YouTube was removing the hateful content, then that would be fine. But now that they are not removing the videos, even after we report them numerous times, then our purpose is really to spread the word about what is going on out there and to shock people,” he explained.  

“Hate is happening out there and it is happening on the biggest websites in the world. People need to be shocked. And they need to take action.”