OSCE Meeting on the Relationship between
Racist, Xenophobic and Anti-Semitic Propaganda on the Internet and Hate
Crimes, Paris, 16 – 17 June 2004
One of the most acute dilemmas facing us at the outset of
the Twenty-First Century:
The proliferation of hate material on the internet
Mass communication is not anymore on its
infancy. With the Internet, we are dealing with a phenomenon unparalleled in
all of History. Instant communication is possible, to all points on the
globe, at minimum cost.
Statement by Mr. Nimrod Barkan, Head of the
Delegation of Israel, Session 1
Chairman, esteemed heads of delegations,
We have gathered here to confront on of the
most acute dilemmas facing us at the outset of the Twenty-First Century. We
are called upon to calibrate our fight against the proliferation of hate
material on the internet while at the same time remaining true to one of the
key values, if not the key value, in maintaining and fostering democratic
society; free expression and the free exchange of ideas.
Israel is well aware of this dilemma. We are
the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, and the public debate in
our country is robust, to say the least. However, we are also cognizant that
there is a line which separates politics from hate.
We are concerned, though of course not exclusively, with the ever growing
presence on the World Wide Web of anti-Semitic sites. Whether we are dealing
with Neo-Nazi groups who promote an agenda of so-called White Supremacy or
Radical Islamic groups, many of whom are tied to international terror, we
are forced to confront humanity’s oldest hatred in its most modern form. Let
us be clear, these sites do not promote the free exchange of ideas
envisioned by the fathers of the Enlightenment. They do encourage genocidal
hatred towards Jews as well as others and constitute a clear, present and
imminent danger to society.
I refer specifically, but not exclusively, to
web – sites such as:
Let me be clear, our fight is not with Islam, but rather with those, who in
the name of Islam, have chosen to designate the Jewish People and the State
of Israel as the primary cause of the World’s problems, and preach the
destruction of the Jewish People as the remedy for the World’s ills.
Another site worth mentioning is:
This site is a veritable encyclopedia of hatred. It contains scores of
headings such as: Jewish Genocides, Jewish Hate-Groups, Jewish Spies et
There is also:
The Christian Party
This site contains a whole section entitled (the) “Talmud – Destroying
Of course there are many other sites which are
similar in content.
Be assured, we also look to our own house, in
order to make sure that sentiments which are racist, and engender
inter-ethnic strife and hatred are not publicized in the media or on the
internet in Israel.
The State of Israel has, therefore, enacted laws prohibiting incitement on the
basis of religion, ethnicity, race or national origin, and they are enforced
Cases of incitement on the grounds mentioned above are dealt with by an
inter-ministerial committee composed of representatives of the Ministry of
Justice, the State Prosecutor’s Office and the Police. An investigation of
alleged incitement in the mass media may only be initiated by the Attorney
General of Israel himself and not by any subsidiary body. On the one hand we
are aware of the serious and imminent negative implications which racist and
xenophobic incitement has for society and civil peace. On the other hand by
empowering only the Attorney General to open investigations of this sort we
acknowledge that any infringement upon the freedom of speech must be
implemented with the requisite gravitas.
While it is important for these phenomena to
investigated and exposed, their perpetrators must also be tried and
punished. The Judiciary must also do its job. Hate-mongers cannot continue
to engage mass propaganda without having to pay a price for it.
In the realm of international cooperation in the field of law enforcement, I
wish to note that Israel participates actively in the G-8 24/7 Computer
Crime Network and we were present at the last meeting which was held in Rome
in March, 2004.
Israel is presently studying the Convention on Cybercrime along with the
additional protocol “Concerning the Criminalization of Acts of a Racist and
Xenophobic Nature Committed Through Computer Systems”. Our preliminary
impression of both of these documents is favorable and we believe that they
can form a firm legal basis for combating hateful incitement, including
anti-Semitism on the Internet.
It was the renowned poet John Keats who wrote “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.
That is all ye know on Earth, and all ye need to know”. After the horrors of
the Twentieth Century we all in fact know better. That which is
aesthetically appealing may in fact be lies, and that which is true may not
be all that attractive. The greatest orgy of mass murder in human history,
the Shoah, was engendered by a mighty propaganda machine, which in fact
harnessed the then prevalent forms of mass communication, radio and motion
picture films, in an aesthetic and powerful manner.
Then, we were dealing with mass communication
in its infancy. Today, with the Internet, we are dealing with a phenomenon
unparalleled in all of History. Instant communication is possible, to all
points on the globe, at minimum cost. Some of the most abhorrent web sites
are actually most aesthetic; conveying the image of serious academic
research with “up to the minute” information.
When approaching the Internet, perhaps instead of Keats we should keep in mind
the words of the Ecclesiastes, written some 2500 years ago: “Charm is
deceitful and beauty is worthless”.
OSCE Meeting on Racist, Xenophobic and Anti-Semitic Propaganda
on the Internet
between freedom of speech and control of incitement
I think it became clear, that
we cannot perceive the internet primarily as a threat, but much more should use
the chance it offers to promote understanding and dialogue in a pluralistic and
from Paris RA)
Public and Private Partnership:
Against Racism, Xenophobia and anti-Semitism on the Internet
An Introduction by Miklós Haraszti, OSCE-Representative on
Freedom of the Media...
Some arguments by Ms. Karin Spaink:
Why discriminatory speech on the internet
cannot – and should not – be banned
OSCE / FOM Objections pertaining to constitutional rights and
Technical and political considerations:
Is prohibiting hate-speech
feasible - or desirable?
At the OSCE Paris conference a number of countries / NGOs
appealed to regulate the internet in order to stop hate speech. However, and
contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as 'the internet'...
Security and Transparency:
Online Propaganda and the Commission of Hate
by Michael Whine, Chairman of the Community Security Trust,
which provides defence and security services for the Jewish community in the
..."Let the bright light of truth expose
their bigotry, so their lies can be unmasked"...
by Stephan M. Minikes, Ambassador, U.S. Mission...
Cyberspace is a reflection of
If we put enough effort in education that promotes respect for differences,
peaceful co-existence and tolerance, the Internet will also become hate-free...
16./17. Juni - OSZE-Konferenz in Paris:
Fremdenhass und Antisemitismus im Internet
Am kommenden Mittwoch und Donnerstag findet in Paris
eine OSZE-Konferenz statt, die die Zusammenhänge zwischen rassistischer,
fremdenfeindlicher und antisemitischer Propaganda im Internet und Hassdelikten
zum Thema hat...
Antisemitische Propaganda im Internet:
Hass ist das Ende der Welt
Methoden zur Rechtsdurchsetzung und Erfahrungen mit
der strafrechtlichen Verfolgung antisemitischer u./o. rechtsextremistischer
Ein Motivvorrat, der in jeder Epoche wieder
aktualisiert werden kann:
Zum Begriff des Antisemitismus
Die Wortbildung basiert auf
sprachwissenschaftlichen und völkerkundlichen Unterscheidungen des ausgehenden
18. Jahrhunderts, in denen mit dem Begriff des Semitismus der "Geist" der
semitischen Völker im Unterschied zu dem der Indogermanen erfasst und abgewertet
CONCLUSIONS BY THE CHAIR OF THE OSCE
(English) OSCE Conference Berlin- Session 4 / David Gall]