Trends in the hashtag “JewishPrivilege” on Twitter as users fight anti-Semitism

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TORONTO – The anti-Semitic hashtag “JewishPrivilege” was in vogue on Twitter Monday after the Jewish people took over to share their experiences of discrimination, an expert saying such hatred is “alive and well” in Canada today. Jewish News says trend started on Sunday night when Israeli writer and activist Hen Mazzig shared his family’s experience with anti-Semitism after others used the hashtag to accuse the Jewish people of being “privileged ”

“#JewishPrivilege is when my grandparents were violently expelled from Iraq and Tunisia for being Jewish with only the clothes on their backs. With 850,000 other UMs [Middle East and North Africa] Jews, they arrived in Israel with nothing, spoke only Arabic and lived in a tin tent / hut for years, “Mazzig tweeted.

“I want all of my faithful Jews to share the ‘Jewish privilege’ that they and their families have experienced. ”

Noah Shack, vice president of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), told CTVNews.ca that #JewishPrivilege has existed for years as an anti-Semitic hashtag used primarily by conspiracy theorists.

“Many of these tropes are well known to Jews who control the media and government, and the economy and unfortunately many of these conspiracy theories have ended in violence in the past,” Shack told CTVNews.ca in a telephone interview on Monday.

“We see a lot of traction on the hashtag now because the Jewish people somehow took it over to discuss these experiences of persecution that have resulted from anti-Semitism, not just as something in the past but of course something who is really alive today. ”

After Mazzig’s tweet, many others joined the conversation, including actress Sarah Silverman, who said she saw other children “throw me pennies on the bus” and had “pastors in Florida calling for my death and telling their congregation that hitting my bite and killing me would be the work of God. ”

Comedian David Baddiel tweeted that “Jews don’t always feel white, if by white you mean, to be frank, sure. Baddiel said he was only 12 when he heard a new professor call him a “Jew” and others agreed. He added that “it is without entering most of my mother’s families who are murdered”.

Dov Hikind, founder of the American anti-Semitism campaign organization, also used the hashtag to tweet: “I had the #JewishPrivilege to grow up without grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins ​​because friends of my parents were almost completely wiped out by Hitler. ”

The hashtag was used more than 100,000 times on Twitter Monday afternoon, trending in the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Shack said anti-Semitism is “not just a relic of the past” and that countries such as Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom are seeing increased discrimination against the Jewish people.

“I am enjoying a life in Canada today because a few generations ago someone was fortunate enough to be able to flee the murderous persecution,” said Shack. “Despite the fact that we live in a wonderful, open, diverse and vibrant democracy here in Canada, I can’t help but worry if my children are the next generation forced to flee. ”

While the Jewish people use the hashtag to raise awareness of discrimination, a number of organizations have expressed concern online that the hashtag is drawing attention to these anti-Semitic tweets.

Danny Stone, CEO of the Antisemitism Policy Trust, tweeted, “Let the #JewishPrivilege trend make me sick. It may not be a hate term, but Twitter should know what it does to communities. ”

The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAAS) also criticized Twitter for not taking steps to curb anti-Semitism on the platform, saying the social media site has “a long history of allowing racism against Jews ”

“The idea that the Jews are a” privileged “group is an insult designed to deny the existence of anti-Semitism and to imply that the Jews are a cause of racism towards other minorities,” twisted CAAS.

However, Shack said that the attention the hashtag is receiving is a “good thing” because it will amplify Jewish voices and “drown those of anti-Semites”.

“It is important that people take note that it is not something that is simply swept under the rug and that Canadians, Jews and non-Jews stand together and denounce it and make it clear that this kind hate [and] there is no place for discrimination in Canada, “said Shack.

“Whether it’s the Jewish people or any other people, that’s just not what this is about here. “

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