Pratt Foundation new backer for OHPI

February 7, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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The Online Hate Prevention Institute, Australia’s national charity for combating online hate, has welcomed the Pratt Foundation as a new major donor.

Dr Andre Oboler

Dr Andre Oboler

OHPI’s Andre Obeler said: “The support from the Pratt Foundation will facilitate a significant increase in our work combating online antisemitism and other forms of online hate. This news comes as OHPI released a new report into efforts to legitimize and make part of mainstream online culture an antisemitic meme originally created and promoted by neo-Nazis.”

The Online Hate Prevention Institute grew of a project based at the Zionist Federation of Australia and was funded by the Pratt Foundation between 2009 and 2011. Rising online hate created a need for this important work to become its own entity and gain charitable status.

OHPI was established in 2012 and the Australian Government admitted OHPI to the register of Harm Prevention Charities that same year. OHPI has continued to grow with support from the Jewish community, the general community, both sides of politics, various government agencies and police nationally and around the country.

Since the Pratt Foundation began supporting work to combat the problem of online antisemitism in 2009, the lack of empirical data on the problem has been a key challenge. No one knows how much online hate there is, or how much of this is antisemitism. Without this data it’s impossible to know if efforts to combat it, by donors and governments, are having an overall impact.

OHPI is currently developing a global reporting system which will accept user reports, evaluate them, and monitor the response of social media companies. This will finally put numbers on the problem. The support of the Pratt Foundation will increase the pace of development of this important work.

The Pratt Foundation support will also facilitate further reports into antisemitism as today’s report into the “Antisemitic Jew meme”. This new report highlights how the antisemitic cartoon character from neo-Nazi circles in 2004 was promoted as a “well known meme” in an effort to gain cultural acceptance online. OHPI’s report highlights the importance of the counter speech role a site like “know your meme” can play in exposing racism, but also highlights the risk of making antisemitism more acceptable in society if this is poorly done.

OHPI’s new report also highlights other antisemitic content including a new version of a Holocaust denial Facebook page OHPI previously had closed, and a Facebook page promoting the classic antisemitic idea of blood libel, which is causing distress internationally, but which is thankfully blocked in Australia.

OHPI’s technical expertise sets it apart from other organisations around the globe.  Our recommendations cause real systemic change leading to permanent improvements. In 2009 the Pratt Foundation made it possible for Australia to become an international leader in the fight against online antisemitism. The Pratt Foundation’s 2014 support for OHPI will allow the charity to better address the growing challenge online hate poses to Australian society and the Jewish community.

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