Social Media in the Crosshairs: The Effort to Redefine Antisemitism to Quash Criticism of Israel

Sep 10 2020



The Foundation for Middle East Peace and Jewish Currents invite you to attend

Social Media in the Crosshairs: 

The Effort to Redefine Antisemitism to Quash Criticism of Israel


Thursday, September 10th 

11am – 12:15pm ET

Peter Beinart

in conversation with

Lara Friedman (FMEP)

Liz Jackson (Palestine Legal)



Last month, more than 120 organizations, mainly rightwing defenders of Israel, sent a letter to Facebook, calling on the social media giant to “fully adopt” the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, including its “examples” that conflate criticism of Israel with antisemitism. As laid out in detail in analysis by FMEP’s Lara Friedman (Israel-Advocacy Groups Urge Facebook to Label Criticism of Israel as Hate Speech), this letter is part of a global effort to use the IHRA definition not to fight hatred and prejudice against Jews, but to quash criticism and activism that challenges Israel, its policies, or Zionism itself. Coming at a time of growing concerns about surging antisemitism in the U.S. and around the world, it is a battle playing out today on college campuses, in state legislatures, in Congress, across Europe, and increasingly targeting social media platforms. 

To discuss these efforts to exploit the IHRA definition of antisemitism — in laws, regulations, and policies — not to protect Jewish people but to protect the Israeli state from criticism, join us for a conversation between Peter Beinart and two experts working on this issue: Liz Jackson (Palestine Legal) and Lara Friedman (FMEP). 

Panelist biographies

Lara Friedman is the president of FMEP and a former U.S. Foreign Service Officer. With more than 25 years working in the Middle East foreign policy arena, Friedman is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular expertise on the Israeli-Arab conflict, Israeli settlements, Jerusalem, and the role of the U.S. Congress. She is published widely in the U.S. and international press and is regularly consulted by members of Congress and their staffs, by Washington-based diplomats, by policy-makers in capitals around the world, and by journalists in the U.S. and abroad.

Liz Jackson is a founding staff attorney for Palestine Legal and Cooperating Counsel with the Center for Constitutional Rights. Her work includes representing students, professors and activists on free speech and academic freedom issues, documenting the chilling effect of repression campaigns, and educating activists on their rights.


Peter Beinart is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He is also a Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York, a Contributor to The Atlantic, an Editor-at-Large at Jewish Currents, and a CNN Political Commentator.