Take My Mother To Work Day: CyberWell

29 Nov

A recent trip to Israel gave me an opportunity to visit my daughter’s jobsite.  The last time I visited her on the job, she worked at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Jaffa.  She was using her education and experience to help create peace in the Middle East, definitely a difficult aspiration.  Her new job focus has switched to stopping the rise of antisemitism and Jew-hate speech on social media platforms.  My daughter has always wanted to make the world a better place.

CyberWell is a start-up NGO founded by Tal-Or Cohen, an attorney and American-Israeli who saw that Jew-hatred was growing on social media.  She thought her expertise in law and her experience researching extremist movements In the US on social media would work together as astart to combating this growing problem.   She founded CyberWell as an ethical high tech non-profit with the aim to make social media less hateful.

A colleague of my daughter’s from the Peres Center is a close friend of Tal-Or’s, and recommended that my daughter could help in this quest.

In October of 2021, my daughter joined the team.  In May 2022, the site came online, first as Global ARC, now recently renamed CyberWell. The work of CyberWell is to document social media hate speech directed mainly at Jews and Israel, to report this hate speech to the social media platforms and to get it removed in all instances.  Recently when the artist, Ye, formally Kanye, started posting antisemitic tropes on social media, CyberWell could track the major increase in hate speech.  Their documentation of the data is being used by others working to stop this rise of hatred and have social media adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism. 

Tal-Or Cohen has been cited in several articles about this effort. In ‘the algemeiner,” she is quoted: “’Data must be the cornerstone of our fight against online antisemitism,’ said Tal-Or Cohen, the CEO of CyberWell, the company that provided the data for the antisemitic tweets recorded in the letter. ‘In the face of skyrocketing digital Jew-hatred, social media platforms should take meaningful actions and integrate the IHRA definition into their community standards.’”

My daughter’s job is behind the scenes. As Program and Ops Manager, she organizesand searches for ways to connect with others who would support the mission of CyberWell and work with the organization on this important endeavor. You can learn more about the team and CyberWell by going to the website: https://cyberwell.org/our-team/

My visit to CyberWell and its offices near the Sarona area of Tel Aviv was enlightening.  The offices are housed in a shared office space, Panthera, that was started by a woman who wanted to give other women entrepreneurs a chance.  The space is perfect.  CyberWell has two small offices side by side for the four people who currently work on site. But there are lots of shared spaces for conferences and meetings.  There is also a wonderful event space that can be rented for events or can be used by people who work there to have meals.  My favorite area was the outdoor patio that can be accessed from the shared space. They have found a wonderful place to work while trying to clean up social media.

Tal-Or, Vered, Lara and I shared a lunch in the Sarona Market, where they told me more about what they were doing, what type of hatred they were seeing on line, and their plans to tackle and try to end antisemitism and other hate speech on social media.

Vered, Tal-Or, Lara. The CyberWell team.

It is a lofty plan, one that I think is well worth the effort.

In my role as one of their greatest fans, I gave them as much positive reinforcement as any mother could and I treated them to lunch.  Honestly it made me kvell to be with these three young women who are trying to do good in the world.  

I have many friends who fear that the hatred against Jews right now is similar to what happened in 1930s in Nazi Germany and Europe. But I see a major difference. Jews are not keeping quiet. We have many who are pushing back. CyberWell is one such company. If you wish to help them in their work, you can join their mission or support them by emailing hello@cyberwell.org or donating through their 501(c)3 fiscal sponsors here.

3 Responses to “Take My Mother To Work Day: CyberWell”

  1. Amy November 30, 2022 at 4:17 pm #

    What important work your daughter is doing. We need it now more than ever.

    • zicharon November 30, 2022 at 4:21 pm #

      I hope it does some good. But glad they are trying!

      • Amy November 30, 2022 at 4:22 pm #

        Me, too.

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