2012 November » ADL Blogs
November 30, 2012 1

ADL Tracks Hackers Targeting Jewish Institutions For Electronic Jihad

The Moroc­can Ghosts, a polit­i­cally moti­vated hacker group tar­get­ing the web­sites of Jew­ish insti­tu­tions, launched a cyber-attack last week against a server that hosts approx­i­mately 50 Jew­ish con­gre­ga­tional web­sites, includ­ing syn­a­gogues in New Jer­sey and Connecticut.

The hack­ers defaced the tar­geted web­sites with their logo and an hour-long video deny­ing the Holo­caust. The Moroc­can Ghosts, which has report­edly hacked approx­i­mately 82 web­sites since March, had been promis­ing to launch attacks for sev­eral months.

The group cel­e­brated the attack in a state­ment posted to its Face­book page. The state­ment, trans­lated by the Anti-Defamation League, claimed that the attack was car­ried out against “one of the most sig­nif­i­cant and very extreme Zion­ist assem­blies that sup­port Israel in America.”

The state­ment also read: “…we posted on their wall a video that proves the ridicu­lous­ness of accus­ing the Ger­mans with the Holo­caust. It [the holo­caust] was a scam by the Jews to black­mail the Ger­mans and the west after the war and gain inter­na­tional sym­pa­thy to take over Pales­tin­ian lands… The truth is Holo­caust never happened…”

ADL noti­fied Face­book about the group’s activ­ity and sub­se­quently, the page was taken down. The group has since reestab­lished a new Face­book page, fea­tur­ing sim­i­lar con­tent and promis­ing to con­tinue to recre­ate new Face­book pages as needed.

A post on the groups Twit­ter feed warned that “War against the Zion­ist pigs is com­ing com­ing com­ing…,” Through its twit­ter feed, it also declared sup­port to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah, the Pales­tini­ans and the Arab and Islamic causes.

On one of the Moroc­can Ghosts’ YouTube chan­nels, the group describes itself as a Moroc­can patri­otic group that oper­ates under Morocco’s motto “God, the King, and the Home­land.” The group has been tar­get­ing per­ceived sup­port­ers of Israel, mostly but not exclu­sively, in the United States.

In addi­tion to its ani­mos­ity towards Israel, Zion­ists and Jews, the group claims to oppose the Polis­ario Front, a group work­ing for the inde­pen­dence of West­ern Sahara from Morocco.

This lat­est cyber-attack is part of a larger trend of polit­i­cally moti­vated hack­ings tar­get­ing the web­sites of per­ceived sup­port­ers of Israel. ADL’s regional offices can offer guid­ance to Jew­ish insti­tu­tions regard­ing online and dig­i­tal security.

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November 30, 2012 1

Renewed Concerns About “Legislative Prayer”

As we approach 2013, the 30th anniver­sary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s deci­sion on leg­isla­tive prayer, the issue has come alive again.

Thirty years ago, in an ami­cus curiae brief sub­mit­ted to the U.S. Supreme Court oppos­ing the Nebraska Legislature’s prac­tice of des­ig­nat­ing a chap­lain to open its ses­sions with a prayer, ADL noted that the prac­tice was not only uncon­sti­tu­tional but unwise, because it would be polit­i­cally divi­sive.  The Court nev­er­the­less upheld the prac­tice in Marsh v. Cham­bers, carv­ing out a lim­ited excep­tion to the First Amendment’s Estab­lish­ment Clause, which man­dates the sep­a­ra­tion of church and state, for non-sectarian prayers.

Ever since, lower courts have wres­tled with whether and how prayers can be non-sectarian, and recently there has been a new wave of cases.  Courts in at least five states are now con­sid­er­ing var­i­ous forms of prayers before state and local leg­isla­tive bod­ies, county and/or city com­mis­sions, and it may just be a mat­ter of time before the U.S. Supreme Court revis­its the issue.   It has, in fact, become polit­i­cally divi­sive.  When and if a case reaches the Supreme Court, the Court should pro­hibit such “leg­isla­tive prayer” once and for all.

Over the past three decades, courts have already issued widely diverg­ing opin­ions, essen­tially con­firm­ing that a prayer can never truly be non-sectarian.  Some courts have deter­mined that prayers in the name of Jesus, Abra­ham, or Mohammed are not sec­tar­ian or do not advance reli­gion.  Of course, even a seem­ingly non-denominational prayer is likely to cause divi­sions among Chris­tians, Jews and Mus­lims.  And most courts have failed to con­sider that any such prayer would exclude adher­ents of  poly­the­is­tic or East­ern faiths such as Hin­duism or  Bud­dhism, not to men­tion the grow­ing seg­ment of Amer­i­can soci­ety that iden­ti­fies as human­ist or atheist. 

Leg­isla­tive prayer is not only divi­sive, but also a dis­trac­tion from the job of gov­ern­ing that can end up in costly lit­i­ga­tion.  If leg­isla­tive bod­ies deem it nec­es­sary to sol­em­nize their ses­sions, the best prac­tice would be a moment of silence.  It allows offi­cials and cit­i­zens to silently pray or med­i­tate in the faith or beliefs of their choos­ing, with­out gov­ern­ment offi­cials con­vey­ing any actual or per­ceived mes­sage of reli­gious pref­er­ence or exclusion.

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November 26, 2012 1

ADL Report on Campus Anti-Israel Activity in 2011-12

In the past two weeks, close to 40 anti-Israel demon­stra­tions and ral­lies took place on Amer­i­can col­lege cam­puses in reac­tion to Israel’s Oper­a­tion Pil­lar of Defense. These ral­lies, most of which were orga­nized by anti-Israel stu­dent groups like Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine, com­prised more than 1/3 of the total anti-Israel ral­lies that took place across the country.

But this lat­est burst in anti-Israel activ­ity did not take place in a vac­uum. In fact, anti-Israel stu­dent groups are increas­ingly orga­nized and deploy a vari­ety of tools to spread vit­riol about the state of Israel and encour­age other poten­tially like-minded stu­dents to join the cause.

A new ADL report, which looks at the state of anti-Israel activ­ity in the 2011-12 aca­d­e­mic year, high­lights sev­eral new trends and ini­tia­tives that have devel­oped on Amer­i­can cam­puses, includ­ing accu­sa­tions that Israel engages in “pinkwash­ing,” calls for a one-state solu­tion, Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paigns, com­par­isons between Israel’s secu­rity fence and the U.S.-Mexico bor­der, and anti-Semitic events that took place under the guise of anti-Israel activism.

Make sure to check out the new report on our web­site: Anti-Israel Activ­ity on Cam­pus, 2011–2012: An ADL Annual Review

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