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October 14, 2014 1

Florida Temple Latest Target For ISIS Sympathizing Hackers

Update — 10/15/14: ADL alerted Face­book about the “Team Sys­tem Dz”  Face­book page. The page was removed from Face­book by the fol­low­ing day. ADL applauds Facebook’s response to the hacker group’s effort to exploit its service. 

Last week, as Jews were cel­e­brat­ing the hol­i­day of Sukkot, a hacker group call­ing itself “Team Sys­tem Dz” attacked the web­site of Tem­ple Kol Ami Emmanu-El in South Florida, redi­rect­ing vis­i­tors to a page with mes­sages express­ing sup­port of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).team-system-dz-florida-temple-hackers

Vis­i­tors to the synagogue’s web­site were directed to state­ments in Eng­lish such as “I love you ISIS” and an Ara­bic state­ment promis­ing to “never for­get about the heroes of the Mus­lim Ummah [nation] who sac­ri­ficed their lives for the sake of God,” an appar­ent ref­er­ence to ISIS fight­ers. Vis­i­tors also saw an image of the Star of David crossed out next to the words, “F[ ] You Israel.

This inci­dent is the lat­est in a series of attacks against Jew­ish insti­tu­tional web­sites car­ried out by groups appar­ently based in the Mid­dle East and North Africa. While past hack­ing efforts against Jew­ish insti­tu­tions have focused on the Israeli Pales­tin­ian con­flict, more recent attacks against Jew­ish and non-Jewish tar­gets are being car­ried out in the name of ISIS.

“Team Sys­tem Dz” claimed credit for and bragged about its “hacks of Jew­ish web­sites espe­cially the web­site of the Miami tem­ple” on its Face­book page. The claim of credit noted that the attack “coin­cided with the time of one of the Jew­ish cel­e­bra­tions [and] cre­ated a big noise on media sites.” The group’s Face­book page also claims to have tar­geted other web­sites, includ­ing other Jew­ish and Israeli web­sites around the world.

Yes­ter­day the group threat­ened addi­tional attacks against Amer­i­can and Israeli web­sites. “…we will spend all the time for a mas­sive num­ber of attacks on Amer­i­can and Israeli web­sites, with God’s will they will be hacked. Curse upon Amer­ica and Israel.”

The group appears to be based in Alge­ria; its Face­book pro­file cover image includes the phrase “Proud to be Alger­ian” and other posts fea­ture Alger­ian flags and sym­bols. The “Dz” in the group’s name seems to be a ref­er­ence to the inter­net domain des­ig­na­tion for Alge­ria. Fur­ther­more, most announce­ments on the page are writ­ten in the Alger­ian Ara­bic dialect.

In addi­tion to “Team Sys­tem Dz,” the name “Jor­dan Earth­quake” in Ara­bic was also listed on the page that the temple’s vis­i­tors were redi­rected to.  “Jor­dan Earth­quake” appears to be a hacker closely affil­i­ated with “Team Sys­tem Dz.” Var­i­ous posts on the group’s Face­book page indi­cate that “Jor­dan Earth­quake” is a part­ner in sev­eral of its hack­ing operations.

The “Team Sys­tem Dz” Face­book page also con­tains mate­ri­als pre­pared by the media bureau of ISIS. The group’s Twit­ter han­dle uses sev­eral ISIS-related hash­tags and includes links to many media accounts about the temple’s website’s hacking.

Jew­ish web­sites in the U.S. have become a com­mon tar­get for hacker groups in the Arab and Mus­lim world. Below is a sam­pling of attacks launched by var­i­ous hacker groups against Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in the U.S. in the past few years.

  • In July 2014, The Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail hacker group claimed respon­si­bil­ity for van­dal­iz­ing the web­sites of Jew­ish con­gre­ga­tions in Penn­syl­va­nia and Hous­ton with mes­sages in sup­port of Gaza.
  • In Decem­ber 2013, the Tunisia based group, Fal­laga, hacked the web­site of the Missouri-based Jew­ish Radio.
  • In July 2013, the web­site of a Jew­ish com­mu­nal high school pro­gram in upstate New York was hacked by a mem­ber of the Gaza Hack­ers Team. The web­site was defaced with anti-Israel messages.
  • In Decem­ber 2012, the Bangladesh Cyber Army hacker group tar­geted the web­site of a Tem­ple in Omaha and posted images depict­ing what the group called “Israel killing children.”

Other hacker groups like aljyyosh (“the armies” in Ara­bic) claim to have hacked into per­sonal infor­ma­tion belong­ing to Amer­i­can Jews and Israelis and pro­vided instruc­tions on how to hack into such per­sonal infor­ma­tion on their var­i­ous online forums.

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August 28, 2014 0

Moving Forward From Ferguson

“His­tory sim­mers beneath the sur­face in more com­mu­ni­ties than just Fer­gu­son,” Attor­ney Gen­eral Eric Holder aptly rec­og­nized dur­ing his visit there. The con­ver­sa­tion about Fer­gu­son can­not start with the death of Michael Brown, a young unarmed black man shot to death by a white police offi­cer.  Though tragic in and of itself, the story goes back much further.ferguson-civil-rights

It is a sad tru­ism that America’s laws—and the peo­ple charged with enforc­ing them—have not always pro­tected com­mu­ni­ties of color.  In the infa­mous Dred Scott case, which orig­i­nated just miles from Fer­gu­son, the Supreme Court shame­fully ruled in 1857 that African Amer­i­cans had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”  Though the case served as a cat­a­lyst for the Civil War and the 13th, 14th and 15th Amend­ments rat­i­fied shortly there­after to super­sede the rul­ing, deep-seated racism continued.

Jim Crow laws seg­re­gated soci­ety and rel­e­gated African Amer­i­cans to second-class cit­i­zens. Lynch­ings ter­ror­ized com­mu­ni­ties.  All too often not only did law enforce­ment fail to pro­tect African Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties, but police offi­cers par­tic­i­pated in the lynch mobs.  Dur­ing the Civil Rights Move­ment, now-infamous images cap­tured police offi­cers using dogs, fire hoses and billy clubs against peace­ful protestors.

Since the Civil Rights Move­ment half a cen­tury ago we have worked hard as a nation to move towards a more just and equal soci­ety. We have come a long way, but Fer­gu­son stands as a stark reminder that we still have a long way to go.

In address­ing the cri­sis in Fer­gu­son, the first step must be open and respect­ful dia­logue.  We can­not move for­ward unless and until we face the past.  Part of that dis­cus­sion must be about the role of law enforce­ment and their rela­tion­ship with the com­mu­ni­ties they have sworn to serve and protect.

Since 1999 the Anti-Defamation League, in part­ner­ship with the United States Holo­caust Museum, has con­ducted train­ings for law enforce­ment—from police chiefs and the head of fed­eral agen­cies to recruits and new FBI agents—exploring what hap­pens when police lose sight of the val­ues they swore to uphold and their role as pro­tec­tors of the  peo­ple they serve. By con­trast­ing the con­duct of police in Nazi Ger­many, and the role that law enforce­ment is expected to play in our democ­racy, the pro­gram under­scores the impor­tance of safe­guard­ing con­sti­tu­tional rights, build­ing trust with the peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties they serve, and the tragic con­se­quences when there is a gap between how law enforce­ment behaves and the core val­ues of the profession.

We know from our work that the vast major­ity of offi­cers care deeply about the com­mu­ni­ties they serve.  But that is not to say police are infal­li­ble.  None of us is.  And there are cer­tainly some within law enforce­ment who engage in mis­con­duct, as is the case in every pro­fes­sion.  But the bad acts of some can­not and do not define law enforcement.

Amer­ica is strongest and safest when there is mutual under­stand­ing and trust between law enforce­ment and com­mu­ni­ties.  We must seek to build those bridges by rec­og­niz­ing our trou­ble­some past, acknowl­edg­ing the prob­lems per­sist­ing today, and com­mit­ting to changes that move us for­ward to a more per­fect union.

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August 21, 2014 0

Anti-Zionist Group Targets Jewish Institutions

Over the past two weeks, demon­stra­tors from Jew­ish Voice for Peace (JVP), the largest Jew­ish anti-Zionist group in the United States, have entered Jew­ish insti­tu­tion build­ings to directly con­front the lead­ers of major Amer­i­can Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions over their sup­port for Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge.

On four sep­a­rate occa­sions, mem­bers of JVP made their way into build­ings belong­ing to Jew­ish insti­tu­tions and began to protest inside. Their goal in get­ting inside the build­ings was to hand deliver an open let­ter call­ing the insti­tu­tional Jew­ish community’s sup­port for Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge “painful” and “a betrayal of our [Jew­ish] his­tory and values.”

1. New York City (August 20) – Mem­bers of JVP’s New York City chap­ter entered the UJA-Federation offices in Man­hat­tan. One of the pro­test­ers, who live-tweeted from the demon­stra­tion, wrote “Occu­py­ing UJA fed­er­a­tion office in NYC now.” The pro­test­ers even­tu­ally moved their demon­stra­tion to the side­walk out­side of the building.

2. Den­ver (August 19) – The Front Range JVP chap­ter led a group of pro­test­ers into the JEW­ISH­col­orado build­ing in Den­ver. Inside the build­ing, pro­test­ers attempted to deliver their peti­tion to JEWISHcolorado’s Pres­i­dent and CEO Doug Seser­man. After their request was denied, they moved the demon­stra­tion to the building’s lobby and then even­tu­ally out­side of the build­ing after 911 was report­edly called.

3. Durham (August 12) – A small group of pro­test­ers from JVP’s North Car­olina chap­ter inter­rupted the “Com­mu­nity Gath­er­ing in Sup­port of Israel and Peace,” which was spon­sored by the Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tions of Raleigh-Cary and Durham-Chapel Hill. While a speaker was deliv­er­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion, mem­bers of the group inter­rupted his speech, unfolded a large ban­ner and began to make demands from insti­tu­tional Jew­ish lead­er­ship about their stance on Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge.

jvp-jewish-federation-philadelphia

JVP mem­bers at the Philadel­phia Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion building

4. Philadel­phia (August 8) – Pro­test­ers from JVP’s Philadel­phia chap­ter made their way into the Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion offices in Philadel­phia. After gain­ing entrance, they demanded to meet with the Federation’s CEO Naomi Adler. After being told that they would not receive an appoint­ment, a small por­tion of the group refused to leave the build­ing and con­tin­ued to protest inside, report­edly lead­ing to their arrest.

Six other protests have also taken place out­side of Jew­ish insti­tu­tions over the past month, although var­i­ous groups such as Al-Awda and the newly-founded If Not Now, When?, have orga­nized those. No attempts were made to enter the Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in those cases, but like JVP, the pro­test­ers called on the Jew­ish com­mu­nity to con­demn Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge.

At least 25 other protests have taken place out­side of build­ings affil­i­ated with Israel or Israeli com­pa­nies. At one of those demon­stra­tions, mem­bers of JVP and Jews Say No! made their way into the offices of Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF). Once inside, the demon­stra­tors began to protest and con­ducted a “die-in.” Nine pro­tes­tors were report­edly arrested.

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