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December 29, 2014

Indian Soap Opera Invoking Hitler’s Name Airs In The Arab World

An Indian soap opera that ADL criticized in 2011 for its use of Hitler in its title is now airing in the Arab world on Zee Alwan, a Dubai-based satellite television channel and one of the divisions of India’s mega-media giant Zee Entertainment Enterprises.

Promotional material on Facebook for Aukhti Hitler

Promotional material on Facebook for Aukhti Hitler (“Sister Hitler)

The show Aukhti Hitler (Arabic for “Sister Hitler”), which originally aired with the title “Hitler Didi” in Hindi, has been dubbed into Arabic. It started airing in the Arab world on December 17.

The show title refers to the lead character, a young woman known as a strict disciplinarian who takes a no-nonsense attitude with family members. The show’s plot attempts toexplain the harsh attitude of the main character as a coping mechanism “to face life’s challenges.”

The woman referred to as Hitler is also portrayed as a hardworking person with leadership skills who will not compromise. In the first episode, other characters describe the way she speaks as “Hitler’s laws.”

The show aired originally in 2011 on Zee TV in India. In response to its offensive title, ADL issued a letter at that time asking the network to change the name of the show. The network responded with a letter apologizing for the title and saying that the network was “in the process of renaming the program.”

Currently, Zee Alwan airs the show five times a week to a large Arab audience, and the network is using the same offensive language and imagery to promote the show via its Arabic social media platforms. For example, Zee Alwan TV launched an Arabic Facebook page for the show that includes images of  Hitler’s moustache; the TV network also started an Arabic Twitter hashtag #أختي_هتلر, which translates into “Sister Hitler.”

Zee Alwan is Zee network’s second largest Arabic channel catering to the Middle East. The free-to-air channel features popular Indian programs and other TV shows dubbed in Arabic.

The show plays on a myth in some parts of the Arab world that Hitler was a kindhearted person inside who was forced to be “strict” in the face of challenges.

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December 2, 2014

Marginal Anti-Israel Group Alters Holocaust Photo to Condemn Israel

A Facebook group called “I Acknowledge Apartheid Exists,” with over 91,000 fans, recently posted a photoshopped picture of Holocaust survivors holding signs that read “Stop the Holocaust in Gaza,” “Gaza, the world’s biggest concentration camp,” “Stop U.S. aid to Israel,” and “Break the silence on Gaza!!” Below the picture was text that stated, “Whatever happened to ‘Never again?’” [sic].i-acknowledge-apartheid-exists

The “I Acknowledge Apartheid Exists” group was founded on March 30, 2013 and its administrators frequently post images that delegitimize Israel and describe it as a “terrorist nation.” Recent posts include an image that described the State of Israel as “Nazi Israel” and another that stated “End genocide in Gaza.” Other posts ended with hashtags such as “#StopTheNazis” and “#StopIsrael.”

The group’s Communications Director, Derek Hummel, told TheRealNews.com in an April 2013 interview that the page was briefly shut down by Facebook because of complaints that were submitted by users who were offended by content that the group was posting. He added that Facebook reversed the decision shortly thereafter and that a fan of the page had written to tell them that, “an army of Jews were out to disband our Facebook page.” Hummel claimed, “the very next day, we were shut down.”

Over the years, Holocaust imagery has been used by many anti-Israel groups and individuals that look to make false comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany in an effort to cast Israel as a demonic state that is bent on exterminating the Palestinian people. Many examples of this appeared during Operation Protective Edge when participants at anti-Israel rallies and demonstrations held signs with slogans like “From Auschwitz to Palestine, My Ancestors are Crying…” and “Doesn’t the Holocaust teach us that it must never happen to anyone ever again?” In addition, participants at some of those rallies held signs showing the design of the Israeli flag with a swastika replacing the Star of David or the picture of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wearing a swastika armband.

houston-holocaust-museum

Comparing Israelis to Nazis during a protest in front of the Holocaust Museum in Houston, January 16, 2009. Source: Jewish Herald-Voice, Houston

Protesters at anti-Israel rallies that took place during Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012 also used similar rhetoric, calling for an end to “the Nazi occupation of Gaza,” describing Gaza as today’s “Warsaw Ghetto” and accusing Israel of committing a genocide and massacre of the Palestinian people. That sort of rhetoric was also used during rallies and demonstrations that followed Operation Cast Lead.

One of those examples took place in Houston where the Houston Coalition for Justice and Peace staged anti-Israel protests and demonstrations around the city. At one of those rallies, which took place outside of the Holocaust Museum in Houston, participants wore mock concentration camp prisoner uniforms and looked to charge Israel with the crime of “genocide” against the Palestinians.

Student groups have also used Holocaust imagery to condemn Israel and its supporters on many occasions. An example of this took place less than a month ago when the University of Central Florida’s Students for Justice in Palestine (UCF SJP) chapter posted a graphic on their Facebook page that showed a face with a swastika talking to what appears to be a face with an Israeli flag. The face with the swastika said, “You aren’t a real human race! DIE!” and below it was a similar picture that showed a face with an Israeli flag talking to a face with a Palestinian flag, stating, “You aren’t a real human race! DIE!” Above the image, UCF SJP wrote, “History, unfortunately, has repeated itself.”

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November 21, 2014

ISIS Supporters Exploit Mixlr To Broadcast Extremism

Terrorist sympathizers are exploiting the website and application Mixlr to broadcast and discuss their extremist views online. Their use of Mixlr parallels previous efforts by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its supporters to find and utilize new online platforms for spreading their propaganda.mixlr-isis

Mixlr is a platform that enables users to broadcast live audio “to the world” and to “chat, engage and interact with your listeners in real time.” Mixlr is available online and for smartphones. Users can also log in via Facebook and Twitter.

Supporters of the ISIS have created at least two pages on Mixlr for broadcasting and discussing pro-ISIS material.

The primary account is called Khilafah (Arabic for Caliphate). The station sometimes broadcasts multiple times per day and has a considerable following: The account began broadcasting on October 19, 2014, and had garnered 44,548 “total listens” as of November 20, 2014. Broadcasts cover a variety of ISIS related topics including news updates on ISIS and reports from ISIS supporters around the world.

The Khilafah account has 665 followers who regularly converse on the site during broadcasts. Although much of the chat is mundane (requests to fix the sound quality, for example), some comments demonstrate the users’ extremism. A conversation on November 21, for example, celebrated ISIS’s alleged takeover of the Iraqi city of Ramadi with one commenter writing, “They are driven to the death…we will feed the faith with the blood of their veins.”

This account also has Pro membership status on Mixlr, which enables it to broadcast for an unlimited number of hours per week. This is a paid membership.

The secondary pro-ISIS page, AL7AQ, has only 134 followers, and is likely designed to replace the Khilafah page if it is shut down. That said, there has been some conversation on the AL7AQ page as well.

The pages have an associated Twitter feed that announces upcoming broadcasts and archives previous ones and promotes videos on YouTube that explain how to access the broadcast content. As of November 20, 2014, the Twitter feed had 2,393 followers, most of whom are apparently ISIS supporters based on their comments and account pictures.

The same broadcasts are also available on Paltalk, a program that enables video, voice, and group chats. Paltalk has been exploited by extremists in other instances as well. The Authentic Tauheed Paltalk channel, for example, broadcasts extremist and pro-ISIS messages by radical cleric Abdullah al-Faisal.

In the past, ISIS and its supporters have attempted to use alternative social media sites including Friendica, Diaspora and Quitter in order to keep their information online as their accounts were shut down by Facebook and Twitter. Friendica, Diaspora and Quitter have removed all pro-ISIS pages from their sites, and Twitter and Facebook regularly delete accounts that promote ISIS messages.

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