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March 18, 2015 2

NJ Man Arrested For Trying to Join ISIS Espoused Anti-Semitism Online

Tairod Pugh

Tairod Pugh

A New Jer­sey man, indicted yes­ter­day for attempt­ing to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), marks the 12th U.S. res­i­dent charged with sup­port­ing or join­ing Islamic extrem­ism this year and demon­strates the pres­ence of anti-Semitism and role of online pro­pa­ganda in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion process.

Tairod Nathan Web­ster Pugh is a U.S. cit­i­zen and for­mer air force mechanic from Nep­tune, NJ. He allegedly attempted to travel to join ISIS in Jan­u­ary but was detained and sent back to the U.S. by Egypt­ian offi­cials. Pugh was arrested on Jan­u­ary 16, 2015, upon his return to the U.S., but the charges were made pub­lic fol­low­ing yesterday’s indictment.

Pugh’s Face­book pro­file included mul­ti­ple anti-Semitic and anti-Israel posts as well as posts sup­port­ing Hamas.

In July 2014, Pugh wrote a post that stated, in part, “All the evil done by the Jews came from within them­selves. On the day of Judg­ment full respon­si­bil­ity of the starv­ing, tor­ture, jail­ing and killing of inno­cent Mus­lims will rest upon there (sic) shoul­ders. Allah must really hate them to give the rope to hang them­selves,” and posted an image with text stat­ing, “Most Jews do not like to admit it, but our G-d is Lucifer.” In August 2014, he shared an image that ref­er­enced blood libel accu­sa­tions, depict­ing Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu slit­ting the throats of sleep­ing children.

Pugh also posted sev­eral car­toons equat­ing Jews, Israel or Zion­ists to Nazis, as well as mul­ti­ple images claim­ing to depict Israeli war crimes.

An anti-Semitic post on Tairod Pugh's Facebook page.

An anti-Semitic post on Tairod Pugh’s Face­book page.

Although Pugh did not pub­licly post his sup­port for ISIS, he did share a quote by ter­ror pro­pa­gan­dist Anwar al-Awlaki in August 2014. Awlaki is fre­quently cited as an inspi­ra­tion for extrem­ism by Amer­i­cans who have been linked to terrorism.

Pugh allegedly also used his com­puter to research join­ing ISIS and watch ISIS pro­pa­ganda videos. An inves­ti­ga­tion report­edly found that he had used the inter­net to search for the terms, “bor­ders con­trolled by Islamic state,” “who con­trols kobani (a city that has been con­tested by ISIS),” “kobani bor­der cross­ing,” and “jarablus bor­der cross­ing,” and the feature-film length ter­ror pro­pa­ganda video “Flames of War,” which depicts and apoc­a­lyp­tic strug­gle between ISIS and the West. He had also allegedly viewed a chart of cross­ing points between Turkey and Syria and had down­loaded at least one ISIS exe­cu­tion video, along with other ISIS videos.

Addi­tional Face­book posts by Pugh demon­strated anti-U.S. sen­ti­ment. One post from August 2014, taken from Iran­ian con­trolled media out­let Press TV, depicted pro­test­ers burn­ing an effigy of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. A post ear­lier that month included an arti­cle that Pugh wrote describ­ing “the rape of a Mus­lim woman by the Amer­i­can forces.” Accord­ing to media reports, some Face­book posts not pub­licly avail­able also expressed Pugh’s desire to never return to the U.S.

Pugh also shared images prais­ing the ter­ror group Hamas. In August 2014, he shared an appar­ent image of Hamas mil­i­tants “returned safely after 21 days of siege.” In July 2014, he shared a photo of Hamas mil­i­tants with the cap­tion, “Thank you! You make us proud …”

The 12 U.S. res­i­dents charged with Islamic extrem­ism related ter­ror offenses this year have been arrested in 7 dif­fer­ent states includ­ing New Jer­sey, New York, Illi­nois, Ohio, Vir­ginia, Indi­ana and Mis­souri. Pugh is also the 31st Amer­i­can res­i­dent pub­licly linked to ISIS since 2014.

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January 26, 2015 0

What We Learned From Auschwitz

By Abra­ham H. Fox­man
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Huff­in­g­ton Post Blog

The 70th anniver­sary of the lib­er­a­tion of Auschwitz, which will be marked Jan­u­ary 27 on Inter­na­tional Holo­caust Remem­brance Day, comes at a time when some are ask­ing: is it hap­pen­ing all over again in Europe?

We know the ratio­nal answer to that ques­tion. As bad as the resur­gence of anti-Semitism in Europe is, there is no com­par­i­son to Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.  Then, a party com­mit­ted to the destruc­tion of the Jew­ish peo­ple gained total power in Ger­many and even­tu­ally con­trolled most of Europe, enabling the sys­tem­atic mur­der of six mil­lion Jews and mil­lions of oth­ers in the Holocaust.

Today, gov­ern­ments in Europe are not espous­ing anti-Semitism; they are coun­ter­ing it, even if not strongly enough.

If it isn’t the Holo­caust – and, if it isn’t help­ful to under­stand today’s immense chal­lenges by com­par­ing it to the Holo­caust — does Auschwitz present any lessons at all for today?

I would say there are several.

First is the role of hate­ful ide­olo­gies in pro­duc­ing vio­lent, anti-Semitic behav­ior. While today’s anti-Semites in Europe do not con­trol gov­ern­ments, they are able to mobi­lize indi­vid­u­als com­mit­ted to vio­lence on the basis of fan­tas­ti­cal notions about the unique evil of Jews.

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s min­is­ter of pro­pa­ganda, con­vinced Ger­mans not merely to dis­like Jews but to believe that they had to pro­tect them­selves from the evil, all-powerful Jew who was poi­son­ing the Ger­man body politic. So too today, the Islamic extrem­ists, whether it’s Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, or Hezbol­lah, see the Jew as the source of evil in the world.

The Hamas char­ter not only repeat­edly calls for the destruc­tion of Israel. It claims that Jews are respon­si­ble for all the ills of the mod­ern world going back to the French Revolution.

When Al-Qaeda decided to attack the World Trade Cen­ter on Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, it was only after they con­sid­ered hit­ting Jew­ish tar­gets in New York. Even the World Trade Cen­ter was seen as partly a “Jew­ish” tar­get since it was deemed that Jews con­trol world com­merce, per the “Pro­to­cols of the Learned Elders of Zion.”

Once it is decided that Jews are the source of evil, then it is almost a respon­si­bil­ity to act against them. And so attacks on Jew­ish civil­ians, who rep­re­sent evil in ordi­nary form, become permissible.

We must fight this ide­ol­ogy of hatred. We must not equiv­o­cate in call­ing it what it is and in ral­ly­ing peo­ple of all faiths against it.

A sec­ond les­son is that shame about what anti-Semitism could lead to, which man­i­fested itself with the appear­ance of the first pic­tures of Auschwitz after the lib­er­a­tion, is an impor­tant inhibitor of anti-Semitism.

It does not cure the world of the dis­ease of anti-Semitism, which is so deeply embed­ded and serves so many pur­poses, but it does affect the level and inten­sity of anti-Semitic behavior.

For decades, anti-Semitism did not explode as a phe­nom­e­non, partly because of this shame. As time passes, and the imme­di­acy of the Holo­caust recedes, it makes more impor­tant than ever the need to develop new and cre­ative ways to reach younger peo­ple about its horrors.

I remem­ber hear­ing some years ago from Rita Suss­muth of the Ger­man Bun­destag, who talked of the need for new and emo­tional meth­ods in reach­ing each gen­er­a­tion of young peo­ple who are fur­ther and fur­ther removed from the events in World War II. We must never give up the strug­gle to explain what anti-Semitism can lead to.

A third les­son for me is the inti­mate con­nec­tion between anti-Semitism and the health of a demo­c­ra­tic soci­ety. Whether it is the expres­sion that Jews are the canary in the coal mine or Pas­tor Mar­tin Niemoller’s famous lines about the con­se­quences of not stand­ing up in the face of evil, Auschwitz is not only about the evils of anti-Semitism, but also how its going unchecked invari­ably endan­gers all of society.

The fight against anti-Semitism should never be seen as sim­ply a moral strug­gle. It is a prac­ti­cal one, as spo­ken so elo­quently by Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls to the French par­lia­ment after the ter­ror­ist attacks on Char­lie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket.

How, he asked, could French soci­ety not speak up and be out­raged when Jews were insulted, when van­dals vio­lated Jew­ish insti­tu­tions, when pro­tes­tors sought to invade a syn­a­gogue?  His mes­sage was clear: All of France needs to stand up early and loud when Jews are under attack. Not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is vital for the well-being of French society.

The mur­der­ous attack on Char­lie Hebdo inevitably fol­lows the mur­der of three Jew­ish chil­dren in Toulouse. The tar­get­ing of Jews in Nazi Ger­many invari­ably led to the efforts by Hitler to dom­i­nate and enslave the world.

So as we observe the 70th year of the lib­er­a­tion of Auschwitz and Inter­na­tional Holo­caust Remem­brance Day on Tues­day, the impor­tance of know­ing what hap­pened there and of trans­mit­ting it to the next gen­er­a­tion is more urgent than ever.
Threats to Jews today are greater than they have been since those darker days.  And those threats, as taught by the lessons of Auschwitz, threaten all of us.

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November 19, 2014 12

Axe Imagery Proliferates Following Synagogue Attack In Jerusalem

Within min­utes of yesterday’s bru­tal ter­ror attack that killed five peo­ple in a Jerusalem syn­a­gogue, images and car­toons glo­ri­fy­ing the attack began cir­cu­lat­ing online.jerusalem-synagogue-axe-hatchet-al-aqsa

The speed with which images glo­ri­fy­ing the killing of Jews with axes and hatch­ets – which the two ter­ror­ists used in their attack – were released demon­strates the ease in which sup­port­ers of such bru­tal attacks can express their sup­port online.

Just last week, a sim­i­lar social media cam­paign glo­ri­fy­ing ter­ror attacks by run­ning over Israelis with cars was launched.

The Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades, the armed wing of the Pop­u­lar Front for the Lib­er­a­tion of Pales­tine, claimed respon­si­bil­ity for the ter­ror­ist attack in Jerusalem and cel­e­brated the oper­a­tion by pro­mot­ing the axe as a sym­bol for “Resis­tance” via its var­i­ous social media plat­forms. (Israeli law enforce­ment say they are inves­ti­gat­ing the claim but pre­lim­i­nary evi­dence indi­cates that the per­pe­tra­tors were act­ing alone.)  

The group’s Face­book page fea­tured an image of the two ter­ror­ists who com­mit­ted the attack, Ghas­san and Uday Abu Jamal, with an axe and a mes­sage read­ing, “Oh Zion­ists, in all the places and by all means, we will har­vest your souls.” Another image posted on the group’s Face­book page shows a masked man car­ry­ing an axe and dis­trib­ut­ing can­dies to cel­e­brate the operation.jerusalem-synagogue-axe-hatchet-ghassan-abu-jamal

The group also posted a state­ment on the Face­book page soon after the oper­a­tion, greet­ing the “Heroic oper­a­tion exe­cuted by the two mar­tyrs Ghas­san and Uday Abu Jamal,” and call­ing to “esca­late con­fronta­tions against the occu­piers and the settlers.”

On the group’s Twit­ter page, a post describes the use of axes in the oper­a­tion as “cre­ativ­ity in the forms of resistance.”

Other groups have cir­cu­lated images and car­toons cel­e­brat­ing the use of an axe to attack Jews, includ­ing Ajnad News, a West Bank based news orga­ni­za­tion. A car­toon depict­ing a man with a knife and hatchet in a syn­a­gogue as Jews around him lie in pools of blood or flee out the door, was posted at to Ajnad’s Twit­ter account at 7:19am (Jerusalem time) – only min­utes after the attack­ers had entered the syn­a­gogue at about 7:00am.jerusalem-synagogue-axe-hatchet-ajnad

Another car­toon shows an image of a hatchet on a car wind­shield as the car dri­ves towards Jerusalem. And a graphic presents pic­tures of Ortho­dox Jews next to image of a mov­ing car wheel, an axe and a gun, and advises read­ers to learn about news from the Ajnad sub­scriber ser­vice on their phones.

Other images cir­cu­lat­ing on social media include an image of a fright­ened Ortho­dox Jew with a Star of David on his hat sur­rounded by knives, axes, cars and guns.

The Ara­bic lan­guage jerusalem-synagogue-axe-hatchet-qassam-brigadesTwit­ter account for the Qas­sam Brigades, Hamas’s mil­i­tary wing, posted images of the after­math of the account and pic­tures of the vic­tims and of the per­pe­tra­tors, as well as a graphic depict­ing a bloody cleaver and an Israeli emer­gency med­ical respon­der in front of a fiery back­ground. All of the images on the Hamas Twit­ter feed have been posted mul­ti­ple times in other loca­tions as well.

Sup­port­ers of other ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Jab­hat al Nusra, the Al Qaeda affil­i­ate in Syria, have posted images sup­port­ing the attack as well. The major­ity of these are not car­toons but rather images of the after­math of the attack – per­haps a reflec­tion of the graphic con­tent reg­u­larly shared by those ter­ror­ist groups.

Other images:








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