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March 4, 2014 0

Abuse Of Yik Yak App Underscores Need For Personal Accountability

Update: March 10, 2014 – Threats found on Yik Yak resulted in back-to-back evac­u­a­tions of a high school in Mar­ble­head, Mass­a­chu­setts, as well as the lock­down of a Decatur, Alabama, Mid­dle School and a San Clemente, Cal­i­for­nia High School, accord­ing to the Los Ange­les Times. Some of the schools that have been sub­ject to threats on Yik Yak have report­edly blocked stu­dents from access­ing the app directly through cam­pus Inter­net net­works. At least four Chicago-area high schools warned par­ents about Yik Yak in the past two weeks, accord­ing to the Chicago Tri­bune, and prin­ci­pals have asked par­ents to delete the app from their children’s devices.

The abuse of a con­tro­ver­sial new app that enables users to com­mu­ni­cate with com­plete anonymity high­lights the need for some user iden­ti­fi­ca­tion func­tions and per­sonal accountability.yikyak

The app, Yik Yak, which pro­motes itself as being a place “to post anony­mously or under an alias — you can become the talk of the town and never get dis­cov­ered,”  has been report­edly abused by stu­dents in Roswell, Geor­gia; North Kansas City, Mis­souri; and Mobile, Alabama.

In Roswell, a let­ter was sent to par­ents of High School stu­dents say­ing that “this app is allow­ing stu­dents to ver­bally abuse each other, teach­ers and staff…”

In North Kansas City, one par­ent found a hate­ful post about her daugh­ter as well as teach­ers and administrators.

And in Mobile, two stu­dents under the age of 16 were report­edly arrested for using the app to make ter­ror­is­tic threats. Appar­ently act­ing sep­a­rately, each allegedly used Yik Yak to threat­ened shoot­ings at local high schools. They were arrested on felony charges.

These inci­dents empha­size the con­se­quences of a lack of any reg­is­tra­tion require­ments, includ­ing age ver­i­fi­ca­tion, or a cur­sory online identification.

In his lat­est book Viral Hate, ADL National Direc­tor Abra­ham H. Fox­man speaks to this issue, not­ing that “embold­ened by anonymity,” indi­vid­u­als are “freely spew­ing hate­ful vit­riol on the Inter­net with­out wor­ry­ing about reper­cus­sions. Lies, bul­ly­ing, con­spir­acy the­o­ries, big­oted and racist rants, and calls for vio­lence tar­get­ing the most vul­ner­a­ble cir­cu­late openly on the web.”

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June 19, 2013 2

Anti-Israel Groups Organize Youth Summer Camps

As sum­mer nears for mil­lions of stu­dents across the coun­try, anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tions are recruit­ing them to spend some of their free time being indoc­tri­nated in anti-Israel advo­cacy and a one-sided nar­ra­tive of Pales­tin­ian his­tory and culture.boycott_divestment_sanctions

The Amer­i­can Friends Ser­vice Com­mit­tee, a Quaker orga­ni­za­tion that has long engaged in efforts to dele­git­imize Israel, has teamed up with the noto­ri­ously anti-Israel group Jew­ish Voice for Peace to hold a four-day-long “Sum­mer BDS Insti­tute” in late July for college-age stu­dents who are already involved in pro-BDS (Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions) cam­paign­ing on their col­lege cam­puses or are inter­ested in launch­ing a BDS cam­paign on cam­pus next year.

Pro­po­nents of BDS, an almost decade-old move­ment, seek to demo­nize Israel, dele­git­imize Israeli pol­icy and, in its most extreme forms, pro­mote the destruc­tion of the Jew­ish char­ac­ter of Israel in an effort to turn pub­lic opin­ion against the Jew­ish state.

The pro­gram will train stu­dents about orga­niz­ing and imple­ment­ing a cam­paign, deal­ing with media requests, “direct action” plan­ning and more. The pro­gram, which will take place in New York, is cyn­i­cally being pro­moted as “fun in a sum­mer camp-like envi­ron­ment!” on AFSC’s web­site. It is the lat­est effort by off-campus anti-Israel groups to pro­vide stu­dents with the tools to bet­ter orga­nize and ini­ti­ate pro­grams attack­ing Israel on campus.

JVP is one of the lead­ing pro-BDS orga­ni­za­tions in the United States and is the pri­mary group behind, thus far unsuc­cess­ful, efforts to pres­sure TIAA-CREF, a major finan­cial insti­tu­tion, to dis­in­vest from multi­na­tional com­pa­nies that work with Israel. AFSC has also, to a lesser extent, played a part in pro­mot­ing BDS in the U.S. and spon­sors dozens of anti-Israel events and pro­grams across the country.

In Sep­tem­ber 2008, AFSC mem­bers met with Iran­ian pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad when he was vis­it­ing New York for the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly. AFSC was one of five reli­gious groups to spon­sor a din­ner and con­ver­sa­tion – billed as an “inter­na­tional dia­logue between reli­gious lead­ers and polit­i­cal fig­ures” – with the Iran­ian leader, one of the world’s most promi­nent anti-Semites. ADL force­fully con­demned the meet­ing as a “per­ver­sion of the search for peace.”

Sep­a­rately, Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine, the lead­ing orga­ni­za­tion pro­vid­ing anti-Zionist train­ing and edu­ca­tion to stu­dents and Mus­lim com­mu­nity orga­ni­za­tions in the coun­try, plans to hold a sum­mer camp for youth aged 8–12 in Chicago on Sat­ur­days through­out the summer.

AMP, which had pre­vi­ously been in the busi­ness of train­ing high school and col­lege stu­dents and adults to engage in anti-Israel cam­paigns, has a highly polit­i­cal agenda and reg­u­larly demo­nizes Israel. At times, the group has also pro­vided a plat­form for anti-Semitism under the guise of edu­cat­ing Amer­i­cans about “the just cause of Pales­tine and the rights of self-determination.”

A descrip­tion for the camp notes that the chil­dren will be taught about “Pales­tine and its his­tory,” which will likely be a much dis­torted ver­sion of the his­tory of the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict. The descrip­tion also notes that the chil­dren will learn about Pales­tin­ian arts, cul­ture and his­tory and “par­tic­i­pate in fun activ­i­ties.”

ADL described the sum­mer camp pro­grams as venues to “indoc­tri­nate the next gen­er­a­tion of activists with biased mes­sages intended to sin­gle out Israel” and crit­i­cized AMP’s “cyn­i­cal cal­cu­la­tion that there is no such thing as being too young to start learn­ing how to hate Israel.”

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June 7, 2012 2

Anti-Israel Group Increases Outreach to High School Students

Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine (AMP), a Chicago-based anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tion, is plan­ning to host a joint con­fer­ence on “Pales­tine activism” with the High School Mus­lim Stu­dent Asso­ci­a­tion of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia (HSMSA), an inter-high school net­work of Mus­lim stu­dent organizations.

The con­fer­ence is sched­uled to take place on June 24 at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Irvine, a cen­ter for vir­u­lently anti-Israel cam­pus activ­ity in recent years. It is part of AMP’s 7th annual cam­paign to com­mem­o­rate the “Nakba,” an Ara­bic term that means “cat­a­stro­phe” and is used by Pales­tini­ans and their sup­port­ers to describe Israel’s Dec­la­ra­tion of Independence.

AMP orga­niz­ers say the con­fer­ence is designed to help “train high school, col­lege, and non-student activists on issues per­ti­nent to Pales­tine activism.” The list of speak­ers invited to “edu­cate” stu­dents on the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict include sev­eral anti-Israel activists known for their use of rhetoric to dele­git­imize Israel.

Speak­ers include Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the anti-Israel Elec­tronic Intifada blog; Taher Herza­l­lah, AMP’s National Cam­pus Coor­di­na­tor and one of the 11 stu­dents arrested for shout­ing down Israeli Ambas­sador Michael Oren dur­ing a 2010 speech at UC Irvine; and Osama Abu Irshaid, an AMP board mem­ber who has pre­vi­ously expressed sup­port for Hezbol­lah and con­spir­a­to­ri­ally alleged that the U.S. gov­ern­ment makes deci­sions based on the “influ­en­tial Jew­ish community.”

AMP tar­geted high school stu­dents ear­lier this year when it held its first high school train­ing ses­sion in Villa Park, Illi­nois. The work­shop was sim­i­larly orga­nized to the upcom­ing con­fer­ence at UC Irvine and included work­shops on sub­jects such as the Islamic sig­nif­i­cance of Pales­tine, activism, and how to uti­lize the media.

This year’s AMP Nakba cam­paign con­sists pri­mar­ily of edu­ca­tional and train­ing ses­sions designed to “raise aware­ness about the occu­pa­tion” and to “help bring jus­tice and lib­erty to the Holy Land.” These events will be held through­out the month of June across the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia region, which include the cities of Hawthorne, Corona-Narco, Ana­heim, Temec­ula, and Lomita.

AMP has increas­ingly made an effort to engage in facil­i­tat­ing stu­dent activism on col­lege cam­puses and high schools nation­wide. The impor­tance of encour­ag­ing AMP’s pres­ence among stu­dents was the cen­tral theme of the organization’s 2011 national con­fer­ence, where a num­ber of ses­sions were ded­i­cated to how stu­dents can dis­cuss the issue of Pales­tine in schools and on cam­puses. AMP’s con­certed effort to engage with stu­dents has led to increased col­lab­o­ra­tion with on cam­pus anti-Israel groups, such as Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP).

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