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November 4, 2015 0

Terrorist Videos Threatening Israel And US Continue Unabated

The new Al Qaeda message threatening Israel with Ayman al-Zawahiri

Image from the new Al Qaeda message

As vio­lence has con­tin­ued in Israel, pro­pa­ganda released by for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions threat­en­ing and incit­ing vio­lence against Jews and Israelis has con­tin­ued unabated. A new video released this week by Al Qaeda fea­tur­ing audio by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the group’s leader, praises ter­ror­ism in Israel and also calls for attacks against the U.S.

The video began by focus­ing on Israel, with Zawahiri say­ing, “I ask Allah to bless…those who pro­ceeded for­ward to stab the Jews.” He quickly piv­oted to call­ing for attacks on the U.S. how­ever, stat­ing that in order to “lib­er­ate al-Quds (Jerusalem) and al-Aqsa mosque,” it is nec­es­sary to “strik[e] the West and specif­i­cally Amer­ica in its own home.” Zawahiri then praised spe­cific ter­ror­ists and attacks, includ­ing the 9/11 attacks, Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, and the Tsar­naev broth­ers who com­mit­ted the Boston Marathon bombing.

Al Qaeda pro­pa­ganda has attempted to har­ness pop­u­lar anger about events in Israel in order to call for attacks against the U.S. in the past. Last year, the group released a mag­a­zine titled “Resur­gence,” which had a cover story about Pales­tini­ans but focused pri­mar­ily on harm­ing Amer­i­can inter­ests.  Al Qaeda affil­i­ate Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP) issued a mag­a­zine called “Pales­tine: Betrayal of the Guilty Con­science” that called for attacks on the U.S. and pro­vided instruc­tions for the con­struc­tion of pres­sure cooker bombs and car bombs.

ADL’s recent report, “Anti-Semitism: A Pil­lar of Islamic Extrem­ist Ide­ol­ogy” con­tains mul­ti­ple addi­tional exam­ples of ter­ror­ist exploita­tion of sen­ti­ments about Israel and of anti-Semitism for the pur­pose of gain­ing sup­port­ers and ral­ly­ing recruits.

The new Al Qaeda video also calls for unity between ter­ror­ist organizations.

Screenshot of the Hebrew speaker from the newest ISIS video threatening Israel

Screen­shot from the newest ISIS video threat­en­ing Israel

Like Al Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) also released a new video threat­en­ing Israel this week. The video is the sec­ond ISIS video to include a Hebrew speaker, although ISIS has trans­lated offi­cial pro­pa­ganda mate­ri­als into Hebrew in the past.

Address­ing “all the Jews, grand­sons of apes and pigs,” the Hebrew speaker threat­ens that, “we are com­ing for you from all over the world to kill you.” In a ref­er­ence to a hadith in which trees and stones tell Mus­lims where Jews are hid­ing so the Jews can be killed he goes on to state that there will be, “a big war, the war of the stones and of the trees, and this is near, it is not far.”

ISIS has released at least 17 videos threat­en­ing Jews and Israel since the mid­dle of Octo­ber, as well as mul­ti­ple other pro­pa­ganda mate­ri­als includ­ing audio mes­sages and graphics.

In addi­tion, Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions, indi­vid­u­als cel­e­brat­ing and pro­mot­ing ter­ror­ism, and even main­stream Arabic-language news out­lets have also added to the online invec­tive encour­ag­ing ongo­ing violence.

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November 3, 2015 1

“Telegram” is Latest Platform for Terror Propaganda

ISIS propaganda on the Telegram app

ISIS pro­pa­ganda on the Telegram app

Update — 11/19/2015: Telegram updated its terms of ser­vice to include a means for remov­ing ille­gal pub­lic con­tent on Novem­ber 18, 2015 and has since removed mul­ti­ple ISIS chan­nels from its platform.

As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other ter­ror groups con­tinue to seek out new plat­forms to broad­cast their pro­pa­ganda and con­nect with sup­port­ers, they have migrated to using Telegram, a chat and group appli­ca­tion avail­able for smart­phones and desk­top, as their pri­mary medium for offi­cial propaganda.

Ter­ror sup­port­ers con­tinue to share and dis­sem­i­nate pro­pa­ganda on Twit­ter, Face­book and other tra­di­tional social media plat­forms. How­ever, the terms of ser­vice on those plat­forms reject users who actively encour­age vio­lent extrem­ism and the plat­forms have been very active in remov­ing con­tent and users flagged for vio­la­tions of those terms of ser­vice. Offi­cial ter­ror­ist accounts have there­fore found them fully inhos­pitable, and even the accounts of ter­ror­ist sup­port­ers are reg­u­larly removed.

Accord­ing to Telegram’s terms of ser­vice, how­ever, “All Telegram chats and group chats are pri­vate ter­ri­tory of their respec­tive par­tic­i­pants and we do not process any requests related to them.” As such, the plat­form does not have effec­tive poli­cies pro­hibit­ing extrem­ist speech.  That envi­ron­ment has enabled offi­cial ter­ror­ist chan­nels to use Telegram as the first point of dis­sem­i­na­tion for offi­cial ISIS pro­pa­ganda and for Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), an Al Qaeda affil­i­ated media organization.

Users can join groups on Telegram that func­tion sim­i­larly to Twit­ter feeds, releas­ing a steady stream of con­tent orig­i­nated by the group’s owner. Among the groups cur­rently oper­at­ing on Telegram are more than 13 offi­cial ISIS accounts in mul­ti­ple lan­guages includ­ing Ara­bic, Eng­lish, French and Ger­man, an offi­cial English-language account for the GIMF, and sev­eral unof­fi­cial pro-ISIS pro­pa­ganda groups.

The English-language accounts cre­ated on Telegram include Khi­lafah News, a pro-ISIS account that boasts 2023 mem­bers; Nashir Eng­lish, an offi­cial ISIS account, with 1352 mem­bers; and an offi­cial GIMF account with 1129 members.

Among the mate­ri­als that have been released on Telegram are the sec­ond issue of a new English-language Al Qaeda mag­a­zine, Al Risalah, which calls on West­ern­ers to join and fight on behalf of Al Qaeda.

The ISIS English-language Telegram account Nashir Eng­lish also directs read­ers to find and down­load pro­pa­ganda on a site on Word­Press. Like Telegram, WordPress’s terms of ser­vice do not explic­itly pro­hibit extrem­ist pro­pa­ganda, and so ISIS and other ter­ror­ist  groups can exploit the web­site with­out fear of being taken down. The new Word­Press site linked from the Telegram account fea­tures all of ISIS’s most recent pro­pa­ganda releases as well as ‘major releases,’ ‘Top 10 Videos,’ and past issues of ISIS’s English-language mag­a­zine, Dabiq. The Eng­lish site also links to equiv­a­lent Word­Press sites in Ger­man, Bosn­ian and Ara­bic. Addi­tional links from the Eng­lish site to equiv­a­lent sites in other lan­guages on Blogspot, which is hosted by Google, were removed after ADL noti­fied Google of their presence.

The Word­Press site empha­sizes ISIS’s ongo­ing pres­ence on Twit­ter and lists Twit­ter hash­tags that cor­re­spond with offi­cial ISIS pro­pa­ganda material.

In addi­tion to main­tain­ing groups on Telegram, ter­ror orga­ni­za­tions are also able to engage in chats with sup­port­ers and poten­tial recruits. The encour­age­ment of active par­tic­i­pa­tion by sup­port­ers engages the sup­port­ers in dia­logue with hard­ened extrem­ists, fur­ther­ing the sup­port­ers’ rad­i­cal­iza­tion processes.

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October 20, 2015 1

ISIS Promotes Murdering Jews in New Online Campaign

A banner promoting the ISIS video "Return the Terror to the Jews"

A ban­ner pro­mot­ing the ISIS video “Return the Ter­ror to the Jews”

Offi­cial media out­lets for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have released offi­cial pro­pa­ganda videos and state­ments encour­ag­ing and incit­ing vio­lence against Jews in Israel.

The pro­pa­ganda is yet another addi­tion to the cacoph­ony of online calls for mur­der­ing Jews and Israelis, which have already been prop­a­gated by Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions, indi­vid­u­als cel­e­brat­ing and pro­mot­ing ter­ror­ism, and even main­stream Arabic-language news out­lets.

The ISIS pro­pa­ganda also serves to fur­ther demon­strate the per­va­sive­ness of anti-Semitism in ter­ror­ist ide­ol­ogy, and the way in which ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions exploit pop­u­lar anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sen­ti­ment to mobi­lize and recruit sup­port­ers. A recent ADL report, “Anti-Semitism: A Pil­lar of Islamic Extrem­ist Ide­ol­ogy,” high­lights this use of anti-Semitism with exam­ples from ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other ter­ror­ist organizations.

A screenshot from an ISIS video shows images of terror attacks in Israel

A screen­shot from an ISIS video shows images of ter­ror attacks in Israel

In its cur­rent cam­paign, ISIS has posted at least eight offi­cial pro­pa­ganda videos incit­ing vio­lence in Israel. The videos were posted on social media with an Arabic-language hash­tag that trans­lates as #BeheadThe­Jews; some were also posted under the English-language hash­tag #Slaughter_the_Jews. Trans­lated titles of the videos, which are instruc­tive of their con­tent, include: “Return the Ter­ror to the Jews,” “Slaugh­ter Them and Don’t Show Them Mercy,” “Ter­ror­ize the Jews, Oh Peo­ple of Beyt al Maqdis (Jerusalem),” “Mes­sage to our Peo­ple in Beyt Al Maqdis,” and “Mes­sage to the Mujahideen (fight­ers) in Beyt al Maqdis.”

Many of the videos fea­ture images of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who are eas­ily rec­og­niz­able as Jew­ish because of their cloth­ing, and of Israeli sol­diers, includ­ing mul­ti­ple images of Israeli sol­diers engaged in Jew­ish rit­ual activ­ity such as eat­ing matzah and pray­ing while wear­ing phy­lac­ter­ies. They also show images and footage of attacks against Jews and Israelis, includ­ing bus bomb­ings and recent stabbings.

One of the videos, pro­duced by the media divi­sion of ISIS’s Nin­veh Province, clearly defines attack­ing Jews all over the world as fun­da­men­tal to Islamic extrem­ist goals. “Remem­ber that our war with the Jews is doc­tri­nal,” the video’s nar­ra­tor states; “it is a war between faith and dis­be­lief. There­fore, you must keep going with your fight and use all the legit­i­mate means in fight­ing them, includ­ing stab­bing and run­ning them over. Do not for­get about the explo­sive devices…” In a ref­er­ence to a Qu’ranic verse in which the entire world assists Mus­lims in killing Jews, the video’s nar­ra­tor goes on to say that, “Allah per­mit­ting, the promised day is approach­ing from which the Jews will not escape.”

A sam­pling of addi­tional quotes that encour­age vio­lence against Jews includes:

A screenshot from an ISIS video shows Israeli soldiers eating matzah, overlaid with an image of flames.

A screen­shot from one of the ISIS videos

  • “Bring back the ter­ror to the Jews with bomb­ing, burn­ing and stabbing.”
  • “Oh, you Monothe­ists in Pales­tine, to become lone wolves killing the ene­mies of God is bet­ter for you than to be with groups or par­ties that claim to be work­ing for the reli­gion of God while they serve as a bar­rier between the Muja­hedeen and Jihad.”
  • “Oh you peo­ple of Jerusalem, ter­rify the Jews.”
  • “Increase your oper­a­tions against the Jews who fed the Mus­lims all types of mis­ery and suffering.”

Some of the videos also advo­cate anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries. “[Jews are] the mur­der­ers of the prophets and mes­sen­gers,” alleged one of the videos, which went on to accuse Jews of hav­ing “cor­rupted the faith of the Chris­tians” and “mis­led the Shi’a.”

Sev­eral of the videos bor­row footage from pre­vi­ous ISIS pro­pa­ganda pieces that threat­ened Israel. One of them, for exam­ple, fea­tures an image of a child exe­cut­ing a man that ISIS alleged was a Mossad spy. The orig­i­nal video show­ing that exe­cu­tion had gone on to sug­gest that the cur­rent chil­dren of ISIS fight­ers will go on to con­quer Israel in the future.

An image circulated online states that negotiations and elections will lead to destruction, calling instead for readers to "sacrifice our money and selves"

An image cir­cu­lated online states that nego­ti­a­tions and elec­tions will lead to destruc­tion, adding that what is needed is for read­ers to “sac­ri­fice our money and ourselves”

The ISIS pro­pa­ganda also fea­tures ban­ners and images released by Al Bat­tar Media, the same media com­pany that was active in releas­ing images call­ing for Israel’s destruc­tion last sum­mer; the cur­rent cam­paign has recy­cled some of the images from last sum­mer, such as one depict­ing ISIS fight­ers stand­ing in front of the Dome of the Rock, and has added new images as well.

In a notable shift from pre­vi­ous ISIS pro­pa­ganda on Israel, the cur­rent videos and posters are focused more on pro­mot­ing the vio­lence than on promis­ing a future ISIS vic­tory over Israel (although the lat­ter is depicted as well). This may be a result of the indi­vid­ual nature of the cur­rent vio­lence, which is not claimed by groups but, rather, is being under­taken by indi­vid­u­als inspired in part by the infor­ma­tion they find on social media. ISIS can there­fore seek to claim credit for inspir­ing future attacks and assert that it is active in the present con­flict sim­ply by encour­ag­ing addi­tional vio­lence online.

Sim­i­larly, the cur­rent cam­paign fea­tures a heavy focus on defend­ing the Al Aqsa mosque, with one video even show­ing footage of Israeli sol­diers and explo­sions in the mosque. This cor­re­lates with the excuse being used to jus­tify the cur­rent vio­lence, which stems from false alle­ga­tions of Israeli attempts to take over that mosque.

The videos and images were dis­trib­uted on Telegram, an app that ISIS now uses as a pri­mary pro­pa­ganda dis­tri­b­u­tion ser­vice, but they were also cir­cu­lated broadly on more main­stream social media sites due in part to the strong pres­ence of ISIS sup­port­ers on social media and the unfor­tu­nately wide­spread fol­low­ing of con­tent call­ing for the destruc­tion of Jews and Israel in the cur­rent cli­mate of vio­lence in Israel.

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