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October 9, 2015 0

Incitement To Violence Against Jews Spreads Online

An image posted on Twitter with the Arabic hashtag #TheKnivesIntifada

An image posted on Twitter

As vio­lence con­tin­ues in Israel, with a deadly shoot­ing and mul­ti­ple stab­bing and other attacks against Israelis this past week, indi­vid­u­als cel­e­brat­ing and pro­mot­ing ter­ror­ism have taken to social media to encour­age vio­lence against Jews and Israelis.

Vio­lent hash­tags includ­ing #staba­jew and the Arabic-language hash­tag #theknivesin­tifada are being used by a wide spec­trum of indi­vid­u­als who appear to sup­port the mur­ders of Israelis. The hash­tag #alqud­sun­der­at­tack is also being used in con­junc­tion with the vio­lence, par­tic­u­larly by Pales­tin­ian orga­ni­za­tions and their sup­port­ers seek­ing reli­gious jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for ter­ror­ist incitement.

Online videos pro­mot­ing the vio­lence have included a car­toon re-enactment of the killing of Eitam and Naama Henkin, a young cou­ple killed by Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ists last Thurs­day in front of their chil­dren while dri­ving in the West Bank. The video par­al­lels car­toon videos that grew pop­u­lar dur­ing car attacks against Israelis last fall.

A tweet by Hamas states, "We congratulate and support all forms of resistance using our people as a weapon under the complexities of the security situation.”

A tweet on the Hamas Twit­ter account reads, “We bless and sup­port all forms of resis­tance in which our peo­ple use what­ever weapons are avail­able under the com­pli­cated secu­rity situation.”

Pales­tin­ian groups includ­ing Hamas and Fatah have added to the cli­mate of online hate. Hamas’s social media pages and web­site have applauded the vio­lence; one Tweet from an offi­cial Hamas plat­form read, “We bless and sup­port all forms of resis­tance in which our peo­ple use what­ever weapons are avail­able under the com­pli­cated secu­rity sit­u­a­tion.” Another Hamas tweet said Israel had brought “lone wolf” attacks upon itself, bor­row­ing the phrase from ISIS and Al Qaeda, which have encour­aged inde­pen­dent, ‘lone wolf’ action in their pro­pa­ganda mate­ri­als. Other Hamas posts glo­ri­fied indi­vid­u­als asso­ci­ated with the mur­ders of Israelis.

Social media posts affil­i­ated with the Pales­tin­ian Fatah party have included images of iden­ti­fi­able Jew­ish car­i­ca­tures being stabbed with knives.

ISIS sup­port­ers online, known for their adept manip­u­la­tion of social media, are vocal on the issue as well. Mul­ti­ple ISIS sup­port­ers have posted online threats against Jews. One indi­vid­ual who is a promi­nent ISIS sup­porter on Twit­ter based on his per­sis­tent online pres­ence, strong fol­low­ing among other ISIS sup­port­ers, and reg­u­lar post­ing of pro-ISIS news and pro­pa­ganda posted a series of Tweets encour­ag­ing stab­bings of Jews, includ­ing, “Kill jews. Kill all of them,” “Stab a Jew

A prominent ISIS supporter on Twitter posted about killing Jews

An ISIS sup­porter on Twit­ter posted about killing Jews

today. Tomor­row. Every­day,” “Happy inter­na­tional stab a Jew day guys,” and “Stab jews and have a juice.” Another equally promi­nent indi­vid­ual posted a sim­i­lar series of Tweets that included, “Don (sic) stop oh mus­lims ‚They (sic) are the worst 123456789…… #STABa­jew,” and “One of the worst cre­ation, 123456789…… #STABaJEW.”

Other ISIS sup­port­ers have posted state­ments claim­ing that ISIS will soon con­quer Israel. Another promi­nent ISIS sup­porter on Twit­ter re-tweeted a news­pa­per head­line, “The Islamist extrem­ism plagu­ing the Mid­dle East has arrived” with the cap­tion, “We told you we were com­ing.” Another ISIS sup­porter posted a graphic depict­ing ISIS fight­ers in front of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem with the hash­tag #Qarib­an­qariba, which is asso­ci­ated with ISIS attacks. Posts threat­en­ing ISIS attacks against

A tweet by an ISIS supporter suggesting that the terror group will conquer Jerusalem

A tweet by an ISIS sup­porter threat­en­ing that the ter­ror group will con­quer Jerusalem

Israel were also com­mon dur­ing the vio­lence in Israel last fall, when they were dis­trib­uted by ISIS sup­port­ers as well as by offi­cial ISIS pro­pa­ganda outlets.

A third genre of posts by ISIS sup­port­ers attempts to widen the con­flict, mak­ing it clear that they believe it is not a local­ized issue but rather a global bat­tle between Mus­lims and Jews. This type of sen­ti­ment is com­mon in Islamic extrem­ist ide­ol­ogy, which often attempts to por­tray local issues as part of a larger con­flict between Islam and the West. One user, for exam­ple, wrote, “Do you want to lib­er­ate Qudus (Jerusalem)? You have to kill All Jews in the World.” Another wrote, “#Jews who kill #Mus­lim­s­They amuse them­selvesBy con­tin­u­ing to abuse­And accuse of killingAnd refuse to stop this#ISIS #Israel #poem,” and, most bla­tantly, yet another wrote, “So see it’s not Israeli on Pales­tin­ian thing. This is a yahoodi (Jew­ish) verses (sic) Mus­lim thing. Islam vs. Judaism.”

ISIS actively pro­moted the above sen­ti­ments as recently as last month, when ISIS pro­pa­ganda mag­a­zines in French and Eng­lish both fea­tured cover sto­ries about Jews. ISIS has pre­vi­ously released videos threat­en­ing to con­quer Israel as well as other pro­pa­ganda state­ments that threat­ened both Israel and Jews. Addi­tional exam­ples may be found in the ADL’s recent report, Anti-Semitism: A Pil­lar of Islamic Extrem­ist Ide­ol­ogy.

The online activ­ity is broadly rem­i­nis­cent of social media posts last Novem­ber, when calls for and glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of stab­bing attacks against Israelis pro­lif­er­ated on Face­book, Twit­ter and other sites after a ter­ror­ist stabbed wor­shipers in a Jerusalem synagogue.

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October 7, 2015 0

Alibaba Takes Stand Against Materials Promoting Hitler

AlibabaEar­lier this month, the Anti-Defamation League noti­fied Alibaba,the largest online sales ser­vice com­pany, about Hitler masks and other Hitler titled items avail­able through their service.

Sub­se­quently, Alibaba removed the prod­ucts and sus­pended the ven­dor in com­pli­ance with their pol­icy stip­u­lat­ing that “gen­er­ally pro­hibits mate­ri­als pro­mot­ing Nazism.”

They also indi­cated that they rely on the help of cus­tomers and groups like ADL to iden­tify list­ings that go against their poli­cies and, as a result, have included a new “Report Sus­pi­cious Activ­ity” link on every listing.

ADL appre­ci­ates Alibaba’s respon­sive­ness to this issue and has invited the com­pany join ADL’s Best Prac­tices and Cyber-Safety Action Guide initiatives.

Alibaba, based in China, has been in oper­a­tion since 1998 and is one of the largest online mar­ket­places with daily trans­ac­tions in excess of $30 million.

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August 12, 2015 0

From Charleston to Chattanooga: The Face of Terror in America

By Oren Segal and Mark Pit­cav­age
Direc­tors of the Anti-Defamation League’s Cen­ter on Extremism

Ter­ror­ism is some­times referred to as the “face­less enemy,” but it has hardly been face­less in the United States this sum­mer.  Too many peo­ple have emerged from the shad­ows to inflict death and suffering.

The parade of vio­lence has seemed unend­ing, from Elton Simp­son and Nadir Soofi, who attacked police offi­cers pro­vid­ing secu­rity for the so-called “Muham­mad Art Exhibit” in Texas in May, to John Houser, the Hitler-admiring man obsessed with the moral decay of Amer­ica who recently opened fire at a Louisiana movie the­ater show­ing the movie Train­wreck.

Of the var­i­ous killers and would-be killers this sum­mer, two stand out.  The first is Dylann Storm Roof, the white suprema­cist who allegedly con­fessed to the June mas­sacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Car­olina, that left nine African-Americans dead.dylann-storm-roof-gun-confederate-flag-600

The sec­ond is Muham­mad Youssef Abdu­lazeez, who in July engaged in a shoot­ing spree tar­get­ing a Chat­tanooga mil­i­tary recruit­ing cen­ter and a nearby naval reserve cen­ter.  Abdu­lazeez, who may have been inspired by rad­i­cal Mus­lim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, killed five people—all mil­i­tary personnel—before being killed by police.

In many ways, Roof and Abdu­lazeez per­son­ify America’s ter­ror­ist threat; they are the faces of the “face­less enemy.”  Most obvi­ously, each rep­re­sents a major source of ter­ror­ism.  Roof was a white suprema­cist who allegedly hoped to start a “race war” in which whites would pre­vail.  White suprema­cists have for decades been the most pro­lific source of domes­tic extremist-related lethal vio­lence.  Along with the other main seg­ment of the extreme right, anti-government mili­tia groups and sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, they are respon­si­ble for the great major­ity of extremist-related deaths in the U.S.

Abdu­lazeez, on whom there is less infor­ma­tion regard­ing moti­va­tion, may well have latched onto the ideas of al-Awlaki—including his encour­age­ment of attacks on mil­i­tary targets—as a way to atone for some of his per­sonal demons, includ­ing drugs and alco­hol.  Domes­tic Islamic extrem­ists have in recent years attempted or con­ducted a large num­ber of ter­ror­ist plots, con­spir­a­cies and acts, despite being fewer in num­ber than right-wing extremists.

Both men also chose tar­gets typ­i­cal of their move­ments.  For Abdu­lazeez, it was the mil­i­tary; here he fol­lowed in the foot­steps of Abdul­hakim Mujahid Muham­mad, who killed a sol­dier at a recruit­ing cen­ter in Lit­tle Rock, Arkansas, in 2009, and Nidal Malik Has­san, who killed 13 peo­ple at Fort Hood, Texas, that same year.  Other Islamic extrem­ists have also recently plot­ted attacks against mil­i­tary tar­gets in the U.S., though with­out success.mohammad-youssef-abdulazeez

Roof went on a shoot­ing ram­page against African-Americans.  Sprees of vio­lence against racial, eth­nic, or reli­gious minori­ties are a com­mon type of white suprema­cist ter­ror­ism.  In recent years, there have been a num­ber of such episodes, includ­ing Fra­zier Glenn Miller’s attacks on Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in Over­land Park, Kansas, in 2014; Wade Michael Page’s ram­page at a Sikh tem­ple in Oak Creek, Wis­con­sin, in 2012, and Keith Luke’s attacks on African immi­grants in Brock­ton, Mass­a­chu­setts, in 2009.

Both Roof and Abdu­lazeez used firearms for their attacks, which is also typ­i­cal of Amer­i­can ter­ror­ism.  Although the pub­lic usu­ally thinks of ter­ror­ism in terms of bombs, ter­ror­ists like Ted Kaczyn­ski and the Boston Marathon bombers are rare in Amer­ica.  The vast major­ity of extremist-related mur­ders involve guns—easy to acquire, sim­ple to use, and deadly.  This is why Charleston and Chat­tanooga num­ber among the 10 dead­liest extremist-related attacks of the past 50 years.  Indeed, with the excep­tion of the Okla­homa City bomb­ing, the “top 10” attacks all involved firearms.

Abdu­lazeez and Roof were both young men, dis­af­fected, fac­ing per­sonal stresses of dif­fer­ent kinds (Abdu­lazeez also suf­fered from men­tal ill­ness).  Although ter­ror­ism knows no age limits—Nidal Hasan was 39 at the time of his Fort Hood ram­page, while white suprema­cist James Von Brunn, who attacked the U.S. Holo­caust Memo­r­ial Museum in 2009, was in his late 80s—many of the attacks and plots in recent years by both Islamic and right-wing extrem­ists have been com­mit­ted by men in their mid-20s or younger.

Like Abdu­lazeez and Roof, a num­ber of these extrem­ists com­mit­ted their attacks as lone wolves, unat­tached to any par­tic­u­lar group.  Over­all, the num­ber of lethal lone wolf attacks in the past two decades has been fairly low, num­ber­ing only a few dozen, but in recent years, lone wolves seem to have been emerg­ing at a faster rate.  One rea­son may be the increas­ing role played by the Inter­net in facil­i­tat­ing self-radicalization.  It was through the Inter­net that Roof edu­cated him­self in white supremacy; it was via the Inter­net that Abdu­lazeez down­loaded record­ings of al-Awlaki.

Here one can see a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence between right-wing extrem­ists and domes­tic Islamic rad­i­cals.  While they can both eas­ily immerse them­selves in a sea of on-line pro­pa­ganda designed to instill and rein­force extreme views, right-wing extrem­ist Inter­net sources are pri­mar­ily based in the United States and, there­fore, must watch what they say.  White suprema­cists who openly use the Inter­net to encour­age vio­lence and ter­ror­ism open them­selves up to crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion and, if vio­lence occurs, pos­si­ble civil lia­bil­ity; as a result, their encour­age­ment of vio­lence is often more implicit than explicit.

Domes­tic Islamic extrem­ists, in con­trast, receive most of their rad­i­cal­iz­ing mes­sages from abroad, from ter­ror­ist groups and like-minded sup­port­ers who are freer to use the Inter­net to call for vio­lence and ter­ror­ism within the U.S.  Pro­pa­ganda from Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula, for exam­ple, was an inspi­ra­tion for the Boston Marathon bomb­ing.  In the past two years, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has taken such tac­tics to a new level alto­gether, employ­ing a vir­tual army of on-line recruiters who use social media plat­forms to reach and rad­i­cal­ize sus­cep­ti­ble indi­vid­u­als across the globe.  Seek­ing to instill a deep sense of com­mu­nity and pur­pose, ISIS sup­port­ers encour­age Amer­i­cans to come to the Mid­dle East to help it fight its wars—many of the 80+ U.S. res­i­dents linked to Islamic extrem­ist activ­ity since 2014 have made such attempts. But ISIS also urges peo­ple to launch attacks in the U.S.

Roof and Abdu­lazeez were both cold-blooded killers.  Their attacks deeply affected the cit­i­zens of Charleston and Chat­tanooga and, indeed, the whole coun­try, though not always in the same ways.  In par­tic­u­lar, the Chat­tanooga shoot­ings, like some sim­i­lar attacks before them, stirred anti-Muslim sen­ti­ments directed at America’s entire Mus­lim com­mu­nity, a dis­turb­ing phe­nom­e­non for which there is no par­al­lel with regard to white suprema­cist attacks.

But their attacks were sim­i­lar in that they were both essen­tially futile, able to achieve lit­tle but death and mis­ery.  Indeed, the reac­tions to the attacks illus­trate just how inef­fec­tive they actu­ally were.  The Chat­tanooga attack, for exam­ple, inspired an out­pour­ing of sup­port for the U.S. mil­i­tary. The Charleston response was even more pow­er­ful.  Far from start­ing a “race war,” Roof’s slaugh­ter not only brought Charlesto­ni­ans of all races together but also resulted in a bipar­ti­san effort to remove the Con­fed­er­ate flag from the South Car­olina capitol.

Amer­i­can extrem­ists, of what­ever stripe, can hurt and even kill, but the one thing they can’t do is win.

Mr. Segal is an author­ity on Islamic extrem­ism and ter­ror­ism in the United States; Dr. Pit­cav­age is an expert on right-wing extrem­ism and ter­ror­ism in the United States.

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