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July 30, 2014 1

ISIS Augments Its Threats Against Israel

ISIS-israel-threat-gaza

A graphic posted by Al-Minhaj Media states: “The Islamic State pounds the Zion­ist entity with rock­ets and will con­tinue hit­ting their fortresses with a bloody clap that will worry them. We will raise the dis­grace with our hands and with all our strength we will push them back.”

Since the start of the cur­rent hos­til­i­ties between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an Al Qaeda inspired ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion based in Syria and Iraq, has used its media prowess to release a stream of threats against Israel while explain­ing to sup­port­ers that ISIS is cur­rently unable to actively fight against Israel.

In the sec­ond issue of ISIS’s Eng­lish lan­guage mag­a­zine Dabiq, released July 27, 2014, it clearly explained this posi­tion, while wast­ing no words in espous­ing its inten­tions against Israel:

“As for the mas­sacres tak­ing place in Gaza against the Mus­lim men, women, and chil­dren…” read the magazine’s for­ward, “the Islamic State will do every­thing within its means to con­tinue strik­ing down every apos­tate who stands as an obsta­cle on its path towards Pales­tine. It is not the man­ner of the Islamic State to throw empty, dry, and hyp­o­crit­i­cal words of con­dem­na­tion and con­do­lences like the Arab tawāghīt do in the UN and Arab League. Rather, its actions speak louder than its words and it is only a mat­ter of time and patience before it reaches Pales­tine to fight the bar­baric jews (sic) and kill those of them hid­ing behind the ghar­qad trees – the trees of the jews (sic).”

The men­tion of ghar­qad trees refers to a hadith, a state­ment attrib­uted to Mohammed, some­times cited by extrem­ists as an order to kill Jews.

Although threats against Israel make up a small por­tion of ISIS’s over­all rhetoric, they are an ongo­ing ele­ment of the group’s over­all mes­sag­ing. Offi­cial ISIS media accounts included a num­ber of graph­ics last month threat­en­ing Israel. Sev­eral sim­i­lar graph­ics have been posted since, includ­ing an image of mis­siles point­ing upward with the cap­tion “The Islamic State pounds the Zion­ist entity with rock­ets and will con­tinue hit­ting their fortresses with a bloody clap that will worry them. We will raise the dis­grace with our hands and with all our strength we will push them back.”

Pro-ISIS Twit­ter accounts have also reg­u­larly reposted state­ments from Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Ansar Jerusalem), a ter­ror­ist group based in Gaza and the Sinai that has pro­claimed alle­giance to ISIS. These have included state­ments of sup­port as well as videos of attacks against Israel claimed by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis.

Semi-official pro-ISIS Twit­ter accounts have added to the threats as well. For exam­ple, “The Light Series,” a group that dis­trib­utes pro-ISIS videos to YouTube that has received high lev­els of acclaim from ISIS mem­bers and sup­port­ers online, has shared images of allegedly Pales­tin­ian chil­dren dressed as Hamas mil­i­tants and a poster depict­ing a quote from Osama bin Laden say­ing, “Their rejec­tion of Hamas after it had won the elec­tion con­firms that there is a Crusader-Zionist war against Muslims.”

Sim­i­larly, the Twit­ter account “Prophet’s Khi­lafa,” an unof­fi­cial ISIS account that claims to be “ded­i­cated to spread­ing the news of the Islamic State to the Eng­lish speak­ing audi­ence,” has posted images of destruc­tion in Gaza and a series of posters depict­ing anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries such as “Jews after eman­ci­pa­tion involved in slave trade, women traf­fick­ing and prostitution.”

Indi­vid­ual sup­port­ers are also adding to the cho­rus. One image in par­tic­u­lar depicts ISIS’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (now call­ing him­self Caliph Ibrahim) stand­ing in front of an ISIS flag and a pile of ruins, while the Dome of the Rock mosque (and in some ver­sions also the Al Aqsa mosque) shine in the back­ground. Posted on July 9th and in mod­i­fied form on July 11th, the images have been shared on a num­ber of pro-ISIS accounts.

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July 23, 2014 0

ISIS Faces Resistance From Social Media Companies

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has gar­nered atten­tion for its sophis­ti­cated use of social media. While the ter­ror­ist group has built on tech­niques pio­neered by other ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions to spread its mes­sages and recruit fol­low­ers, social media com­pa­nies are increas­ingly shut­ting down ISIS accounts and frus­trat­ing its pro­pa­ganda dis­tri­b­u­tion mechanisms.

On July 12, ISIS announced that sev­eral of its main media accounts would be sus­pend­ing their use of Twit­ter in favor of a social media ser­vice called Frien­dica. This came after sev­eral weeks dur­ing which Twit­ter shut down ISIS offi­cial sites and ISIS replaced them with new ones.

Almost imme­di­ately, mul­ti­ple ISIS sup­port­ers joined Frien­dica to fol­low the group.

On July 20, the con­tent was deleted from seven of ISIS’s new Frien­dica sites. Every page on the Frien­dica web­site now comes with a ban­ner at the top stat­ing “Islamic State not wel­come on friendica.eu.”

On July 20, ISIS tried again, cre­at­ing accounts on alter­nate social media sites Quit­ter and Dias­pora. Although the Dias­pora accounts remain up, the Quit­ter accounts were shut down on July 23, replaced with a pic­ture pro­mot­ing peace and coex­is­tence (see image), a link to a web­site sell­ing books about Mahatma Gandhi and text in Eng­lish and Ara­bic stat­ing, “When you fight evil with evil – evil wins.”isis-quitter-diaspora-twitter-terrorism

In the past week, Twit­ter also shut down mul­ti­ple accounts rep­re­sent­ing ISIS regional commands.

ISIS has already recre­ated some of its accounts on Twit­ter. Ale3tisam, an offi­cial ISIS media out­let that had unsuc­cess­fully attempted to migrate to Frien­dica and Quit­ter, returned to Twit­ter and cre­ated a new account on July 23.  Sev­eral of the regional groups have done so as well. There also remain mul­ti­ple ISIS sup­port­ers with Twit­ter accounts who them­selves reg­u­larly share offi­cial propaganda.

Ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions are resource­ful enough to find new out­lets when their accounts are shut down. ISIS has con­tin­ued to cre­ate and dis­trib­ute media to wide audi­ences through­out the last three weeks. How­ever, there is no doubt that they also lose plat­forms and power, fac­ing greater dif­fi­culty in spread­ing their hate. By respond­ing aggres­sively to ter­ror­ist accounts, social media com­pa­nies have the power to decrease sig­nif­i­cantly the reach of ter­ror­ists’ hate­ful messages.

Indi­vid­u­als can also aid in the process. ADL’s Cyber-Safety Action Guide enables the com­mu­nity to reg­is­ter con­cerns with Inter­net ser­vice providers when they encounter ter­ror­ist con­tent online.

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July 23, 2014 0

New EU “Conclusions” on Israel and Gaza

The Euro­pean Union’s For­eign Affairs Coun­cil, com­prised of the 28 EU for­eign min­is­ters, reg­u­larly issues “con­clu­sions” on a vari­ety of inter­na­tional issues.  Yesterday’s “Coun­cil con­clu­sions on the Mid­dle East Peace Process” show greater EU under­stand­ing for Israeli posi­tions and an end to the EU’s patience with Hamas in Gaza.

The most sig­nif­i­cant change from the pre­vi­ous Con­clu­sions of Decem­ber 2013 is the demand that “all ter­ror­ist groups in Gaza must dis­arm” and the call for “the Pales­tin­ian gov­ern­ment to take charge of the Gaza Strip.”  The EU wants Pres­i­dent Abbas’s so-called “unity” gov­ern­ment to replace Hamas and main­tain a monop­oly on the use of force.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, the EU con­demned Hamas for call­ing “on the civil­ian pop­u­la­tion of Gaza to pro­vide them­selves as human shields.”  Israel has been high­light­ing this war crime by Hamas and now the EU has endorsed Israel’s position. EU Flag

The EU noted that Israeli mil­i­tary oper­a­tions “must be pro­por­tion­ate and in line with inter­na­tional human­i­tar­ian law.”  How­ever, the con­clu­sions do not assert that Israel has acted dis­pro­por­tion­ately or con­trary to inter­na­tional human­i­tar­ian law.

For the first time, the EU included a para­graph about “events in the wider Mid­dle East [which] pose seri­ous threats to the EU” and war­rant a re-statement of the EU’s “fun­da­men­tal com­mit­ment to the secu­rity of Israel.”  For too long and in too many Euro­pean cap­i­tals, diplo­mats pro­moted the fal­lacy of Israeli-Palestinian peace as the key to peace through­out the Mid­dle East.  Per­haps the inclu­sion of regional threats in “con­clu­sions on the Mid­dle East Peace Process” demon­strates a new EU con­sen­sus that the Iran­ian nuclear pro­gram, the civil war in Syria, and the grow­ing threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) hin­der Israeli-Palestinian peace and not the mis­guided reverse.

The EU’s “peace para­me­ters” changed with respect to refugees.  The word “real­is­tic” was added and now states that the EU expects “A just, fair, agreed and real­is­tic solu­tion to the refugee ques­tion.”  The change seems to be a nod towards Israel and an expres­sion of frus­tra­tion with the Pales­tin­ian Authority’s nego­ti­at­ing posi­tion on refugees.

Do the new EU con­clu­sions rep­re­sent a sea change? No. But the tide may be turning.

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