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January 26, 2016 3

Outpouring of Anti-Israel Tweets After NBA Coach David Blatt Fired

After the fir­ing of the NBA’s Cleve­land Cav­a­liers head coach David Blatt, some social media users responded by post­ing vehe­mently anti-Israel, and some anti-Jewish, per­sonal attacks against Blatt, who holds both Israeli and Amer­i­can citizenship.

Hos­tile ver­bal attacks on indi­vid­u­als for being Israeli cit­i­zens or sup­port­ers of Israel appear to have become more com­mon­place in recent years both online and offline as well as some look to demo­nize the Jew­ish state in any way possible.

Below are just a few exam­ples from the dozens of social media posts per­son­ally attack­ing Blatt regard­ing his cit­i­zen­ship or reli­gious iden­tity rather than dis­cussing his abil­i­ties as a coach:

anti-israel-david-blatt-tweets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is not the first time such open hos­til­ity against Israelis or Jews in sports has been expressed in such an ugly fash­ion on social media. After Israeli bas­ket­ball team Mac­cabi Tel Aviv beat Real Madrid in the Euroleague final in 2014, there was an out­pour­ing of anti-Semitic mes­sages on Twit­ter. Twit­ter also erupted with anti-Semitic com­men­tary after Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers out­fielder Ryan Braun was sus­pended from Major League Base­ball in 2013.

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October 20, 2015 0

This Intifada is in Your Social Media Feed

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Times of Israel Blog

The knife, bran­dished in the air and drip­ping with blood, is the icon of the cur­rent wave of Pales­tin­ian vio­lence against Israelis. This visual is the new sym­bol cel­e­brat­ing the seem­ingly non-stop pro­lif­er­a­tion of attacks by Pales­tini­ans against Israelis – many of them stab­bings – and incites more hate, more ter­ror, more vio­lence to an audi­ence primed to act on it.

“The Social Media Intifada” is the title being used for the cur­rent spate of ter­ror attacks, fea­tured on Face­book and other social media plat­forms, where Pales­tin­ian attack­ers are cel­e­brated as mar­tyrs, heroes and even as vic­tims of Israeli bru­tal­ity. On Twit­ter, poten­tial ter­ror­ists are exhorted to stab and kill Jews. Videos of Mus­lim preach­ers call­ing for attacks on Jews (one while hold­ing a knife),even instruc­tional videos on how to stab effec­tively, go viral. Pro­lif­er­at­ing on social media are car­toons of attacks on Israelis and alle­ga­tions of a Jewish/Israeli con­spir­acy to take over the Al Aqsa mosque.

Pales­tin­ian incite­ment to vio­lence isn’t new, but the medium and the method is. Dur­ing pre­vi­ous peri­ods of Pales­tin­ian vio­lence – such as the Sec­ond Intifada – we saw calls for vio­lence and wide­spread anti-Israel and anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries. Pub­lic squares, parks and schools were named in honor of those who per­pe­trated ter­ror­ist attacks against Israeli civil­ians. Pop­u­lar songs cel­e­brated the attack­ers. But behind most of the prior vio­lent chap­ters of the con­flict, it was the Pales­tin­ian lead­er­ship – the PLO, Hamas, Fatah, the Pales­tin­ian Author­ity, and oth­ers – who were pro­mot­ing and enabling the hate-filled mes­sages and the vio­lent action. Last Autumn, while social media emerged as a means of cel­e­brat­ing and encour­ag­ing vio­lence against Israelis, its impact was limited.

To be sure, in this cur­rent period, PA Pres­i­dent Abbas and other lead­er­ship are poi­son­ing the atmos­phere with incen­di­ary rhetoric. His fan­tas­ti­cal alle­ga­tion last week that Israel had “exe­cuted” a Pales­tin­ian boy – who was in real­ity being treated in an Israeli hos­pi­tal after stab­bing a 13-year-old rid­ing his bicy­cle near his Jerusalem home – is only the most recent example.

How­ever, at present, Israeli secu­rity experts say social media – not Pales­tin­ian lead­ers – is the pri­mary force dri­ving the vio­lence. The incite­ment, the mis­in­for­ma­tion, and the hate that inspire the stab­bings, shoot­ings, rock throw­ing and car ram­ming attacks are spread­ing via smart phone — and con­stantly. Ter­ror­ists who were killed mid-attack are upheld as heroes and mar­tyrs, their deadly actions ignored.

And, yes, there are also Israelis who are post­ing hate-filled incen­di­ary mes­sages, includ­ing calls for “death to Arabs” and a “sec­ond Nakba.” While there have been only a hand­ful of vio­lent attacks by Israelis against Arabs in recent weeks, the risk of more Israeli vio­lence increases as this cri­sis goes on.

Social media can mobi­lize for good and for evil. Demo­c­ra­tic forces in the Jas­mine Rev­o­lu­tion and Tahrir Square used Twit­ter and Face­book to orga­nize against author­i­tar­ian rule in the Arab Spring. Viral videos of peo­ple dump­ing ice water on their heads raised mil­lions to find a cure for ALS. Social media has raised pub­lic aware­ness of a plethora of social jus­tice issues – from #Bring­Back­Our­Girls to #Black­Lives­Mat­ter. But social media has also enabled ISIS and other extrem­ist ter­ror­ist groups and their sup­port­ers to recruit youth from around the world to join their vio­lent cause. And on this side of the ledger, we can add the cur­rent wave of violence.

ADL pro­motes two approaches to address this prob­lem: remov­ing incen­di­ary speech and chal­leng­ing hate speech with good speech. For years, we have been work­ing with social media com­pa­nies to improve poli­cies and pro­to­cols for the removal of con­tent that incites vio­lence or big­otry, con­tent that is con­trary to the com­pa­nies’ terms of ser­vice. But we also pro­mote counter-speech, where activists and all con­cerned peo­ple use social media to con­demn vio­lence, to urge mod­er­a­tion, and even to try to dis­suade poten­tial ter­ror­ists before they move to action.

The real­ity is, what hap­pens online reflects what’s going on in soci­ety. In order for counter-speech to be an effec­tive tool address­ing the “social media Intifada,” those with influ­ence, whether in the online world or in world capi­tols, need to con­demn Pales­tin­ian incite­ment and ter­ror­ism clearly and unequiv­o­cally. Inter­net users who come across calls for vio­lence online, should report it imme­di­ately to the inter­net provider (see our guide to learn how). In many cases, such con­tent vio­lates their terms of ser­vice and the page will be removed.

The social media com­pa­nies we work with are mak­ing good faith efforts to enforce their poli­cies, but the con­tent that appears online can­not be divorced from real-world hate. It is still too early to know how this cur­rent chap­ter in the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict will develop. Let’s hope respon­si­ble voices and action prevail.

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October 13, 2015 0

Caricatures and Images Incite Violence Against Israelis

As Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ism con­tin­ues in Israel, media out­lets from across the Arab and Mus­lim world are pub­lish­ing car­toons which glo­rify the killing of Israelis and Jews. These vio­lent anti-Israel and anti-Semitic car­i­ca­tures are being reposted on social media, and are being used to incite fur­ther ter­ror attacks against Israelis.

A promi­nent theme of these car­toons and social media posts relate to the daily spate of Pales­tin­ian stab­bing attacks of Israelis. Among the car­toons are depic­tions of a Pales­tin­ian with a large knife being used to stab Israeli sol­diers, Prime Min­is­ter Netanyahu and other Jews, and some glo­rify spe­cific ter­ror attacks includ­ing the Octo­ber 3rd killing of Nehemia Lavi in Jerusalem’s Old City. Some of these car­toons are cir­cu­lat­ing on social media with mes­sages advo­cat­ing vio­lence against Jews and Israelis. Oth­ers, which do not appear to have orig­i­nated from media sources, are tagged with state­ments like “Happy Inter­na­tional Stab a Jew Day” and “stab a Jew today.”  Also cir­cu­lat­ing widely are pho­tos and videos of Gaza Imam Sheikh Muham­mad Sal­lah who, in his ser­mon this past Fri­day, held a knife in a stab­bing motion, and expressed sup­port for stab­bing Israelis.

Another ongo­ing theme is the con­spir­acy the­ory that Israel and Jews are seek­ing to take over the Tem­ple Mount/Noble Sanc­tu­ary and “Judaize” Jerusalem by remov­ing the Mus­lim con­nec­tion to the city. A num­ber of Pales­tin­ian lead­ers have in recent weeks fueled this con­spir­acy with false and out­landish state­ments, includ­ing Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Abbas who last month accused Jews of “des­e­crat­ing” the Tem­ple Mount/Noble Sanc­tu­ary area “with their filthy feet.” This theme, which has been preva­lent for years across the region, is often rep­re­sented by an Israeli or Jew­ish car­i­ca­ture — often in the form of an ani­mal or insect — steal­ing, uproot­ing or destroy­ing the Dome of the Rock mosque.

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