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June 18, 2014 9

Social Media Campaigns Glorify Kidnapping of the Three Israeli Teens

Along­side the out­pour­ing of con­cern on social media for the safe return of the three Israeli teens kid­napped last Thurs­day, includ­ing a twit­ter cam­paign with the slo­gan #bring­back­our­boys, exists a cyn­i­cal, hate­ful and dan­ger­ous cam­paign prais­ing the kid­nap­ping.

The pro-kidnapping mes­sages, being pro­moted by some Pales­tini­ans and oth­ers across the Arab and Mus­lim world, are con­veyed through pic­tures, car­toons, blog posts, memes and even songs.

The most promi­nent is the “Three Fin­gers” cam­paign, rep­re­sent­ing the three kid­napped youths. This is a vari­a­tion on the four-finger salute adopted by the Egypt­ian Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in their fight against cur­rent Pres­i­dent and for­mer gen­eral Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi, and in sup­port of ousted pres­i­dent Muham­mad Morsi. Social media images depict adults and chil­dren per­form­ing a three-finger salute in sol­i­dar­ity with the kid­nap­pers. In some pho­tos, objects, such as three bananas, are used as props to recre­ate the salute, and sim­i­lar themes have also appeared in car­toons in Arabic-language newspapers.

The other ele­ment to the pro-kidnapping cam­paign is the invo­ca­tion of for­mer Israeli sol­dier Gilad Shalit, who was held cap­tive by Hamas for five years and released in 2011 in exchange for Israel free­ing 1027 Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ists. A Face­book page titled “Three Shal­its” calls on the pub­lic to share pic­tures of them­selves hold­ing up three fin­gers in sup­port of a sim­i­lar exchange of the kid­napped Israeli teens for addi­tional Pales­tini­ans in Israeli jails. Some of the cap­tions sug­gest that each kid­napped boy should be released in exchange for 1027 Pales­tini­ans, bring­ing the total num­ber to 3081.

The pro-kidnapping social media cam­paign also includes a song prais­ing the kid­nap­pers called “A Hand­ful of Shal­its.” The singer says “We’ve got you all, Shal­its,” which is fol­lowed up by a call to Pales­tini­ans in Israeli pris­ons that their release is near.

A dif­fer­ent, and no less dis­turb­ing cam­paign, also exists on the other extreme in the form of a Hebrew Face­book page call­ing for “the exe­cu­tion of one ter­ror­ist every hour until the teens are released.” The page has already gar­nered almost 20,000 likes, and con­tains selec­tive Bib­li­cal quo­ta­tions and other state­ments to sup­port vio­lent reprisals to the kid­nap­ping of the three Israeli teens.

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July 24, 2013 4

Foul Ball: Hate Speech, Twitter & Baseball

In the past week, the abil­ity to spread hate about eth­nic and reli­gious minori­ties in real time has twice played out on Twit­ter in the con­text of baseball. ryan-braun-twitter-hate

After Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers out­fielder Ryan Braun was sus­pended from Major League Base­ball for the remain­der of this sea­son for using per­for­mance enhanc­ing drugs, some Twit­ter users responded by post­ing dis­tinctly anti-Semitic messages.

Among the tweets that can be found when search­ing for Braun on Twit­ter are:

  • leave it to a jew to cheat the sys­tem, deceive peo­ple, then tar­nish other’s rep­u­ta­tions. Fuck you asshole
  • Ryan Braun jew’d us!
  • Ryan Braun didn’t make a mistake…he cheated, lied about it and than got caught…fuckin jew
  • Of course Ryan Braun was juiced out of his mind. How else could a Jew be that great at any­thing besides accounting

While anti-Semitic tweets about Braun did not start with his sus­pen­sion, the recent tweets fol­low a bar­rage of racist tweets in response to singer Marc Antony’s singing “God Bless Amer­ica” at Major League Baseball’s All-Star game in New York on July 16.

While Anthony is an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen of Puerto Rican descent, numer­ous offen­sive tweets made the rounds, say­ing  “shouldn’t an Amer­i­can be singing God Bless Amer­ica?” and imply­ing that Anthony is actu­ally from Mex­ico or Cuba, gen­er­ally assert­ing  any­one who is Latino in appear­ance is not inher­ently American.

ADL ardently sup­ports the right to free speech, but believes that social media and other Inter­net sites also have an oblig­a­tion to police their com­mu­ni­ties and con­front those who pro­mote anti-Semitism, racism and other forms of hate speech.

Twit­ter has no terms of ser­vice or com­mu­nity stan­dards that address aggres­sive or mali­cious behav­ior on the ser­vice. Addi­tion­ally, Twit­ter does not pro­vide even the most basic “Flag­ging” mech­a­nism for com­plaints which is widely used on the expe­ri­enced plat­forms run by Google and Facebook.

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April 19, 2013 1

Profile Of Boston Bombers Emerges

Even as the man­hunt for Dzhokhar Tsar­naev con­tin­ues, a por­trait of him and his brother, Tamer­lan, the alleged per­pe­tra­tors of Monday’s Boston Marathon bomb­ing, has begun to emerge.

Based on social media pro­files appar­ently belong­ing to them, the broth­ers were inter­ested in mil­i­tancy, Islam and Chech­nya, a region in Russia.

The two report­edly came to the United States as refugees in the early 2000s, per­haps a cou­ple of years apart, after flee­ing the vio­lence in the Cau­ca­sus.  Both appeared to main­tain close ties to their eth­nic home­land. The younger brother, Dzhokhar, included the seal of his home­town soc­cer team as the back­ground of his Twit­ter account. The older, Tamer­lan, expressed his hope for Chechen inde­pen­dence and included books about Chech­nya about on his Ama­zon wish list.

The broth­ers were also prac­tic­ing Mus­lims, post­ing mes­sages about Islam and Ramadan on var­i­ous social media pro­files. There is an indi­ca­tion that Tamer­lan may have had a more rad­i­cal streak, reflected in his YouTube playlist fea­tur­ing videos by a rad­i­cal cleric liv­ing in Aus­tralia and videos about join­ing an Islamic army to help estab­lish a Caliphate as well as a playlist on “Ter­ror­ists” (the videos of which had pre­vi­ously been deleted by YouTube).

A more com­plete pro­file on the broth­ers can be found here: Social Media Pro­files Shed Light on Broth­ers Accused in Boston Marathon Attack.

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