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January 26, 2016

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

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

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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