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July 14, 2014

Disturbing Online Messages Say #HitlerWasRight

The popularity of some disturbing Hitler-related hashtags on Twitter has grown in reaction to “Operation Protective Edge,” Israel’s response to the latest round of rocket attacks from Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.HitlerWasRight-hitler-gaza-israel-twitter-hashtag

Many of these responses have included the hashtags #HitlerWasRight and #HitlerDidNothingWrong, such as:

  • “World needs another Hitler! #HitlerWasRight #SavePalestine #SaveGaza”
  • “#HitlerWasRight but he did one thing wrong he let other Jews to live, and they are massacring #Palestinians today”
  • “#HitlerWasRight #HitlerDidNothingWrong we need a clone of #hitler for #jews #Israel @IsraeliPM”

This online outpouring of anti-Semitism initially appeared in the context of the recent series of Nazi and Holocaust references that flooded social media after Germany’s 7-1 victory over Brazil in the World Cup semifinals. Some of those wishing to protest Israel’s operation in Gaza have piggybacked on this phenomenon, referencing both Germany’s World Cup victory and Gaza in their #HitlerWasRight and #HitlerDidNothingWrong tweets:

  • “Germany won the World Cup- Israel has won murder, destruction and disaster. #iSupportGaza #HitlerWasRight? He did what Israel does now”
  • “I am supporting #Germany because #HitlerWasRight he killed jews with this reason #GAZA #GazaUnderAttack #WorldCuptFinal2014Brazil”
  • “2014 FIFA World Cup CHAMPIONS! ***GERMANY*** #PrayForGaza #HitlerWasRight #JewsAreHumanEnemy #JewsAreRealTerrorist”

Invoking Hitler and Nazi Germany to demonize Israel is not limited to social media. Blatantly offensive comparisons have appeared at a number of anti-Israel protests in the U.S. Below are just a few examples:

  • At a protest orga­nized by the Mil­wau­kee Pales­tin­ian Sol­i­dar­ity Coali­tion, one young woman held a sign that read, “Don’t Do To Pales­tini­ans What Hitler Did To You.”
  • At a pro­test­ in Cleve­land, one sign depicted Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu with a Hitler mus­tache and a Nazi flag juxtaposed with an Israeli flag.
  • At a rally in front of the Israeli Con­sulate in Chicago, among the many signs were sev­eral that accused Israel of per­pe­trat­ing a Holo­caust: “End the Pales­tine Holo­caust,” “It was Wrong in Auschwitz, it is Wrong in Gaza!” and “Gaza Concentration/Starvation Camp, Designed, Man­u­fac­tured, Fre­quently Bombed and Man­aged By Israel.”    

A recent ADL poll of anti-Semitic attitudes in 100 countries found that knowledge about the Holocaust varies widely depending on the country. In the survey, 54 percent of those polled globally responded affirmatively when asked if they had heard about the Holocaust in Europe during World War II. Another 35 percent of those polled indicated they had no knowledge of the Holocaust, and 10 percent responded “don’t know.”

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July 11, 2014

“Don’t Do To Palestinians What Hitler Did To You”

On Thursday, July 10, anti-Israel protests took place in Cleveland, Knoxville and Milwaukee. At least 25 rallies are scheduled to take place in many major U.S. cities this weekend.

Here are photos from these demonstrations:

Protesters in Cleveland, OH held signs accusing Israel of collective punishment, killing Palestinian children and engaging in “terrorism.” One sign depicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a Hitler mustache and a swastika juxtaposed with a Star of David. Another accused AIPAC of subverting American interests in favor of Israel.



A protest called “Stand Up for Palestine” in Knoxville featured signs that called for an end to aid to the “racist state of Israel” and an accusation that Israel is committing a so-called “genocide” against the Palestinian people.


At a protest organized by the Milwaukee Palestinian Solidarity Coalition, demonstrators accused Israel of “war crimes” and “genocide.” One young woman held a sign that read, “Don’t Do To Palestinians What Hitler Did To You.”

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July 18, 2013

Raelians Plan “Swastika Rehabilitation Day” For July 20

A fringe religious sect known as the Raelian Movement has announced plans for its fourth annual “Swastika Rehabilitation Day,” scheduled for July 20.  “Swastika Rehabilitation Day” activities scheduled for the United States on that day include events at Copley Square in Boston, on bicycles on Chicago’s lake front, in Las Vegas on the Strip, in Los Angeles at the Santa Monica Pier, in the air over New York City, at Point State Park in Pittsburgh, on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, and in the Castro District of San Francisco.raelian-logo

The Raelian Movement is a small religious movement based primarily in Western Europe, with some adherents in North America, Japan, and even Israel.  Its logo consists of a Star of David intertwined with a swastika—a rather startling image.  Although people often report sightings of the Raelian logo as a hate symbol, the Raelians use the swastika not in its Nazi context but in its East Asian context as a symbol of good fortune.  For a time in the 1990s, the Raelians shifted to a less controversial logo, but they soon returned to the original version.

It is because of their logo that the Raelians have for decades been active in so-called “swastika rehabilitation,” efforts that to date have not achieved their desired purpose and are unlikely to do so any time soon, at least in Western society.  The Raelians’ other controversial campaign, their “Go Topless” campaign for women, has also won little but notoriety.

The Raelian Movement was started in the 1970s by a former French race car driver, Claude Vorilhon (now known as Rael); its beliefs center around advanced extraterrestrial civilizations.  It does not have a history of violence. 

The most problematic aspect related to the Raelians is their opinions about other religions.  Though they profess to be tolerant and in most respects live up to such claims, this is not always true when it comes to “competing” sets of religious beliefs.  In particular, the Raelians have launched a number of nasty attacks against the Catholic Church over the years. 

The Raelians have also made problematic statements regarding Jews and Judaism.  Some statements have stemmed from the group’s poor governmental reception in Israel, others from sympathy with Palestinians, while still others have risen from a desire that Jews accept Raelian teachings.  All three sentiments combined in a 2008 statement by the group’s spokesperson in Israel, Leon Mellul, in which he claimed that Jewish teachings were “primitive ideas from the Middle Ages” and “unfounded nonsense” and said that Israel’s survival depended on:  1) recognizing Rael as the Messiah; 2) permitting the “Raelian Embassy” [in Israel]; and 3) “showing love and compassion for all human beings.”

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