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October 20, 2015 1

ISIS Promotes Murdering Jews in New Online Campaign

A banner promoting the ISIS video "Return the Terror to the Jews"

A ban­ner pro­mot­ing the ISIS video “Return the Ter­ror to the Jews”

Offi­cial media out­lets for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have released offi­cial pro­pa­ganda videos and state­ments encour­ag­ing and incit­ing vio­lence against Jews in Israel.

The pro­pa­ganda is yet another addi­tion to the cacoph­ony of online calls for mur­der­ing Jews and Israelis, which have already been prop­a­gated by Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions, indi­vid­u­als cel­e­brat­ing and pro­mot­ing ter­ror­ism, and even main­stream Arabic-language news out­lets.

The ISIS pro­pa­ganda also serves to fur­ther demon­strate the per­va­sive­ness of anti-Semitism in ter­ror­ist ide­ol­ogy, and the way in which ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions exploit pop­u­lar anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sen­ti­ment to mobi­lize and recruit sup­port­ers. A recent ADL report, “Anti-Semitism: A Pil­lar of Islamic Extrem­ist Ide­ol­ogy,” high­lights this use of anti-Semitism with exam­ples from ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other ter­ror­ist organizations.

A screenshot from an ISIS video shows images of terror attacks in Israel

A screen­shot from an ISIS video shows images of ter­ror attacks in Israel

In its cur­rent cam­paign, ISIS has posted at least eight offi­cial pro­pa­ganda videos incit­ing vio­lence in Israel. The videos were posted on social media with an Arabic-language hash­tag that trans­lates as #BeheadThe­Jews; some were also posted under the English-language hash­tag #Slaughter_the_Jews. Trans­lated titles of the videos, which are instruc­tive of their con­tent, include: “Return the Ter­ror to the Jews,” “Slaugh­ter Them and Don’t Show Them Mercy,” “Ter­ror­ize the Jews, Oh Peo­ple of Beyt al Maqdis (Jerusalem),” “Mes­sage to our Peo­ple in Beyt Al Maqdis,” and “Mes­sage to the Mujahideen (fight­ers) in Beyt al Maqdis.”

Many of the videos fea­ture images of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who are eas­ily rec­og­niz­able as Jew­ish because of their cloth­ing, and of Israeli sol­diers, includ­ing mul­ti­ple images of Israeli sol­diers engaged in Jew­ish rit­ual activ­ity such as eat­ing matzah and pray­ing while wear­ing phy­lac­ter­ies. They also show images and footage of attacks against Jews and Israelis, includ­ing bus bomb­ings and recent stabbings.

One of the videos, pro­duced by the media divi­sion of ISIS’s Nin­veh Province, clearly defines attack­ing Jews all over the world as fun­da­men­tal to Islamic extrem­ist goals. “Remem­ber that our war with the Jews is doc­tri­nal,” the video’s nar­ra­tor states; “it is a war between faith and dis­be­lief. There­fore, you must keep going with your fight and use all the legit­i­mate means in fight­ing them, includ­ing stab­bing and run­ning them over. Do not for­get about the explo­sive devices…” In a ref­er­ence to a Qu’ranic verse in which the entire world assists Mus­lims in killing Jews, the video’s nar­ra­tor goes on to say that, “Allah per­mit­ting, the promised day is approach­ing from which the Jews will not escape.”

A sam­pling of addi­tional quotes that encour­age vio­lence against Jews includes:

A screenshot from an ISIS video shows Israeli soldiers eating matzah, overlaid with an image of flames.

A screen­shot from one of the ISIS videos

  • “Bring back the ter­ror to the Jews with bomb­ing, burn­ing and stabbing.”
  • “Oh, you Monothe­ists in Pales­tine, to become lone wolves killing the ene­mies of God is bet­ter for you than to be with groups or par­ties that claim to be work­ing for the reli­gion of God while they serve as a bar­rier between the Muja­hedeen and Jihad.”
  • “Oh you peo­ple of Jerusalem, ter­rify the Jews.”
  • “Increase your oper­a­tions against the Jews who fed the Mus­lims all types of mis­ery and suffering.”

Some of the videos also advo­cate anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries. “[Jews are] the mur­der­ers of the prophets and mes­sen­gers,” alleged one of the videos, which went on to accuse Jews of hav­ing “cor­rupted the faith of the Chris­tians” and “mis­led the Shi’a.”

Sev­eral of the videos bor­row footage from pre­vi­ous ISIS pro­pa­ganda pieces that threat­ened Israel. One of them, for exam­ple, fea­tures an image of a child exe­cut­ing a man that ISIS alleged was a Mossad spy. The orig­i­nal video show­ing that exe­cu­tion had gone on to sug­gest that the cur­rent chil­dren of ISIS fight­ers will go on to con­quer Israel in the future.

An image circulated online states that negotiations and elections will lead to destruction, calling instead for readers to "sacrifice our money and selves"

An image cir­cu­lated online states that nego­ti­a­tions and elec­tions will lead to destruc­tion, adding that what is needed is for read­ers to “sac­ri­fice our money and ourselves”

The ISIS pro­pa­ganda also fea­tures ban­ners and images released by Al Bat­tar Media, the same media com­pany that was active in releas­ing images call­ing for Israel’s destruc­tion last sum­mer; the cur­rent cam­paign has recy­cled some of the images from last sum­mer, such as one depict­ing ISIS fight­ers stand­ing in front of the Dome of the Rock, and has added new images as well.

In a notable shift from pre­vi­ous ISIS pro­pa­ganda on Israel, the cur­rent videos and posters are focused more on pro­mot­ing the vio­lence than on promis­ing a future ISIS vic­tory over Israel (although the lat­ter is depicted as well). This may be a result of the indi­vid­ual nature of the cur­rent vio­lence, which is not claimed by groups but, rather, is being under­taken by indi­vid­u­als inspired in part by the infor­ma­tion they find on social media. ISIS can there­fore seek to claim credit for inspir­ing future attacks and assert that it is active in the present con­flict sim­ply by encour­ag­ing addi­tional vio­lence online.

Sim­i­larly, the cur­rent cam­paign fea­tures a heavy focus on defend­ing the Al Aqsa mosque, with one video even show­ing footage of Israeli sol­diers and explo­sions in the mosque. This cor­re­lates with the excuse being used to jus­tify the cur­rent vio­lence, which stems from false alle­ga­tions of Israeli attempts to take over that mosque.

The videos and images were dis­trib­uted on Telegram, an app that ISIS now uses as a pri­mary pro­pa­ganda dis­tri­b­u­tion ser­vice, but they were also cir­cu­lated broadly on more main­stream social media sites due in part to the strong pres­ence of ISIS sup­port­ers on social media and the unfor­tu­nately wide­spread fol­low­ing of con­tent call­ing for the destruc­tion of Jews and Israel in the cur­rent cli­mate of vio­lence in Israel.

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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 14, 2015 6

As Israelis Are Stabbed, Obsession With “Even-Handedness” Morally Reprehensible

The inter­na­tional community’s obses­sion with “even-handedness” in com­ments on Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ism is morally rep­re­hen­si­ble.  The recent spate of Pales­tini­ans stab­bings Israelis has gen­er­ated too many calls for restraint by both sides and too few con­dem­na­tions of those wield­ing the knives (and of those urg­ing the attacks.)

Spain is the cur­rent Pres­i­dent of the UN Secu­rity Coun­cil.  Yes­ter­day its gov­ern­ment expressed “great con­cern over the extreme grav­ity of the sit­u­a­tion in Israel and in Pales­tine, and its seri­ous regret at the suc­ces­sive vio­lent attacks and con­fronta­tions that have lead [sic] to the deaths of at least 6 Israelis and 29 Pales­tini­ans.”  Spain then called for “restraint from all par­ties and for them to deci­sively tackle this swath of vio­lence,” fur­ther describ­ing the sit­u­a­tion as a “dan­ger­ous spi­ral towards violence.”

Who held the knife and who had it plunged into their chest?  Who was shot after mur­der­ing inno­cent bystanders?  Impos­si­ble to know, based on Spain’s statement.

Anti-Israel Incitement from Twitter

Anti-Israel Incite­ment from Twitter

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, sim­i­larly – and unchar­ac­ter­is­ti­cally for him – con­flated ter­ror­ists and civil­ian vic­tims.  His Octo­ber 6 state­ment, the only one he has issued since the stab­bings began, reads, “The Secretary-General is pro­foundly alarmed by the grow­ing num­ber of deadly inci­dents in the West Bank, includ­ing East Jerusalem.  The last few days of clashes, which resulted in the death of four Pales­tini­ans, includ­ing a 13-year-old boy, and hun­dreds injured, are yet another wor­ri­some sign of vio­lence poten­tially spi­ralling out of con­trol.  The Secretary-General con­demns the killings and looks to the Gov­ern­ment of Israel to con­duct a prompt and trans­par­ent inves­ti­ga­tion into the inci­dents, includ­ing whether the use of force was proportional.”

Of the four dead Pales­tini­ans ref­er­enced in Ban’s state­ments, it appears that at least two were killed while com­mit­ting ter­ror­ist attacks in Jerusalem. One, Muhan­nad Hal­abi, was shot by police after he bru­tally stabbed to death Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita in the Old City on Octo­ber 3. The sec­ond, Fadi Alon, was shot after he stabbed a 15 year-old Jew­ish boy out­side the Old City on Octo­ber 4.  The mur­dered Israelis are not men­tioned, inferred only by the ref­er­ence to “deadly incidents.”

Moral clar­ity requires dis­tin­guish­ing dead ter­ror­ists from their dead vic­tims.  Those in lead­er­ship posi­tions in the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity who fail to make such dis­tinc­tions should not be sur­prised when their other demands are ignored.

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