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November 25, 2014 0

Music Videos Enhance Violent Anti-Jewish Messages Online

Songs and music videos using the recent wave of ter­ror­ist attacks in Israel to glo­rify the attacks and encour­age more vio­lence are part of a larger online phe­nom­e­non where indi­vid­u­als cel­e­brate and pro­mote ter­ror­ism through pop­u­lar memes, graph­ics and videos.

Screenshot from "Runaway oh Zionist"

Screen­shot from “Run­away oh Zionist”

An ani­mated music video uploaded to YouTube on Novem­ber 18 called “Run­away oh Zion­ist” is an explicit ref­er­ence to the recent “run-over” car attacks in Israel.The song, pre­formed in Hebrew with Ara­bic and Hebrew sub­ti­tles, says, “Run­away oh you Zion­ist, Runaway…Minutes, and a car will run over you” and depicts a Jew­ish man singing about run­ning away from cars. In the part of the video where the Jew­ish man gets hit by a car at a bus sta­tion and thrown into a ceme­tery, the lyrics are, “A car will attack you from each direc­tion to give you a ride to the grave.” The song closes with “Run­away Zion­ists because you will be killed by all means.”

The video, which has received more than 98,000 views, was praised by Hezbollah’s media arm, Al Manar which stated, “the melody of this short video is very apt, and the ani­ma­tion is highly pro­fes­sional which indi­cates a qual­ity boom for the ‘resis­tance’ art in the Occu­pied Ter­ri­tory [Palestine].”

Another song cir­cu­lat­ing online titled “Run-over this set­tler” is per­formed by a Pales­tin­ian duo. The song includes the lyrics “Pre­pare your ambush on the road, run-over them; may god help you.” It also praises Abdul­rah­man al-Shaloudi, the ter­ror­ist who rammed his car into a group of Israeli pedes­tri­ans last month, killing a baby and a young woman. One lyric says that he “Ran-over a Jew­ish settler…did it, with his lim­ited resources, for his coun­try.” The lyrics also callupon Pales­tini­ans to “wait for them at the inter­sec­tion, let the set­tler sink in the red blood. Ter­rify them don’t be mer­ci­ful.” Jordan-based Al Yarmuk satel­lite TV sta­tion aired the song on its chan­nel as well.

Var­i­ous YouTube users have cre­ated their own videos and made use of this song as well, bring­ing the total num­ber of views for this song to more than 260,000.

Sim­i­lar user gen­er­ated con­tent began cir­cu­lat­ing online within min­utes of the bru­tal ter­ror attack that killed five peo­ple in a Jerusalem syn­a­gogue. In addi­tion to those images and car­toons glo­ri­fy­ing the attack, another song, titled “The one who knocks the door will hear the answer” was uploaded to YouTube by the pop­u­lar Pales­tin­ian singer Qasim Al-Najar. The song received more than 154,000 views in the first sev­eral days. The song’s lyrics urge Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Netanyahu “to col­lect his Rab­bis,” warn­ing that when Jerusalem revolts it will slaugh­ter the settlers.

The Pop­u­lar Front for the Lib­er­a­tion of Pales­tine, which claimed respon­si­bil­ity for the Syn­a­gogue attack, also released a video on YouTube titled “With a butcher’s knife, a gun, and an Iron will.” The song says “oh set­tler, this is your destiny…your death is inevitable.” The song also praises the Pop­u­lar Front and describes its mem­bers as “walk­ing in defi­ance over death and slaugh­ter­ing them [Israelis] like sheep.”

The PFLP’s song has attracted only 5,800 view­ers on YouTube, which fur­ther attests to the sig­nif­i­cance of user gen­er­ated con­tent to spread mes­sages of vio­lence and anti-Semitism.

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October 31, 2014 0

Tunisian Hacker Targets Hillel In California

O Ghost hacking groupThe web­site of the Beach Hil­lel in Long Beach, Cal­i­for­nia, was hacked by an appar­ent Tunisian hacker by the name of O-Ghost. The hacker redi­rects vis­i­tors to the Hil­lel web­site to a page fea­tur­ing a song about the tenets of Islam and dis­play­ing the hack­ers sig­na­ture over a phrase “Al Khi­lafa [the Islamic Caliphate] is coming.”

This attack is another in a series of hacks tar­get­ing Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in the U.S. from groups in the Arab world who often launch their cyber-attacks under the ban­ner of “Elec­tronic Jihad.”

Unlike most of the pre­vi­ous attacks, the hack­ing of the Beach Hil­lel web­site appears to be a one-person oper­a­tion. O-Ghost appears to be affil­i­ated with sev­eral hacker groups moti­vated by an anti-Israel agenda. A YouTube chan­nel ded­i­cated to doc­u­ment­ing the hack­ing oper­a­tions of O-Ghost is asso­ci­ated with a user by the name of Ous­sama Dridi.

Some of the YouTube videos uploaded by Dridi praise ter­ror­ist activ­i­ties in Afghanistan and describe the Tal­iban fight­ers as heroes. Fur­ther­more, the Face­book page includes images prais­ing “Elec­tronic Jihad” and a record of some pre­vi­ous oper­a­tions such as the hack­ing of credit card infor­ma­tion of Israeli citizens.

Other groups who have been active in tar­get­ing Jew­ish insti­tu­tions and indi­vid­u­als include, Moroc­can Ghosts, Gaza Hack­ers, Team Sys­tem Dz , Moroc­can Islamic Union-Mail, and oth­ers mostly based in North Africa.

It is worth not­ing that the Moroc­can Islamic Union-Mail posted a state­ment today warn­ing of an upcom­ing attack on Israeli web­sites in response to what the group described as clos­ing the Aqsa mosque by Zionists.

The com­ment posted by Moroc­can Islamic Union-Mail reads, “Oh nation of the bil­lion [Mus­lims], your blessed Aqsa mosque, and the place of your noble prophet’s ascen­dance is closed by the orders of the Zion­ists…. [there is] a com­ing attack by the group to the Israeli websites.”

ADL doc­u­mented a num­ber of attacks since 2012 against Jew­ish insti­tu­tional web­sites. Ear­lier this month, ADL issued an alert to warn U.S. syn­a­gogues against this uptick in the num­ber of online attacks.

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September 22, 2014 0

ISIS-Related Arrest In Rochester Underscores Online Radicalization

mufid-elfgeeh-isis-rochester

Mufid Elfgeeh

The online activ­ity of Mufid Elfgeeh, whose arrest for attempt­ing to pro­vide mate­r­ial sup­port for ter­ror, attempt­ing to kill U.S. sol­diers, and pos­ses­sion of firearms and silencers was made pub­lic this week by the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice, under­scores the cen­tral­ity of the Inter­net in the rad­i­cal­iza­tion and recruit­ment process.

Elfgeeh uti­lized mul­ti­ple online plat­forms includ­ing Twit­ter, Face­book, YouTube and the android appli­ca­tion What­sApp to try to raise money for for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and to recruit three other indi­vid­u­als to join for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions. His online activ­ity also inspired him to devise a plot to kill Shi’a Mus­lims and for­mer Amer­i­can ser­vice­men at home.

Social media enabled Elfgeeh to not only learn about the activ­i­ties of for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions through videos, tweets and other online pro­pa­ganda, but to also con­nect with appar­ent sup­port­ers of those orga­ni­za­tions, in par­tic­u­lar the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Elfgeeh sought dona­tions for ter­ror­ists in Syria through Twit­ter. Among his alleged tweets were requests that peo­ple donate a third of their salary or at least “#Five_thousand_dollars_from_every_household” to sup­port mil­i­tants in Syria. He also tweeted and retweeted state­ments of sup­port for var­i­ous ter­ror groups includ­ing, “al-Qa’ida said it loud and clear: we are fight­ing the Amer­i­can inva­sion and their hege­mony over the earth and the people.”

On Face­book, Elfgeeh was a mem­ber of at least two Arabic-language Face­book groups in which group mem­bers reg­u­larly post and share al Qaeda and ISIS pro­pa­ganda. His own Face­book pho­tos included sev­eral images from Al Bat­tar media, an offi­cial ISIS pro­pa­ganda wing.

Elfgeeh also allegedly used Face­book to com­mu­ni­cate with indi­vid­u­als he believed were mem­bers of ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and with the indi­vid­u­als he was recruit­ing about plans to travel abroad to join ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions.

In his recruit­ing, he ini­tially sug­gested Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula (AQAP) and Al Shabaab as pos­si­ble des­ti­na­tions, and later focused on ISIS. Notably, AQAP, Al Shabaab and ISIS are all ter­ror­ist groups that have become highly adept at dis­trib­ut­ing exten­sive English-language pro­pa­ganda.

On April 22 2014, he allegedly posted a mes­sage on Face­book attempt­ing to gain con­nec­tions in ISIS, stat­ing, “Who­ever knows a brother from ISIS who is able to com­mu­ni­cate well in Eng­lish, can com­mu­ni­cate with me through the pri­vate, due to the impor­tance.” He also com­mu­ni­cated directly on Face­book with an indi­vid­ual he was recruit­ing to join ISIS (the indi­vid­ual was in fact an informant).

Elfgeeh was allegedly devel­op­ing a plot to com­mit mul­ti­ple mur­ders in the U.S. as well, appar­ently inspired by acts of ter­ror­ism around the world includ­ing Al Shabaab’s attack of the West­gate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya and, in par­tic­u­lar, by Mohammed Merah’s shoot­ings in France.

His inspi­ra­tion for this plot appar­ently came from watch­ing videos on YouTube. He allegedly explained that he had learned about Merah’s actions because, “[i]t’s in YouTube.” He also allegedly had watched a video that pro­vided jus­ti­fi­ca­tion and instruc­tions for his plot: The video, he stated, “tell[s] you what to do …it’s YouTube…they call them here…’individual wolf’ (an appar­ent ref­er­ence to lone wolf attacks).”

Elfgeeh is a 30-year-old nat­u­ral­ized Amer­i­can cit­i­zen. Orig­i­nally from Yemen, he resided in Rochester, NY prior to his arrest where he owned and oper­ated a store called Halal Mojo and Food­mart. He was arrested on May 31, 2014 and pleaded not guilty on Sep­tem­ber 18.

Elfgeeh is the sec­ond Amer­i­can arrested in 2014 for recruit­ing oth­ers to join for­eign ter­ror orga­ni­za­tions, fol­low­ing Rahatul Ashikim Khan of Round Rock, Texas, who was arrested in June.

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