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November 25, 2014

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

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

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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