Anti-Semites adopted a new strategy of sowing hatred when the COVID-19 epidemic closed synagogues, Jewish schools and community centers. Upcoming video conferences.
The Anti-Defamation League last year counted 196 cases of anti-Semitic “Increasing Bombing” attacks in the United States, including 114 against Jewish institutions, according to an annual report released by the organization on Tuesday.
The Jewish Civil Rights Group found that the total number of anti-Semitic cases fell by 4% last year after reaching a record high in 2019. The decrease in cases from 2,107 in 2019 to 2,024 last year included a 49% decrease in attacks, an 18% decrease in vandalism and a 61% decrease in incidents in non-Jewish K-12 schools.
But overall, it remained historically high in 2020, the third highest since the ADL began tracking anti-Semitism in 1979. Intruders disrupting video conferencing on Zoom և other systems compensate for the sharp decline in anti-Semitism in more traditional settings, according to the ADL. , which provided the Associated Press with a copy of the report prior to its publication.
Many synagogues used videoconferencing for prayer services, classes, and other virtual programs, as epidemic blocking orders precluded large gatherings inside.
“But these platforms quickly identified security vulnerabilities, with many individuals taking on the task of perpetuating hatred and anti-Semitism,” the report said.
On the morning of June 27, 2020, Rabbi Shay Cherry was in charge of the Shabbat service at his Zoom meeting in a Philadelphia suburb when several guests with suspicious uses began posting pornographic images and anti-Semitic messages such as “Hitler had to finish the job.” : One: One of them was the address of Cherry’s house near the synagogue of Adat esh Eshurun in Elkins, Pennsylvania.
“It did not take us more than 90 seconds to just end the match and then be more selective about who we let in,” he recalled. “It simply came to our notice then. “Did we think we were trampled?”
Authorities have not identified any suspects, and this has not been repeated. The meeting online services are now password protected.
ADL Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Greenblatt said that white supremacists, other far-right extremists, are usually in the early stages of adopting new hate speech technologies.
“Anti-Semitism is a virus. “It adapts, it mutates, it resists efforts to fight it,” he said. “Traffic extremists who go there are innovative, they will take advantage of opportunities because they often cannot penetrate society in typical ways.”
Zoom says that the default settings have been updated recently, features have been added to make it easier for hosts to monitor screen sharing, remove abusive participants, report, and lock meetings. The company recommends keeping personal meeting links և passwords from social media or other public forums.
“We take disruptions of meetings very seriously and, if necessary, work closely with law enforcement,” said Lynn Haland, the company’s lawyer, on Monday.
In March 2020, the FBI announced that it was receiving reports that online hackers were interrupting videoconferencing with threatening pornographic images. Greenblatt said the ADL singled out the issue of security for enlargement at the beginning of the epidemic. The company responded quickly and thoroughly to protect users, he added.
“It’s very different from what we’ve seen from some long-standing social media companies,” Greenblatt said.
In April last year, the Etz Chaim Congregation in Marietta, Mar iet, was the target of a “magnification” bombing, but CEO Marty Gilbert said synagogue leaders had decided not to password-lock its online services.
“In the beginning, we had a lot of problems with the people who found out about ‘Zoom.’ “And we wanted people to be able to join, whether they were members or not,” he said.
In February, several intruders disrupted the service with anti-Semitic messages. According to Gil Ilbert, the police decided that a group of teenagers from Nevada and Europe were responsible but could not be identified or charged.
“It’s unfortunate that it has become the world we live in,” he said. “I wish we did not have to have someone manage all our enlargement meetings or services. That’s very upsetting. “
The New York-based ADL attributes several bombings to Andrew Aurnheimer, a well-known hacker known as “weev.” Auernheimer wrote in The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, that he was outraged by the fact that swastika-leaflets were being sent to Internet-connected fax machines at US college universities.
“During these incidents, participants reported that Ornheimer had joined Zoom’s calls to ‘pull down’ the collar of his shirt to find a swastika tattoo on his chest,” the ADL report said.
The release of the ADL report coincides with the second anniversary of the deadly attack by a gunman in a California synagogue.
Former nursing student John on T. Ernest continues to be jailed on charges of killing a woman and injuring three others in a synagogue in the city of Poitiers near San Diego in April 2019. Ernest told dispatcher 911 that he had shot at the synagogue on the last day. According to prosecutors, the Passover was to save whites from the Jews.
There were no such mass attacks in the United States last year.
The ADL says it saw “situations at both the regional and local levels” in which Jews were accused of spreading the coronavirus.
“This has led to the expression of hostility, ‘anti-Semitism’ on social media, and in some cases, harassment of real Jews, but we have not found cases where we can directly link specific cases of anti-Semitism to conspiracy theories or throwing a ransom around COVID. “19 viruses,” the report said.
The ADL says it conducts its annual anti-Semitic audit using information provided by victims, law enforcement and community leaders.
The ADL report states that its calculation also includes reports of anti-Zionist, anti-Israeli harassment, vandalism or attacks, which are characterized by anti-Jewish animals. But the group says that does not combine general criticism of Israel or anti-Israel activism with anti-Semitism.
Kunzelman reported from Carridge Park, Maryland.