Twitter Harassment Tops 'Sobering' Anti-Semitic Manifestations in 2016

A man exposes a swastika tattoo during a demonstration in Bolton, England, on Nov. 26, 2016. (Rex Features via AP Images)

Compiling the 10 most “stark and sobering” manifestations of anti-Semitism in 2016, the Anti-Defamation League highlighted death threats directed at Jewish reporters covering the campaign season as one of the worst examples in a year that “saw the volume of anti-Semitic cyberhate elevated to unprecedented levels.”

An ADL study released in October uncovered 2.6 million anti-Semitic tweets reaching 10 billion Twitter users spanning the earlier part of the campaign from August 2015 to July 2016.

At least 800 journalists were the target of those anti-Semitic tweets, with the 10 most targeted journalists, all Jewish, receiving 83 percent of the tweets directed at media.

After Julia Ioffe wrote a profile of Melania Trump for the May issue of GQ magazine, the barrage of tweets she received included one calling her “filthy Russian kike” and others sent the journalist photos of concentration camps with captions such as “Back to the Ovens!”

New York Times editor Jonathan Weisman has “received images of ovens, of himself wearing Nazi ‘Juden’ stars, and of Auschwitz’s infamous entry gates, the path painted over with the Trump logo, and the iron letters refashioned to read ‘Machen Amerika Great.’”

Ben Shapiro has been called a “Christ-Killer” and a “kike,” among other anti-Semitic tweets. Commentary editors John Podhoretz and Noah Rothman were also cited as receiving a flood of tweets from anti-Semites.

Bethany Mandel told ADL that she has received anti-Semitic tweets before, but the volume and apparent coordination stands out in this year’s attacks. “One user tweeted about her for 19 hours straight, and she received messages containing incendiary language about her family, and images with her face superimposed on photos of Nazi concentration camps,” stated the report.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said today that 2016 emphasized “hatred of Jews is not history, it is a current event.”

“The reality of the threat to Jewish communities around the world and to the State of Israel was reinforced time and again by rhetoric, incidents and violent assaults,” Greenblatt said.

Second on the ADL list was “a disturbing trend of anti-Semitic and other bias attacks took place in communities across the country following the 2016 presidential race,” such as a storefront at Broad and Wharton Streets in Philadelphia on the 78th anniversary of the Kristallnacht spray-painted with a swastika, “Sieg Heil 2016,” and the word “Trump” with a swastika in place of the T. The ADL said religious facilities, homes and college campuses have been frequent targets of swastika graffiti.

Third on the list: the (((triple parentheses))) used by anti-Semites to tag Jews on social media platforms. There was even a browser extension enabling the “echo” campaign until complaints drove Google to remove it.

No. 4 on the list was the rise of the anti-Semitic “alt-right” as “extremists and their online supporters, including those associated with the alt right, were emboldened by the notion that their anti-Semitic and racist views were becoming part of mainstream society.”

Fifth on the list: violent anti-Semitic attacks in Latin America and Europe, including a Jewish businessman stabbed to death in Uruguay whose killer told police he “killed a Jew following Allah’s order.” Sixth was anti-Semitism in higher education, including anti-Semitic fliers traced back to a white supremacist hacker coming out of network printers at various college campuses.

“While the majority of Jewish students feel comfortable and unthreatened across the country, the issue of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias on campus remained a very real concern in 2016,” the ADL said.

Next on the list were anti-Semitic incitement from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, continued anti-Semitism from Iran including another Holocaust cartoon contest, anti-Semitic narratives from terrorist groups, and “a continuing pattern of demonization of Jews and conspiratorial accusations about a Jewish responsibility behind the violence and carnage in many parts of the Arab world” across Arab media.