2008: The Year in Anti-Semitism
Posted: May 14, 2009
2008 saw the continued maturation of user-generated online content and forums (generally described as "Web 2.0"), where private individuals can interact with one another, form groups and online communities, and share multimedia content. In all such sites anti-Semitism is present, manifesting itself in both "casual" bigotry of a religious or cultural nature, as well as the more problematic ideological anti-Semitism exhibited by white supremacists, anti-Israel activists and others.
These extreme anti-Semites not only attempt to carve out portions of these social networking sites for themselves, but often attempt to use them as propaganda vehicles to advance their views or influence and recruit others, especially younger people.
Social networking sites also serve as a large mixing bowl where anti-Semites from a variety of backgrounds and locations can meet, share opinion, and encourage one another.
As disturbing as the presence of so many anti-Semites on social networking sites may be, equally troubling is the extent to which anti-Semites of different backgrounds and stripes are exposed to each other's ideas.
It is not at all uncommon, for example, to see anti-Semites of Arab or Muslim backgrounds linked to those with right-wing ideologies or left-wing ideologies.
Anti-Semites may post essays or information derived from a variety of very different anti-Semitic sources, or read and appreciate the same from others. "We receive nothing but propaganda from Zionist media," wrote one conspiracy theorist from Oregon to a Palestinian activist. "Your integrity and humanity shine the light of truth into the dark heart of Zionist occupied Amerika."
"It is an honor to have [you] as a friend," a Palestinian-American with the screen name of "Palestine Forever" told "Goyim Pride" in October 2008. "Almost all Muslims now [sic] the truth, especially Muslims in the Middle East…our Quran tells us about the Jews or as they call themselves (Zionists)…" Such "friendship" is not uncommon. "Ace" is an openly white supremacist Myspacer from California whose anti-Semitic profile includes the tag line "Jews can kiss my ass" and whose heroes include Jesus, Hitler, and "all men who stood up against Jews."
Yet among the 100 "friends" on his profile are many Palestinian-American activists as well as a number of left-wing conspiracy theorists. Whatever their ideological background or national origin, what they share is a hostility toward Jews.