Boycott-Israel Facebook Groups Attract Neo-Nazis

One of the myths about contemporary anti-Semitism is that there is a clear line dividing it from obsessive hatred of Israel; another is that it is not uncommon for today’s anti-Semites to support the Jewish state. But C.R. Rublin’s systematic study of anti-Israel Facebook groups shows a very different picture. Examining groups with such names as “Boycott Israel,” “BDS First,” and “Stand with Palestine”—with memberships ranging from 2,000 to 60,000—over the past three years, Rublin finds regular and frequent contributors who are self-identified neo-Nazis or white supremacists posting the most blatant and obscene anti-Semitic material:

The anti-Jewish incitement in these posts includes support for Nazi ideology, expressions of racial hatred, demonization of Jews (and specifically American Jews), conspiracy theories regarding Jewish plans to take control of the world and destroy Western moral values, and calls to action against Jews. . . . It is noteworthy that these posters are also generally against vaccinations, believe in various other conspiracy theories—primarily concerning 9/11 and “chemtrails”—and also deny the Holocaust. . . . [These] members of BDS and pro-Palestinian groups frequently demonize Jews, drawing on historical Christian anti-Semitic myths, Nazi-era propaganda, and more. . . .

On February 12, 2019, Rob Canery, [for instance], commented on a post in the “Boycott Israel . . . Support BDS” with regard to President Trump’s criticism of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for her remarks about AIPAC: “He bows to the hebes!” In a comment on another post on the same topic, he wrote of Trump: “Joo puppet!” In the same group, he commented on a February 4, 2019 post about the Israel’s prime minister’s spouse Sara Netanyahu: “Inferior, ugly race!” . . .

Many neo-Nazi and white-supremacist members of BDS and pro-Palestinian groups express sympathy for and affinity with Nazi Germany and Hitler. . . . They see the plight of the Palestinians at the hands of Israelis as similar to the plight of the Germans at the hands of the Jews prior to World War II. The Jews, they claim, instigated World War II and the Germans fought a defensive war against the Jews, while the Palestinians are defending themselves against Israel. [Moreover], Holocaust denial is an accepted truth among virtually all members of these groups; they frequently use the term “Holohoax.” . . .

It is common for users in pro-Palestinian groups to compare Israel and Zionist behavior with the Nazi regime and Holocaust; many times neo-Nazi and white-supremacist members offended by this comparison will come to the defense of the Nazi regime. Several of these group members claim German ancestry, and their personal pages reference this heritage and feature photos of visits to Germany. . . .

Notably, administrators of these Facebook groups have not banned the users.

Read more at MEMRI

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Facebook, neo-Nazis, Social media


Iran’s Calculations and America’s Mistake

There is little doubt that if Hizballah had participated more intensively in Saturday’s attack, Israeli air defenses would have been pushed past their limits, and far more damage would have been done. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, trying to look at things from Tehran’s perspective, see this as an important sign of caution—but caution that shouldn’t be exaggerated:

Iran is well aware of the extent and capability of Israel’s air defenses. The scale of the strike was almost certainly designed to enable at least some of the attacking munitions to penetrate those defenses and cause some degree of damage. Their inability to do so was doubtless a disappointment to Tehran, but the Iranians can probably still console themselves that the attack was frightening for the Israeli people and alarming to their government. Iran probably hopes that it was unpleasant enough to give Israeli leaders pause the next time they consider an operation like the embassy strike.

Hizballah is Iran’s ace in the hole. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles, the Lebanese militant group could overwhelm Israeli air defenses. . . . All of this reinforces the strategic assessment that Iran is not looking to escalate with Israel and is, in fact, working very hard to avoid escalation. . . . Still, Iran has crossed a Rubicon, although it may not recognize it. Iran had never struck Israel directly from its own territory before Saturday.

Byman and Pollack see here an important lesson for America:

What Saturday’s fireworks hopefully also illustrated is the danger of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East. . . . The latest round of violence shows why it is important for the United States to take the lead on pushing back on Iran and its proxies and bolstering U.S. allies.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy