Turning on her phone after a trans-Atlantic flight, Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt found that several friends had alerted her to a Twitter account purportedly belonging to a David Goldberg and filled with anti-Israel propaganda. As a profile picture, the account’s owner had used a photograph of Chizhik-Goldschmidt’s husband—a Jerusalem-born rabbi. This case of photographic identity theft appears to be part of a larger pattern, possibly organized on the online forum 4chan, which attracts neo-Nazis, pornographers, and cybercriminals:
“We must create a massive movement of fake Jewish profiles on Facebook, Twitter, etc.,” an anonymous [4chan] user posted. “Since Jews shapeshift into whites anytime they want, we can do the same to them.” A slew of profiles began to appear on social media, most posing as Orthodox Jews promoting anti-Semitic and anti-Israel content. In other words, these [accounts] with fringe views were created with the express purpose of stoking ferocious fighting within the Jewish community by highlighting its most sensitive topics: Israel, Donald Trump, and anti-Zionist Jews.
The 4chan user behind the movement made this entirely clear: the intention, he wrote, was to “subvert Jews themselves.” His goal was to “create infighting as righty Jews will accuse lefty Jews of being fake profiles. This creates more division.” The post advised readers how best to stir the pot: “You also have the benefit of labeling anyone an anti-Semite who disagrees with you. Use this to your advantage.”
Those who seek to exploit this tension seek to turn the American Jewish community against itself. They threaten to damage, permanently, the communal consensus that fostered the emerging state of Israel in 1948, as Jews worldwide rallied for the right to a homeland in the wake of the Holocaust. . . . It is on us not to give them the pleasure.