On the Controversial Website Parler, There Was No Shortage of Anti-Semitism

Yesterday, the social-media platform Parler—which has become popular among various segments of the hard right—sued Amazon for denying it access to its web-hosting services, effectively driving it off the Internet. Amazon took this action on Sunday, expressing concern that the platform had been used to incite last week’s riot at the Capitol. In November, the Simon Wiesenthal Center produced a report on anti-Semitic content found on the website:

Parler is a social-media platform launched in August 2018, . . . described by Forbes as a “barebones Twitter.” It provides users with personalized profiles, a basic news feed, and the option to follow other users. The timeline is chronological and supposedly does not use algorithms to curate the feed’s content. . . . The primary reason users are registering with Parler appears to be because of its promise to be a space for free speech, safe from ideological and political censorship. Parler states it “does not mine or sell user data, and does not censor content based on politics or ideology.” . . . Parler’s main user base appears to be politically conservative, with many supporting President Trump and the Republican party.

To date, Parler has allowed users to express anti-Semitic beliefs and conspiracies. These users frequently allege that Jewish people are responsible for many of the ills facing the world, including mass immigration, COVID-19, child trafficking, and civil unrest. These allegations are updated manifestations of old anti-Semitic conspiracies which have accused that a secret Jewish cabal controls the world for political and financial gain. Many posts feature stereotypical caricatures intended to mock and demonize Jewish people. Some indicate Jewish control or Jewish individuals by using the three parentheses (((“echo”))) to highlight particular words or names. Other posts are even more explicitly anti-Semitic, contending Jews worship at the “Synagogue of Satan” or dehumanizing Jews as parasites.

There are also multiple accounts promoting Holocaust denial on Parler. Some use Parler to share posts with their own content about the Holocaust, while others link to external sites and repositories to disseminate Holocaust-denial material. Many use the hashtag #holohoax which groups the content together. Posts promote various Holocaust-denial conspiracies, arguing that the gas chambers were a hoax and that six million Jews did not die. Some posit that the Jews invented the idea of a Holocaust for political and financial gain—a favorite [canard] of the Holocaust denying Iranian regime of Ayatollah Khamenei.

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Read more at Simon Wiesenthal Center

More about: Anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, Social media

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy