Pandemic causes anti-Semitic “zoom bombing”


Anti-Semites have adopted new tactics to spit out hatred when the COVID-19 pandemic closes synagogues and Jewish schools and community centers. It’s a video conferencing takeover.

The Anti-Defamation League has counted 196 anti-Semites “Zoom bombing” Last year’s US attacks, including 114 attacks on Jewish institutions, According to the annual report The organization will release it on Tuesday.

Jewish civil rights groups have found that the total number of anti-Semitic cases has fallen by 4% last year after reaching. 2019 best record.. Incident reductions (from 2,107 in 2019 to 2,024 last year) included a 49% reduction in assault cases, an 18% reduction in vandalism cases, and 61 non-Jewish kindergarten-to-high school cases. Includes a% reduction.

However, totals have remained historically high in 2020 since ADL began tracking anti-Semitic cases in 1979. According to ADL, intruders interfering with video conferencing on Zoom and other platforms offset the dramatic decline in anti-Semitic cases in more traditional settings. , Provided the Associated Press with a copy of the report prior to release.

Many synagogues used video conferencing to hold prayer services, classes, and other virtual programming as the pandemic blockade ruled out large indoor rallies.

“But these platforms quickly revealed security vulnerabilities, and many individuals accessed these events and harassed attendees, perpetuating hatred and anti-Semitism,” the report said. Says.

On the morning of June 27, 2020, Rabbi Shy Cherry began posting pornographic images and anti-Semitic messages such as “Hitler should have finished his job” with several guests with suspicious usernames. He led the Sabbath service at Zoom for his congregation on the outskirts of Philadelphia. One of them posted Cherry’s home address near the synagogue of the congregation Adams Jeshrun in Elkins, Pennsylvania.

“It took less than 90 seconds to finish the meeting and choose who to put in,” he recalled. “But it was anxious. I felt like I was raped,” he said.

Authorities did not identify the suspect, and it never happened again. Congregation online services are now password protected.

ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt said white supremacists and other far-right radicals tend to adopt and adopt new technologies to spread hatred the fastest.

“Anti-Semitism is a virus. It adapts, changes, and resists efforts to fight it,” he said. “The militants who traffic it are innovative and take the opportunity because they often cannot penetrate public conversations in the usual way.”

Zoom recently updated its default settings with features that make it easier for meeting organizers to control screen sharing, remove and report rogue participants, and lock meetings. Stated. The company recommends keeping private meeting links and passwords away from social media and other public forums.

“We take the turmoil of the meeting very seriously and are working closely with law enforcement authorities if necessary,” legal counsel Lynn Harland said in a statement Monday.

March 2020, FBI said There have been reports of online hijackers interfering with video conferencing with pornography and nasty images and sending threatening messages. Greenblatt said ADL flagged Zoom security issues early in the pandemic. He added that the company responded swiftly and thoroughly to protect its users.

“This is very different from what we’ve seen from some of the social media companies over the years,” says Greenblatt.

Etz Chaim, a congregation in Marietta, Georgia, was the target of a zoom bombing attack last April, but Secretary-General Marty Gilbert said synagogue leaders opposed locking down online services with passwords.

“There were enough problems for people who understood Zoom in the first place, and we wanted to allow people to participate, whether they were members or not,” he said.

In February, several intruders disrupted service with anti-Semitic messages. According to Gilbert, police determined that a group of teenagers from Nevada and Europe were responsible, but could not identify them by name or prosecute them.

“It’s a shame that it has become the world we live in,” he said. “I wish I didn’t have someone manage all of Zoom’s meetings and services. It’s very annoying.”

New York City-based ADL has several zoom bombings Andrew Auuanheimer, The infamous hacker known as “weev”. Auernheimer is writing for The Daily Stormer, A neo-Nazi website, he aroused anger at sending swastika-decorated leaflets to internet-connected fax machines on university campuses across the United States.

“In these cases, participants reported that Auuan Heimer participated in the Zoom Call, pulling down his shirt collar and showing a swastika tattoo on his chest,” said the ADL report.

The release of the ADL report coincides with the second anniversary of Gunman’s deadly attack on the California synagogue.

Former nursing student, John T. ErnestHe remains imprisoned for murdering a woman in Chabad at the Poway Synagogue near San Diego in April 2019 and injuring three others. According to the prosecutor.

Last year, there were no such major attacks in the United States.

The ADL states that the Jews have seen “a situation at both the local and local levels” condemning the spread of the coronavirus.

“This led to hostility and anti-Semitic expressions on social media, and in some cases real-world harassment of Jews, but conspiracy theories and COVID in certain cases of violent anti-Semitism. No cases have been identified that could be directly associated with the surrounding scapegoat-19 viruses, “the report said.

ADL states that it uses information provided by victims, law enforcement agencies, and community leaders to organize annual audits of anti-Semitic cases.

The number also includes reports of anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli harassment, vandalism, or assaults characterized by anti-Semitism, according to ADL reports. But the group says it does not confuse general criticism or anti-Israeli activity against Israel with anti-Semitism.

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Kunzelman reported from College Park, Maryland.

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