Category Archives: Domestic Terrorism

Extremists: France’s Many Burning Churches

France Church Burnings

The fire that burned Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral horrified the world, but many other deliberate blazes and acts of vandalism targeting French churches go unnoticed, says Nina Shea at The National Catholic Register.

“In February, Notre Dame of Dijon was vandalized, with hosts scattered about,” she notes. “At Notre Dame Church in Nimes, a cross was recently drawn on the wall using excrement and consecrated Communion hosts. Notre Dame of France Catholic bookstore was vandalized last September.”

Indeed, according to the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, such attacks in France have been relentless for the past four years.” Who’s behind this trend? “A variety of extremists enraged by the identities and teachings that the churches symbolize — Christianity, French nationalism and Western civilization at large.”

Are You a Left-wing Racist?

Left-wing Racism

There’s nothing new about anti-Semitism, observes The Federalist’s David Harsanyi.

But “the only truly modern component” found in left-wing, right-wing and Islamic anti-Semitism alike is Israel: “Anti-Israel sentiment is already the predominant justification for violence, murder and hatred against Jews in the Middle East and Europe.

Now it’s coming here.” Indeed, “the only anti-Semitism still widely used in public discourse is the kind masquerading as anti-Zionism.” Fact is, “when outlets like The New York Times spend decades normalizing the idea that Zionism is tantamount to fascism and apartheid, it’s just a matter of time” before some editor can’t differentiate between a “supposedly ‘anti-Israel’ cartoon and a demonstrably anti-Jewish one.”

Nothing aggravates anti-Semites more “than the idea of Jews protecting themselves after 1,800 years of being at their mercy.”

PETA Wants Return Of Measles and Polio

PETA Terrorism

As John Fund at National Review reports, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is demanding a $15 billion cut in the budget of the National Institutes of Health, claiming the money is spent on animal experiments “that fail to produce cures or treatments for humans.”

Says Fund: How soon we forget our history. Time was when twice as many children died from measles as from polio. But a vaccine was developed in 1963, thanks to animal research; within three decades, “measles was an afterthought.” Same for smallpox and polio. The same research has also produced vaccines and treatments “of direct benefit to animals.”

Humane treatment of animals “must not become tangled up with extremist ideologies that would lead to more suffering than the pain they are trying to prevent.”

Anglican & Catholics: Persecuted Christians and Their Passive PC Leaders

Murder of Christians

After the Easter slaughter in Sri Lanka, why did bishops fail to stand up for their flock?

Last week, I wrote about the West’s unerring capacity for self-immolation. Forgive me for returning to the subject, but last weekend’s massacre in Sri Lanka has underscored how self-destructive our elites can be.

When 250 people were killed by suicide bombers, many of them as they attended Easter Sunday services, it was a harrowing reminder of the intensifying persecution of Christians around the world. The slaughter followed similar assaults in Nigeria, Egypt, Syria, Indonesia and a dozen other countries in the past year alone. According to a recent Pew Research study, Christians are the most widely harassed faithful on Earth. They were attacked for their religion in 144 countries in 2016, more than Muslims, Jews or any other group.

So you would think that the latest horror might induce the official Christian leadership to speak out in defense of their people. John Sentamu, the archbishop of York—the second-highest-ranking cleric in the Anglican communion—had an opportunity. Interviewed on the BBC on Monday, he was asked if this was now a moment to plant a flag for Christians who find themselves under siege.

The archbishop whiffed. “Violence of any sort, to any community, any group, is totally unacceptable. The flag I want to fly is a flag of peace,” he said. Along with the Catholic cardinal of Colombo, he wanted to “ask Christians to refrain from taking any retributory steps against their Muslim brothers.”

One of the most prominent pastors in the world, faced with the scattering of his flock by a pack of murderous wolves, manages to avoid blaming the perpetrators for the carnage and actually worries aloud that the problem might actually be the Christians. Quite a feat after 300 or so of your coreligionists have been blown to bits by supporters of a fanatical religious ideology. Jesus wept, as the Bible tells us.

Why does this keep happening? To be fair, part of the explanation is that this is the very essence of the Christian message: Turn the other cheek. Find the beam in our own eye before pointing to the mote in others. As a creed for individual living, it is imperfectible. But for an entire community under attack, it’s a recipe for self-extinction.

Christian leaders in the West are afraid to upset the politically correct crowd who control the media.

According to another Anglican bishop, Philip Mountstephen of Truro, who is leading a church inquiry into the rising persecution of Christians, the reason for the widespread reluctance among leaders—religious and secular—to take the continuing war against Christians seriously is a lingering sense of historical responsibility. “There is a lot of postcolonial guilt around a residual sense that the Christian faith is an expression of white Western privilege,” he told the Times of London.

This would be absurd even if the people who were being murdered in their hundreds each year were indeed wealthy white Christians in stately homes and colonial mansions. Yet, as the bishop went on to point out, the vast majority of Christians suffering today aren’t white wealthy Westerners. Most are from the relatively poor global South: Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America. To their already unsupportable lot of grinding poverty, they must add the risk of being assaulted by governments, religious vigilantes, gangs and others.

To compound their plight, it seems many Christian leaders in the West are so afraid to upset the politically correct crowd who control the media and cultural establishment that they won’t even speak out. These clerics often find it more congenial to weigh in forcefully on other issues of pressing concern, where they know they’re in no danger of losing invitations for TV interviews and fancy premieres.

I would respectfully suggest to the bishops of the Anglican persuasion—and quite a few of their Catholic brethren too—that however serious and acute you might think the threat of climate change or workplace discrimination, the larger and more immediate threat to Christians in many parts of the world is that they might not get through their next church service without someone dispatching them to eternity to shouts of “Allahu akbar.”

Addressing the rising threat of persecution will require concerted and complex action, policies enacted by governments to isolate and pursue the murderers and those who abet them, and direct support of threatened communities. None of that will be easy. But surely it must start with a willingness by church leaders to call the threat what it is.

By Gerard Baker

The truth about the ‘global white extremist threat’

No Jews

Last week, The New York Times featured an illustrated timeline of “white extremist” killings over the last nine years. According to the Times, the record shows “an informal global network of white extremists whose violent attacks are occurring with greater frequency in the West.”

The idea that white supremacist violence is a growing global threat has gained more currency recently, notably in the wake of the ghastly Christchurch mosque massacre. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for instance, asserted that “White supremacists committed the largest # of extremist killings in 2017.”

No one will deny that people who kill in the name of white supremacy commit evil, but is it true that white extremists are sowing a growing amount of worldwide mayhem? The evidence suggests otherwise.

Even a superficial glance at the record indicates that of the nearly 20,000 people killed in thousands of extremist killings in 2017, white supremacists were responsible for very few.

The worst terrorist event of 2017, according to the State Department, was the explosion of a truck bomb in Somalia, which killed more than 580 people. This act is believed to have been the work of Al-Shabaab, which was responsible for 97 percent of the 370 instances of extremist killings in Somalia in 2017, accounting for about 1,400 deaths.

The deadliest extremist attack in Egypt’s history took place in 2017, when ISIS-Sinai terrorists converged on a mosque and slaughtered 312 people when they came outside.

White nationalists committed none of the above violent acts, and that’s nothing remarkable: Almost all the world’s extremist violence is concentrated in a handful of regions, where very few white people live. In areas where whites do live (America, Canada, Europe and Australia/New Zealand), white nationalists do indeed perpetrate a significant proportion of the relatively uncommon acts of extremist violence.

Again, this is unsurprising, because whites make up the overwhelming majority of the population there.

The New York Times timeline of “white extremist” murders covers nine years and 15 incidents, bookended by the heinous and indisputably racist attacks in Norway (in 2011) and Christchurch. Some of the most prominent killings among the remaining 13 incidents, though, resist categorization as acts of white racial terror.

Ali Sonboly, the son of Iranian Shiite Muslim immigrants and visibly a racial minority, carried out the 2016 Munich mall shooting. The 2016 Umpqua Community College shooting was carried out by a self-identified “mixed-race” man, as was the 2014 Isla Vista massacre, whose perpetrator believed that being half-Chinese made him unattractive to women.

The 2018 Toronto van massacre was perpetrated by a white man who declared that he was part of an “Incel Rebellion” against the “Chads and Stacys” of the world — in other words, he was angry that he could not get a girlfriend and was committed to overthrowing the “beautiful people.” The Times’ inclusion of these four incidents calls into question the value of its diagnosis of “white extremist killers.”

When Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that white supremacists were responsible for the most extremist killings of 2017, she was obviously wrong (if she meant worldwide, which is unclear from her tweet). There were at least 8,500 such incidents worldwide that year, and white supremacists accounted for perhaps 15 or 20 of them, depending how you count.

Perhaps Ocasio-Cortez was thinking of the US and relying on an Anti-Defamation League report, “Murder and Extremism in the United States in 2017.” According to the ADL, 34 people were killed as a result of extremist violence that year in the United States, eight of them by Sayfullo Saipov on Halloween in lower Manhattan. Another victim was Heather Heyer, who was run over by James Fields during the Charlottesville protests.

Heyer’s killing can legitimately be labeled an act of white-nationalist violence, as Fields was an open admirer of Hitler and the Confederacy. But the other murders that the ADL counts as “extremist-related” are fuzzy, even by the ADL’s standards.

For instance, Frank Ancona, a Klan member from Missouri, was killed in a domestic dispute by his wife, also a Klan member.

The Wall Street Journal, citing the US Extremist Crime Database, reports that the frequency of violent hate crime in the United States has been about the same for 50 years.

White supremacy is insane and immoral, and it may be a significant threat. But it doesn’t account for anywhere near the preponderance of global extremist violence, though one might get a different impression from recent coverage.

Seth Barron is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, from which this column is adapted.

Are Far-Right Extremist Crimes Rising? No

Truth Hate Crimes in the U.S.

Recently, President Trump said he doesn’t believe white nationalism is a growing problem—and at home in the U.S., he’s right.

The problem isn’t growing. It’s never subsided.

“There has been a steady rate of far-right extreme crimes since at least 1970, when we started collecting data,” said Michael Jensen, a senior researcher at START, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland.  “What has changed is the emphasis on reporting far-right extremism. It produces the perception that there is a new increase. It’s not true.”

Strictly speaking, far-right terrorism has gone up, Dr. Jensen said—eight fatal attacks occurred in 2014 and seven in 2017 after decades of no more than three a year—but the broader class of extremist crimes, which includes terrorism, hate crimes and mixed motive crimes, has not.

START’s Global Terrorism Database, used to produce the State Department’s annual terrorism report for Congress, documents 180,000 attacks world-wide from 1970 forward.

Because it includes only premeditated attacks committed with the explicit purpose of promoting an ideology, its numbers are smaller than some other data sets.

One of the most sweeping is the U.S. Extremist Crime Database, a collection of violent and financial crimes committed by political extremists in the U.S. from 1990 forward—and it’s the persistence of far-right ideology this data reflects that alarms experts.

“The most striking thing is the resilience of the threat,” said Joshua D. Freilich, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and co-director of the Extremist Crime Database. “It’s consistent in terms of the level of activity.”

Since 1990, far-right extremists have killed 477 people in 214 attacks in the U.S., according to the crime data. A majority of the assaults targeted minorities, with 241 people dying in 170 attacks. (In the same period, the Global Terrorism Database records 31 far-right attacks with one or more deaths.)History of Violence Fatal events in the U.S., by attacker typeSource: Joshua D. Freilich, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

“We haven’t seen a year since 1990 with no far-right homicides,” said Jeff Gruenewald, a professor at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis who studies domestic terrorism and extremism.

U.S. crimes by Islamist extremists have tended to be deadlier than far-right crimes, but they have also been more sporadic. Since 1990, Islamist extremists have conducted 50 assaults killing 3,148 people, a figure that includes 2,997 9/11 victims.

Homicides by far-left extremists, whose attacks peaked in the 1970s, are now uncommon.

The crime database, which is funded by the Department of Homeland Security, assembles records from legal documents, news accounts, watchdog groups and other publicly available sources. To be included, the crimes must have been committed for ideological reasons.

The database defines far-right extremists as fiercely nationalistic; anti-global; suspicious of federal authority; reverent of individual liberties, especially the right to own guns and be free of taxes; believing in conspiracy theories; and, in some cases, antagonistic toward specific racial or religious groups. The mainstream conservative movement and the mainstream Christian right are not included.

Islamist extremists are defined as rejecting the traditional Muslim respect for Christians and Jews; believing Islamic law should be forcibly implemented; believing the U.S. supports the humiliation of Islam; holding all Americans responsible for government actions; and endorsing violence against those they deem corrupt.

Based on these definitions, the crime database includes the 2015 San Bernardino, Calif., shooting, where a married couple killed 14 county employees at a holiday gathering after one spouse pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State terrorist group on Facebook.

It also includes the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that occurred when an antigovernment militant detonated a truck packed with explosives outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people.

But it excludes the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, where a gunman killed 58 people at an outdoor music festival, because there was no clear evidence that ideology motivated the killer.

The Global Terrorism Database treats each of these events the same way. But it leaves out unpremeditated hate crimes such as the 1998 murder of James Byrd Jr., a black man who was chained behind a truck and dragged for 2 miles by three white supremacists.

A third data set, Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States, or PIRUS, examines extremists in an effort to deduce when, and how, they were radicalized.

The data, which is also assembled by START, includes 2,148 violent and nonviolent individuals who committed ideologically motivated crimes in the U.S. or who associated with domestic or foreign extremist organizations from 1948 through 2017.

Far-right extremists are the largest ideological group in the database, accounting for 43% of the entries. Islamists account for 23%.

PIRUS shows radicalization occurring in waves. The latest wave of far-right radicalization began in the 1980s and continues today.

“It’s not a brand new thing,” Dr. Jensen said. “It’s certainly a very real national security concern right now, but it’s something we’ve dealt with for quite some time.”

By Jo Craven McGinty

JetBlue apologizes after cop-killer featured in Black History Month tribute

JetBlue was forced to apologize Thursday after honoring convicted cop-killer Assata Shakur – mother of Tupac Shakur – as part of Black History Month at a John F. Kennedy International terminal in New York.

The airline removed the poster after an image of the Shakur tribute appeared on social media.

$79.98 Featuring a wonderful, wandering floral print on a refreshing pastel background, this dress feels both festive and romantic. It has an embroidered mesh yoke pan…

“The intention was always to unite our crewmembers and customers around the importance of Black History Month and we apologize for any offense the poster may have caused,” a JetBlue spokesman said in a statement, according to FOX 29 Philadelphia.

The image of Shakur, also known as Joanne Chesimard, was in the exhibit for 21 days before one flier noticed.

View image on Twitter

Jen Muzio@Jennymz76Jenny

@JetBlue Rumor has it that you are celebrating Black History month at LGA by celebrating Assata Shakur? She is a convicted cop killer. Please tell me this is not true.697:55 PM – Feb 23, 201996 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

“Became the first woman to be placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list after escaping to Cuba from prison where she was serving a life sentence for the 1973 murder of a police officer,” one of the bullet points read.

The tweet posted by Jen Muzio originally said the poster was at LaGuardia Airport, but she later clarified the poster was seen at JFK.

Shakur, a former member of the Black Liberation Army, was convicted of murder for a 1973 shooting that led to the death of a New Jersey State Trooper. She escaped from prison in 1979 and is believed to be living in Cuba.

By Ryan Gaydos

Antifa Activist facing assault charges on U.S. Marines is tied to DNC

Antifa leader Joseph Alcoff

What a difference a year made for Joseph Alcoff.

On Monday, the 37-year-old has a court date in connection with charges he’s facing in Philadelphia that include aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation for allegedly being part of an Antifa mob in November that attacked two Marines, Alejandro Godinez and Luis Torres, both Hispanic. Alcoff and two others charged in the attack have pleaded not guilty.

But while Democratic officials are distancing themselves from Alcoff now, until recently he was a well-connected, aspiring political player in Washington who may have even had a hand in key policy proposals.

His endorsement apparently mattered when several congressional Democrats in February 2018 issued press releases with his quote backing their bill on regulating payday lenders.

As the payday campaign manager for the liberal group Americans for Financial Reform, Alcoff participated in congressional Democratic press conferences, was a guest on a House Democratic podcast and met with senior officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from 2016 through 2018.

He was also pictured with now-House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Both committees oversee financial regulatory policies Alcoff was advocating.

Alcoff met with then CFPB Director Richard Cordray and other senior CFPB officials on April 2016, again in March 2017 and a third time in May 2017, as first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.

During this time, he reportedly was an Antifa leader in Washington. Alcoff’s former employer had little to say about the matter.

“As of December, Mr. Alcoff no longer works for AFR,” Carter Dougherty, spokesman for Americans for Financial Reform, told Fox News in an email.

Dougherty didn’t answer whether Alcoff had been fired or resigned. He also didn’t answer whether the organization was aware of Alcoff’s associations during his employment.

Alcoff was reportedly also an organizer for Smash Racism DC, the group responsible for gathering and shouting threats outside the home of Fox News host Tucker Carlson in November and for heckling Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife Heidi at a Washington restaurant in September. Reports have not said Alcoff was directly involved in either incident; only that he was associated with the group.

Democrats are hardly eager to be associated with Alcoff now. Most spokespersons for Democratic members of Congress did not respond to inquiries from Fox News, or distanced themselves from Alcoff.

In one appearance, Alcoff dressed up as “Lenny the Loan Shark” at an event last Marchheld outside the CFPB headquarters, which featured Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va.

“The congressman has never interacted with him nor has he taken any financial policy advice from him. Their names have appeared on the same piece of paper,” Beyer spokesman Aaron Fritschner told Fox News. “He appeared at the same press conference, but they didn’t speak to each other. This person was literally wearing a shark outfit.”

In the February 2018 press statement, House and Senate Democrats co-sponsoring the Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Electronic (SAFE) Lending Act, which boosted regulation on payday lenders, issued versions of a press release, most including the Alcoff quote.

“The Consumer Bureau and Congress have in the past understood the way that payday lenders structure loans to catch Americans in a cycle of debt with exorbitant interest rates,” Alcoff said in the press releases. “It is unfortunate that some in Washington would rather open the loan shark gates than continue to think about sensible borrower protections. The SAFE Lending Act would put Washington back on track to stop the debt trap.”

In August, Alcoff was a guest on the House Democrats’ Joint Economic Committee podcast, criticizing the decline of the CFPB under the Trump administration.

“It’s been an incredible kind of erosion [Trump administration actions] recently, but these are really, really important basic functions [CFPB’s mission] that people across the country should be able to look to Washington and expect,” Alcoff said on the podcast.

In connection with the subsequent attack in Philadelphia, the two Hispanic Marines said the Antifa mob of about 10 or 12 attackers shouted racial slurs during the beating. Only three from the mob were identified and arrested. The attack happened at the same time as a right-wing rally in Philadelphia, which Antifa showed up to protest. The Marines who were assaulted said they were not even aware of the rally.

“On one side, you have the Proud Boys, a racist group of Nazi thugs. On the other side, you have anti-racist activists,” Alcoff’s lawyer Michael Coard told Philadelphia Magazine. “Unfortunately, in the mix, there were two Marines who were caught up in the whole thing as innocent bystanders.”

Coard, an African American activist in Philadelphia, also told the magazine regarding the alleged slurs, “The question that I have for the D.A.’s office and the police is this: Does anybody think that I, Michael Coard, would represent a racist? … I would never represent a racist. In fact, if I believed that he was a racist, I would prosecute him myself.”

By Fred Lucas

 

Democracy at Stake: Understanding The Seriousness of the Venezuela Crisis

U.S. vs. Venezuela

Global battle lines in Venezuela

IN one of his most decisive foreign-policy moments, President Trump recognized Juan Guaidó, the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as the country’s interim leader. Free countries from the Western Hemisphere, Europe and beyond, including some adamant Trump critics, joined the US in support of Guaidó and against Nicolás Maduro’s crumbling socialist dictatorship.

Dictators’ club: China, Cuba, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah are lining up behind the socialist thug Nicolás Maduro. The US is leading the global pushback.
Yet China, Russia, Iran and others jumped to Maduro’s defense. Cuba — the country that installed Maduro in power in 2013, as Hugo Chavez was dying in Havana — has overseen the vicious crackdowns against impressive pro-democracy rallies.

Since Wednesday, more than 800 anti-Maduro demonstrators have been thrown into Cuba-modeled dungeons.

So the lines are drawn. As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the UN Security Council Saturday, every country must now pick sides: “Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem.”

But how does America help the forces of freedom win? It’s about money. And, true, the global antidemocratic club has been bolstering Maduro for a long time, while we’re fairly new to the game. Even so, Washington has the advantage.

China, for one, has offered Venezuela some $65 billion in loans. But Caracas hasn’t made much progress toward repayment, and so Beijing isn’t likely to invest further for now. Sure, China’s communist rulers express public support for Maduro, but cautious Beijing will await the outcome of the current uncertainty. PS: China isn’t looking for additional anti-US fronts.

Russia might go further. According to Reuters, Moscow is already sending paramilitary troops and contractors to Caracas. The Kremlin uses such mercenaries where it wants to be involved militarily while keeping plausible deniability, as it has in Syria and Ukraine. But while Venezuela may be yet another site to confront America, the Kremlin doesn’t see it as Russia’s hill to die on.

Cuba is most deeply involved. Throughout the Cold War, the Soviet Union financed the Castro regime in exchange for sugar cane. Needing a new sugar daddy after the Soviet collapse, Castro found Chavez. Venezuela supplied all of Cuba’s energy needs, while Havana guaranteed the regime’s survival.

It is the Cubans who train and reinforce Maduro’s notorious intelligence apparatus. Like in Cuba, the top Venezuelan army brass is getting rich through high positions in the country’s oil and other enterprises. Venezuelan generals, like their counterparts in Havana, get to profit from illicit drug and arms deals.

Such clandestine deals are aided by the Iranian regime and its Lebanese-Shiite proxy, Hezbollah. Relations between Caracas and the Mideast’s Iranian-led Shiite axis go back to the early days of Chavez’s rule.

Today the No. 3 official in the Maduro regime’s hierarchy, the Lebanese-born Tareck El Aissami, is “a bagman for Hezbollah,” says Vanessa Neumann, president of the consultancy group Asymmetrica and a leading researcher of Mideast terrorist activities in Latin America.

Hezbollah, along with the Maduro regime, funds much of its operations with the narcotics and arms trades. And that, says the Venezuela-born Neumann, could help the opposition she strongly supports. “With friends like these,” she says, “it makes it easier for us.” The opposition is making the case for the West to place Caracas on the list of terrorist-sponsoring states, leading to automatically imposed sanctions.

The American response has now gone beyond sanctions. On Thursday, soon after Guaidó was sworn in, Pompeo pledged $20 million to help him and the Assembly. That’s small change, but it’s a start.

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced $7 billion in sanctions, including on government-owned oil giant PdVSA. While Venezuelan assets in the US, including oil giant Citgo, will continue to operate, profits will no longer go to Maduro’s cronies. They will be deposited instead in “blocked accounts” designed to benefit the people through the US-recognized Guaidó leadership.

Combined with similar measures by America’s global allies, the latest US move can help turn the tide in Caracas.

Democracy “never needs to be imposed. It is tyranny that needs to be imposed,” Elliott Abrams, Trump’s new point man on Venezuela, said at the UN Saturday. But while Maduro’s allies impose, America can unite the free world in isolating him economically — and win one for democracy.

by BENNY AVNI

Amnesty International criticised for not including antisemitism in landmark abuse report

 

Amnesty International antisemitism

The study analysed millions of tweets but human rights campaigners claimed they lacked the data to explore Jew-hate

Amnesty International has been criticised for not including antisemitic abuse of Jewish women in the largest ever study of abuse of female politicians and journalists on Twitter.

The study analysed millions of tweets received by 778 journalists and politicians from the UK and US who were selected by researchers concluded that black women were “disproportionately targeted” by “abusive or problematic tweets.”

But the human rights campaigners insisted they “didn’t have enough data” to explore antisemitic, misogynistic abuse of MPs like Luciana Berger, Ruth Smeeth, despite the fact the issue is so pressing it prompted a parliamentary conference on addressing it three weeks ago.

Claudia Mendoza, the Jewish Leadership Council’s director of policy and public affairs, condemned the abuse against MPs like Diane Abbott but said: “Amnesty International may wish to look further into the antisemitic abuse aimed at prominent Jewish women including MPs so prevalent on Twitter.

“This is even more important considering that such abuse has occurred from within their own organisation.”

This refers to how, in 2012, Amnesty campaigns manager Kristyan Benedict tweeted an antisemitic joke about three Jewish MPs.

Mark Gardner, the Community Security Trust’s director of communications, referred to a previous Amnesty report into Twitter abuse against women – published in September 2017.

He told the JC: “This is the second time in just over a year that Amnesty has released reports on misogyny, racism and social media that utterly ignores antisemitism, despite the widely documented Jew-hatred that so many female Labour MPs have suffered in recent years.

“It typifies the way in which antisemitism is ignored by Amnesty and many other groups, from whom we still instinctively – but very wrongly – expect solidarity.”

Publishing the results of their Troll Patrol project on Tuesday, Amnesty produced a diagram illustrating the ethnic background of those receiving abuse did differentiate between women of Black, Latinx, Asian, Mixed race and White background.

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said their survey backs up “what women have long been saying – that Twitter is endemic with racism, misogyny and homophobia.”

Danny Stone, chief executive of the Antisemitism Policy Trust (APT), criticised the failure to include analysis of antisemitic abuse.

Three weeks ago, research commissioned by the Community Security Trust and the APT showed Jewish women in parliament face a disproportionate amount of antisemitic abuse online.

Mr Stone told the JC on Tuesday: “This (Amnesty) report makes for shocking reading, it is appalling the extent of the abuse women experience online.

“Last month, we helped organise the Sara Conference, to shine a light on the growing and frightening overlap of misogyny and antisemitism, particularly online. That conference marked the beginning of a conversation which, judging by the omission of Jewish women from this report, is evidently very much required.”

One MP, who asked not to be named, said it was “beyond comprehension” why Amnesty had not identified abuse directly aimed at Jewish women in their study.

“Study after study in recent years has highlighted the issue of antisemitic abuse directed at Jewish women,” the MP added. “It is beyond comprehension why Amnesty were unable to look at this problem themselves.”

Amnesty said its findings were the result of a collaboration between Amnesty International and Element AI, an artificial intelligence software product company.

They surveyed millions of tweets received by 778 journalists and politicians from the UK and US throughout 2017  across the political spectrum.

Using cutting-edge data science and machine learning techniques, they said they were able to provide a quantitative analysis of unprecedented scale of online abuse against women in the UK and USA.

An Amnesty spokesperson told the JC: “Despite our best efforts, we didn’t have enough data about the Jewish background of the women in our sample – this was publicly available for women MPs in the UK but not for the journalists in our study.

“It was a level of analysis we were keen to make, together with disaggregation of abuse by women’s sexual orientation but that meta-data is much harder to research.

“That is why we are reinforcing our calls to Twitter to release meaningful data on how it responds to reports of abuse, in particular abusive tweets that direct hate against a protected category.”

Amnesty’s study found black women were 84 per cent more likely than white women to be subjected to abusive tweets. One in 10 posts mentioning black women contained “abusive or problematic” language.

Ms Abbott, the shadow home secretary, urged Twitter to take action over “highly offensive racist and misogynist” abuse on the platform.

Milena Marin, senior advisor for tactical research at Amnesty said: “Although abuse is targeted at women across the political spectrum, women of colour were much more likely to be impacted, and black women are disproportionately targeted.

“Twitter’s failure to crack down on this problem means it is contributing to the silencing of already marginalized voices.”

by Lee Harpin