If you are an antisemite, if you tear down posters of Israeli hostages held in Gaza, if you praise murderers and terrorists on social media or if you attack Jews, either verbally or physically – there will be consequences. We will release your name to the public, we will inform your employer of your actions and we will make clear to all that there are consequences to you being an antisemite.
That is the strategy of the American advocacy group StopAntisemitism that has been most active since the October 7 atrocities committed by Hamas and in the face of the growing wave of antisemitism around the world as well as in the U.S.
CEO Liora Rez told Ynet that the term "shaming" is popular on social platforms and she prefers to call what she does, "exposing" antisemites and making it clear to them and all other haters that in the real world, their actions have consequences.
"Since October 7 antisemitism, both online and in the real world in the U.S. has just skyrocketed to terrifying levels. We're receiving upwards of 500 incidents of antisemitism. Every single day. We're at the point where we have a backlog, I think almost a week and a half. We just simply can't keep up and when we look at what's happening on the college campuses. You know, outside of the college campus world it's it's terrifying at best. When students are being attacked it's almost like, you know, Germany 1939. It's it's crazy," she said.
"Colleges weren't friendly. But at this point, there was just outward violence against Jewish kids, against Jewish students. And if we look at Cornell University, where somebody was actually arrested for threatening to kill Jews, and they had to shut down the kosher dining hall and then at Cooper Union University in New York City students were barricaded for around 40 min, while pro-Palestinian rally goers were trying to break into the library, and police had to usher them back out of the building from an exit door. I mean, this is again like 1939 Germany. It's absolutely insane. They don't make a difference between Israelis and Jewish people.
StopAntisemitism was founded in 2018. And according to Rez has one goal and that is to create consequences for those who espouse hatred and violence against Jewish people.
"They act like there's no consequences," Rezsays. " And that's where we come in and we we're not trying to stifle their first American speech. If you want to spew hatred and act in a hateful way, you have that right. However, we have that equal right to showcase it to millions of people on social media and make your employers aware and make your community aware and make your and make society aware as a whole that you are an antisemitic bigot.
But these people don't have any problem shouting things against Jews or Israel. They don't have any problem to take down posters of kidnapped "So they become very apologetic. Once they see their faces splashed to millions, and they create these ridiculous excuses of oh, I was trying to help the situation. We had some dentist and his attorney claim that he was trying to defuse the situation by kid by removing posters of kidnapped Israeli babies. It's the most ridiculous excuse. We've identified 2 sisters in New York City. They ended up on the cover of the New York Post. and this is going to follow them for the rest of their lives."
Do you think this really helps to prevent more people from doing these kinds of things? "I can't know for sure but we're doing our part and creating consequences. And again, that's our one goal is to create consequences for their antisemitic behavior that once somebody googles their name, this digital footprint will always follow them and whether it's a future employer or whether it's somebody they're dating. Everyone Googles, everyone. This is always going to follow them, and they're going be viewed as antisemitic bigots as they should.
In the past month, the organization exposed dozens of antisemites in social media posts, including doctors, nurses and employees of large companies. In some cases, people were fired after the posts or summoned to explain their actions. In a case earlier this week, the organization saw a member of the New York Public Defenders Office, tearing down a poster of hostages. After she was identified in a post, she resigned and is no longer part of the city's public service."
Can you take me inside the process? we receive again, hundreds of submissions every single day. We've had a 1,500% increase in submissions since before October 7. Not only videos. We get, photos, things like that and then we go through a vetting process to Geo. Tag the location, make sure of accuracy. Make sure nothing is edited. We then research employers. We research the individual. So no, we don't just get a submission and put it online in 2 seconds. Sometimes the vetting process takes a few hours. There are a few things that we don't post, just because again we want to make sure we're 100 accurate. We're not in the business of ruining innocent people's lives. If we can't physically identify them ourselves. We then crowdsource to our massive social media audience to assist."
Do you get any financial support from Israeli organizations? For from the Israeli government? "No, we're 100 privately funded. We tried to cooperate, but not, financially speaking, just corporation information with a lot of organizations globally."
Ras has a lot to say about the pro-Palestinian marches that she says are hypocritical and are a cover for a hatred of Jews.
"If they cared about Arab kids. Where were the Marches when Syrian children were being gassed to death? They're the biggest hypocrites. The Arab League is vilifying Israel, asking why aren't you letting refugees in. You want Israel to take in Hamas who butchered their own people? It's the biggest level of hypocrisy," she says.
"But then you have these radical students on college campuses that are non-Jewish, that are partaking an antisemitic activity that are being essentially brainwashed with this phone masking as social justice. They don't care until they're publicly outed to millions of people, and then there's tangible consequences."
One of the more well-known incidents was when 30 Harvard students led a strongly worded petition against Israel but tried hard to prevent their names from coming out publicly. Despite their efforts, their names were made public and many companies said they would not hire them when they graduated from university.
"It was fantastic," Rez says. "No ethical legal organization should hire Hamas fanboys. They should be held liable for their for their actions. Absolutely. If you were paying $1,200 an hour for an attorney, would you want a Hamas cheerleader representing you? I wouldn't."
What do you think about the chant 'from the river to the sea?' "That it's absolutely antisemitic. And the problem is that the majority of people, probably upwards of 90% of people don't understand what they're chanting. They don't understand that it is from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. It's calling for the full erasure of the Jewish State. so you have to look case by case. Are they holding a Hamas flag while they're chanting it? Yeah, absolutely. We're going to be featuring them. So, that one is a, it's a grey zone."
First published: 07:44, 11.12.23