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April 23, 2020 11:38 am

Neo-Nazi and Pro-Palestinian Messages Mix Freely in ‘Zoom Bombings’ of Online Jewish Events, Says German Expert

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avatar by Ben Cohen

A video conference in Germany disrupted by antisemitic agitators. Photo: Screenshot.

The leading organization monitoring antisemitism in Germany has pointed out the “overlap of Nazi-glorifying and anti-Israel content” in a spate of disruptions of Jewish events held online during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal Association for Research and Information on Antisemitism (RIAS) said it had recorded six instances of “zoom bombing” — uninvited intruders breaking into a private online video conference — since the pandemic erupted, the organization’s education officer, Pia Lamberty, told the Jüdische Allgemeine news outlet on Thursday.

“There are targeted calls from far-right circles in the United States to disrupt webinars with Jews,” Lamberty said.

In one instance, anti-Zionist activists attempted to wreck an online Yom HaShoah event held by the Israeli Embassy in Berlin on Monday. A talk by Holocaust survivor Zvi Herschel was briefly interrupted by participants posting pictures of Hitler alongside antisemitic slogans.

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Lamberty said that the disruption of Holocaust remembrance events was not a new phenomenon.

“People who disrupted offline commemorative events before the coronavirus crisis are now doing it online,” she observed.

Lamberty emphasized that pro-Palestinian messages were being mixed freely with antisemitic content.

“We are seeing an overlap of Nazi-glorifying and anti-Israeli content,” she said.

In one video conference disruption, she noted, a Nazi swastika was on display alongside a banner reading “Free Palestine.”

Lamberty said that social-distancing regulations in Germany had left victims of online antisemitism feeling even more isolated, unable to receive the in-person support of friends and family.

RIAS is urging anyone targeted by antisemitism to report the incident on its Facebook page.

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