Jewish lawmakers targeted by anti-Semitic tweets ahead of election: ADL
© Bonnie Cash

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says it has found a “deluge” of anti-Semitic tweets containing offensive tropes and misinformation targeting Jewish lawmakers, according to a new study.

The organization analyzed all tweets during a monthlong period that were directed at 30 incumbent Jewish members of the House and Senate who are up for reelection in November. The ADL found that a “snapshot” taken between July 23 and August 22 included nearly 6,000 tweets “identified as potentially antisemitic.” 

The group labeled 10 percent of the tweets “problematic” for “containing antisemitic content.” Within the category, the social media posts included conspiracy theories linked to billionaire philanthropist George Soros, “explicit antisemitic language,” tropes related to Jewish “power and control” as well as tweets “questioning the loyalty and faith of Jewish incumbents."


“Social media platforms are breeding grounds for hate and antisemitism at a frightening scale, and as very public and sometimes polarizing figures, Jewish members of Congress often experience the worst of this on Twitter,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a Tuesday statement.

“Just looking at a snapshot, we found a growing use of QAnon conspiracy theories and other hateful tropes against Jewish members during this important election year," he continued. 

The study, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, found that the tweets related to Soros, a Holocaust survivor, push conspiracy theories that he is funding careers for Jewish lawmakers, as well as media outlets, the Black Lives Matter movement and more.

The ADL’s first-ever report on Twitter content found that Rep. Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse passes sweeping reform bill to decriminalize marijuana This week: Congress races to wrap work for the year Top Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon MORE (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) were targeted with the highest number of “problematic” tweets. Other Jewish lawmakers who were targeted include Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Government used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 | Defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal, includes White House cyber czar position | Officials warn hackers are targeting vaccine supply chain Government used Patriot Act to gather website visitor logs in 2019 Despite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill MORE (D-Ore.), Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats debate fate of Trump probes if Biden wins Congress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act COVID-19 and the problem of presidential succession MORE (D-Md.), Rep. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenDe Blasio mum on whether he'll block sale of Mets to controversial investor Two ethics groups call on House to begin impeachment inquiry against Barr Jewish lawmakers targeted by anti-Semitic tweets ahead of election: ADL MORE (D-Tenn.) and Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - Tensions rise with Trump, Barr Maloney to lead Democrats' campaign arm Hillicon Valley: GOP chairman says defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal | Senate panel advances FCC nominee | Krebs says threats to election officials 'undermining democracy' MORE (D-R.I.), among others.

The organization said 15 percent of the tweets identified included tropes related to a slate of conspiracy theories that Jewish people “control key political, financial, and media systems and exploit them for their advantage to the detriment of others.”

The study also found that Twitter had not removed some anti-Semitic tweets that violate the platform’s policies. 

A spokesperson for the social media site told The Hill that anti-Semitic content "has no place on Twitter and is prohibited under our rules on hateful conduct."

“We’re encouraged that this report reflects that we’re taking action and stepping up our work to protect the public conversation, but we know we’ve more to do. We will remain vigilant and welcome feedback," the spokesperson added.

--Updated at 12:33 p.m.