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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 Nadler (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 Wyden (D-Ore.), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Rep. David Cicilline (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.

Tags 2020 elections anti-semitism Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer David Cicilline George Soros Jamie Raskin Jerrold Nadler Jerry Nadler Ron Wyden Steve Cohen Twitter
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