Holocaust memorial event ‘Zoom bombed’ with Hitler images

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An online Holocaust memorial event held by the Israeli Embassy in Germany was temporarily suspended Monday after it was “Zoom bombed” with anti-Semitic slogans and photos of Adolf Hitler. 

The “Zoom bombers” interrupted Holocaust survivor Zvi Herschel’s speech in the Zoom meeting the day before Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel by posting photos of Hitler and yelling anti-Semitic slogans.

Jeremy Issacharoff, Israel’s ambassador to Germany, posted about the incident on Twitter, saying “To dishonour the memory of the #Holocaust and the dignity of the survivor is beyond shame and disgrace and shows the blatant antisemitic nature of the activists.”

The meeting continued after “a short break” without the activists “in an appropriate and respectful way,” Issacharoff tweeted. 

Access to the meeting had been widely publicized to reach a larger audience, Haaretz reported. The activists also reportedly showed pornographic images and shouted pro-Palestinian slogans.

Issacharoff told Haaretz the event was suspended quickly and reconvened with each person having to be identified by name. 

The incident led embassy staff to see that access to Israel’s Memorial Day community commemoration would need to limit entry by password and not be publicized.

Issacharoff told Haaretz the incident made him feel sadder than usual on the memorial day. 

“As I listened to the siren in Israel on the radio this morning, I felt profoundly saddened that after so many years — 75 years after the Holocaust — someone here could desecrate the memory of the Shoah and disrupt a survivor’s testimony,” he said. 

“Zoom bombing” has become more common in the coronavirus age, with an Indiana election commission meeting being interrupted with pornography last week. Other Jewish events on Zoom have also been disrupted with anti-Semitic content.

The FBI has issued guidance on how to increase cybersecurity in Zoom as these incidents have occurred.

A Zoom spokesperson told The Hill in a statement the company has been “deeply upset to hear about these types of incidents.” They said Zoom has taken steps such as making meeting IDs less visible and adding a security icon to allow hosts to “quickly access” features to be able to remove participants or lock meetings. 

“Zoom strongly condemns such behavior and recently updated several features to help our users more easily protect their meetings,” the spokesperson said.

“We encourage users to report any incidents of this kind either to Zoom so we can take appropriate action or directly to law enforcement authorities,” they added. 

—Updated at 2:17 p.m.

Tags anti-semitism Coronavirus COVID-19 Germany Holocaust Holocaust survivor Israel Zoom

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