Eye on Extremism: October 12, 2023

Voice Of America: Antisemitism Surges Around World As Israel, Hamas Clash

“As the conflict between Israel and Hamas rages for a fifth day, many Jews around the world face a familiar threat: a surge in antisemitism. From New York to London, St. Louis to Sydney, Jewish communities are grappling with hate and bigotry that often flare up whenever the Middle East erupts. "It's just a sad fact that whenever conflict arises between Israel and the Palestinians, Jews in all parts of the world will suffer some level of hate violence," said Heidi Beirich, co-founder of Global Project Against Hate and Extremism. Israel plunged into a bloody nightmare Saturday when Hamas militants unleashed a surprise onslaught, killing at least 1,000 Israelis, wounding more than 2,000, and taking some 150 as hostages. Brian Levin, a prominent extremism researcher and professor emeritus at California State University, San Bernardino, said the carnage amounted to "the worst single-day slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust." U.S. President Joe Biden condemned the attack as "an act of sheer evil." Israel's retaliatory airstrikes against targets in Gaza have been equally deadly, killing at least 1,100 Palestinians and leaving more than 5,000 others wounded, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.”

The New York Times: ‘I Just Hope That They Are Alive’: How Hamas Abducted 150 Israelis

“Gaya Kalderon last heard from half her family at 8:26 a.m. on Saturday morning. “They are here,” her sister, Sahar, 16, wrote in a text message. “Who is?” Gaya, 21, replied. “We’re hiding from them,” Sahar said. “We left the house.” “Where are you?” Gaya said. “Where are you going?” There was no reply. It wasn’t until Sunday that a terrified Ms. Kalderon saw any sign of her missing relatives, on social media. A video appeared of an Israeli child being shoved down a path by Palestinian militants. “I am looking on Instagram and I see a video,” Ms. Kalderon recalled. “And it’s my brother.” Erez, 12, and four other members of the Kalderon family are feared to be among an estimated 150 Israelis, many of them civilians, taken hostage by Palestinian militants during the broadest invasion of Israeli territory in 50 years. About 900 other Israelis were killed, according to a government statement. The hostages were seized from homes in towns along Israel’s border with Gaza — including the Kalderons’ small village of Kibbutz Nir Oz — as well as from military bases and an enormous outdoor dance party. They include civilians, soldiers, people with disabilities, children, grandparents and even a 9-month-old baby. The hostages are also believed to include at least one Palestinian resident of Israel, a bus driver who spent the night near the outdoor party after driving Israelis there, his family said.”

United States

Politico: U.S. Officials: Iran Might See ‘An Opportunity’ To Attack American Forces Amid Middle East Instability

“The Pentagon is concerned about the potential for new attacks on American troops stationed in the Middle East from Iran and its proxy forces as the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants escalates in an already tumultuous region, according to Defense Department officials. DOD officials are specifically worried that Iranian proxy groups in Iraq and Syria, or Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf, could take advantage of the instability in the region to attack American or partner forces operating in those two countries — as they have done in the past, two DOD officials said. “That presents an opportunity,” said one of the officials, who like others interviewed for this story, was granted anonymity to discuss sensitive operations matters. U.S. military forces in the Middle East are “aware of malign actors who may seek to capitalize on conflicts and instability in the region,” said Maj. Geoffrey Carmichael, the spokesperson for the American military operation to counter ISIS in Syria and Iraq. “We will not let nefarious actors pull us into engagements that detract from our mission,” Carmichael said. He did not mention Iran by name, but said: “Make no mistake, we reserve our inherent right to self-defense whenever faced with threats that place our forces in harm’s way.””

The Wall Street Journal: Biden, In Call With Netanyahu, Compares Hamas To Islamic State

“President Biden, in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, suggested that Hamas’s attacks against Israel were comparable to those carried out by Islamic State around a decade ago. The White House said in a readout of the phone call, Biden’s third with Netanyahu since the Hamas attacks Saturday, that the president described U.S. support for Israel, including ammunition, Iron Dome interceptors and an aircraft carrier group. During the call, Biden cited the need “for all countries to unequivocally condemn Hamas’s brutal atrocities, which are akin to the atrocities of ISIS from many years ago””

Rolling Stone: GOP Mayoral Candidate Says She Won’t ‘Discriminate’ Against White Supremacists

“… Last week, Hanson arrived at a candidate forum with members of the Tennessee Active Club acting as her escort. Rolling Stone reported last month on Active Clubs, which are an emerging form of open-network groups that blend martial arts and combat training with white supremacist ideology. According to a report by the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), more than 46 of these clubs have been established in the United States since 2020, one of them in Tennessee. When the group arrived in Franklin, they claimed to be there to “protect” Hanson, a current alderman for the city. Brad Lewis, who has described himself as “an actual literal Nazi” and owns a gathering place and training center for the Active Club, told News Channel 5 that Hanson was a “friend” and that they came at her request. The members of the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen (save for Hanson) released a statement last Wednesday declaring they would not “tolerate any form of hatred, intimidation, or violence directed at our residents, media representatives, or anyone else attending or participating in the democratic process.””


Bloomberg: Why Hezbollah Is A Wild Card As Israel Takes Aim At Hamas

“The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah last fought a war with Israel in 2006. Since 2013, when it turned its attention to helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad prevail against rebels, Israeli officials have warned that a day would come when Hezbollah’s fighters would again turn their focus to Israel — this time having gained significant combat experience and better weaponry. As Israel’s military faces off against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, following their bloody invasion of southern Israel on Oct. 7, Israeli leadership has a wary eye on the threat posed by Hezbollah to the north. Shiite Muslims in Lebanon formed what would become Hezbollah — “party of God” — in 1982, in reaction to Israel’s occupation of the country’s south. The movement was inspired by the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Shiite-majority Iran, and Hezbollah to some extent became a proxy force for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. (Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims each comprise about 30% of Lebanon’s population.) Iran provides Hezbollah with “most of its funding, training, weapons, and explosives, as well as political, diplomatic, monetary, and organizational aid,” according to the US State Department, which says the group also gets funding from legal and illegal sources, including “smuggling contraband goods, passport falsification, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and credit card, immigration and bank fraud.” Because it is separate from Lebanon’s military, Hezbollah can attack Israeli and US targets without provoking the reaction such a move by a state would precipitate.”

Middle East

American Greatness: Hamas Leader Calls For Global Day Of Rage On Friday: ‘This Is The Time For Jihad’

“…Mashal, according to the Counter Extremism Project, “is the former chief of Hamas’s political bureau and current leader of Hamas’s diaspora office.” In his speech, he reportedly said that the time has come “for jihad to be applied on the ground rather than just in theory.”

CBS: As Israeli Airstrikes Hammer Hamas-Ruled Gaza, Death Tolls On Both Sides Surpass 1,200

“The death toll in the Israel-Hamas war continues to climb, as Israeli forces' devastating retaliation for the Palestinian faction's brutal terror attack escalates with a sixth day of airstrikes on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. While the toll in Israel from Hamas' bloody rampage crept up, with victims still being identified in small towns along the Gaza border, images from inside the densely packed, completely blockaded Palestinian territory showed many neighborhoods completely flattened. The scale and pace of Israel's counterattack led a group of independent experts at the United Nations to warn, while condemning the "horrific" war crimes committed by Hamas, that "indiscriminate military attacks against the already exhausted Palestinian people of Gaza" amounted to "collective punishment," which the group said was "absolutely prohibited under international law and amounts to a war crime." But as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel in a clear show of support, the expectation was that the war would soon escalate with an Israeli ground offensive pushing into Gaza. Tens of thousands of Israeli forces have massed along both the Gaza border and Israel's northern frontier with Lebanon in recent days, amid fear that another front could open up in the war if the Hezbollah group — based in Lebanon but backed by Iran, just like Hamas — is drawn into the conflict.”

Associated Press: Palestinians Rush To Buy Food And Struggle Under Strikes As Israel Readies Possible Ground Operation

“Palestinians lined up outside bakeries and grocery stores in Gaza on Thursday after spending the night surrounded by the ruins of pulverized neighborhoods darkened by a near-total power outage. Israel launched new airstrikes and said it was preparing for a possible ground invasion. International aid groups warned that the death toll in Gaza could mount after Israel stopped all deliveries of food, water, fuel and electricity and the tiny enclave’s crossing with Egypt closed. The war — which was ignited by a bloody and wide-ranging assault on Israel by Hamas militants — has already claimed at least 2,500 lives on both sides. Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli military spokesman, told reporters Thursday that forces “are preparing for a ground maneuver if decided,” but that political leaders have not yet ordered one. A ground offensive in Gaza, whose 2.3 million residents are densely packed into a sliver of land only 40 kilometers (25 miles) long, would likely bring even higher casualties on both sides in brutal house-to-house fighting. As Israel pounds Gaza, Hamas fighters have fired thousands of rockets into Israel since their weekend assault. Militants in the territory are also holding an estimated 150 people taken hostage from Israel.”

The Times Of Israel: IDF Confirms Islamic State Flag Found On Terrorist Killed During Attack On Kibbutz

“The military confirms claims that soldiers found a flag of the Islamic State jihadist group on the vest of a terrorist killed during an assault on Kibbutz Sufa, near the Gaza border. The IDF publishes a picture showing troops holding the flag. Yesterday, a Telegram channel called South First Responders, which has been distributing shocking footage from scenes on kibbutzim and other areas devastated in Saturday’s attack, published images showing the Islamic State flag. Israeli officials have repeatedly linked Hamas to IS in the aftermath of the attack, though the comparison is mainly seen as an attempt to explain the enormity of the atrocities and level of depravity as Israel rallies support for its counterattack on the Gaza-based group. Actual links between Hamas and IS — which has been largely decimated and rendered irrelevant in the last several years — are harder to find. An IS affiliate in the Sinai, Ansar al-Bayt al-Maqdis, is also thought to have few connections with Hamas.”


The Washington Post: Hamas Vows To Broadcast Hostage Executions. Tech Firms Can’t Stop Them.

“ Hamas has been very well prepared for this and has created professional systems to get their message out,” said Josh Lipowsky, a senior research analyst at the Counter Extremism Project, an advocacy group in Washington that tracks online extremism.”

Reuters: EU Urges Big Tech To Tackle Terrorist Content After Hamas Attack

“The European Union has expanded that tech companies must remove illegal content from their platforms, or risk facing severe legal penalties. Following the militant Islamist group Hamas' attack on Israel and Israel's retaliatory airstrikes in Palestinian enclave Gaza, social media firms have seen a surge in misinformation related to the conflict, including doctored images and mislabelled videos, alongside images of graphic violence. On Tuesday, EU industry chief Thierry Breton told Elon Musk to curb disinformation on his messaging platform X, warning it was being used to disseminate illegal content and false information in the wake of recent violence in the Middle East. Breton issued a similar warning to Meta (META.O) CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, urging the company to ensure strict compliance with European law. In his letters to Musk and Zuckerberg, Breton said their companies had 24 hours to inform the EU how they were stopping harmful content on their platforms. Now, the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, has sought to remind all social media companies they are legally required to prevent the spread of harmful content related to Hamas. “Content circulating online that can be associated to Hamas qualifies as terrorist content, is illegal, and needs to be removed under both the DSA (Digital Services Act) and TCO (Terrorist Content Online) Regulation,” a Commission spokesperson told Reuters.”

The New York Times: False Claims Around Israel Attacks Include Recycled Videos And A Game Clip

“In the days since Hamas attacked Israel, killing more than 1,200 people in sweeping assaults on kibbutzim, a music festival, towns and other places, violent images and graphic videos have flooded social media. So too have false and misleading information, old and unrelated videos and photos with inaccurate claims, and fabricated assertions about the involvement of countries like the United States and Ukraine — adding confusion and deception to an already chaotic moment. The false information circulating online risks clouding real evidence of atrocities that is emerging as Israeli soldiers retake control of places that were attacked: videos and photos, corroborated by witness accounts, that show that Palestinian gunmen attacked and killed Israeli civilians in large numbers. Soldiers and emergency workers are still recovering the dead, including children, in many communities. Here’s a look at some of the inaccurate material circulating online. Social media users shared a clip purportedly showing footage of “a new air assault on parts of Israel.” But the imagery is in fact taken from a video game, Arma 3, as a video shared on YouTube in 2022 shows. A representative for the game’s developer, Bohemia Interactive, also confirmed the clip online was taken from the game.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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