They criticized Israel. CeaseAntisemitism’s Twitter upended their lives.


Dani Marzouca was in mattress making an attempt to sleep when the cellphone began buzzing. An group devoted to publicly rebuking critics of Israel had posted on X a clip of Marzouca declaring that “radical solidarity with Palestine means … not apologizing for Hamas.”

The 20-second clip, from an Instagram dwell stream, quickly garnered greater than 1 million views. Soon, the group, CeaseAntisemitism, was calling Marzouca a “Hamas terrorist supporter” and tagging their employer, the branding agency Terakeet of Syracuse, N.Y. Hundreds of individuals commented on X, LinkedIn and e mail, together with one who requested: “Do you really have antisemites like this working for you, @Terakeet?”

Within a day, Marzouca was fired — a improvement Terakeet introduced as a reply to CeaseAntisemitism’s Twitter thread, 15 hours after the unique put up.

“Thank you for your swift action,” CeaseAntisemitism wrote.

Terakeet didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Marzouca, 32, is one in all almost three dozen individuals who have been fired or suspended from their jobs after being featured by CeaseAntisemitism, in response to the group’s X feed, a part of a wave of digital activism associated to the Israel-Gaza struggle. Since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel responded by attacking Gaza, teams have poured assets into figuring out individuals with opposing political views, generally deploying aggressive publicity campaigns which have resulted in profound real-world penalties.

Within weeks of Oct. 7, “doxing trucks” prowled the campuses of Harvard, Columbia and Princeton, displaying the names and images of scholars and professors who had signed statements declaring solidarity with Palestinians. In January, a Rutgers Law School pupil sued the college, alleging that he had confronted discriminatory disciplinary motion after sharing what he deemed “pro-Hamas” messages from his classmates with college directors.

Six months into the struggle, the technique has unfold nicely past academia — and grow to be particularly potent amongst pro-Israel teams decided to name out any assertion they consider to be antisemitic.

Among a bevy of small social media accounts, CeaseAntisemitism has grow to be some of the outstanding — and extensively adopted. Though some teams are devoted to surfacing anti-Palestinian speech, none has CeaseAntisemitism’s attain or affect. Founded in 2018 as a “response to increasing antisemitic violence,” CeaseAntisemitism has dialed up its exercise on X because the struggle, and sometimes offers its greater than 300,000 followers with private social media profiles and employer particulars for individuals it identifies as antisemitic.

“By publicly exposing antisemites, StopAntisemitism has created an environment where those who propagate hatred against the Jewish people are met with real-world consequences including but not limited to job loss and school expulsions,” CeaseAntisemitism’s web site reads.

“StopAntisemitism gets results,” Liora Rez, the group’s govt director, boasted in a LinkedIn put up in November.

“This is just a small sampling of the bigots StopAntisemitism has gotten fired or suspended in the past week,” she wrote subsequent to images of individuals featured by the account. “Sick of the legacy orgs doing nothing with your donations? DM me!”

Rez didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Activists have lengthy used the web to publicize feedback they discover offensive, and such stress campaigns have been central to actions like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter. But the advanced politics and brutal violence of the Israel-Gaza struggle have created a very divisive second. A slew of figures have confronted penalties for making statements about Israelis, the Israeli state and the struggle, together with a New York Times Magazine author, legislation college students getting into the job market and Palestinian Israelis, who’ve been jailed in Israel for being perceived as sympathetic to Hamas.

Marzouca, who lives in Los Angeles and makes use of they/them pronouns, stated CeaseAntisemitism’s X put up triggered a stream of threats. People emailed Marzouca saying they deserved to be despatched to Gaza to die and criticizing their look, with one particular person calling them a “disgusting, manipulative rat.”

In response to questions from The Washington Post in regards to the group’s on-line exercise, Marc Greendorfer, founding father of the Zachor Legal Institute, a authorized assume tank representing CeaseAntisemitism, described the group’s exercise as “reposting.” It “[repeats] verbatim, the public statements of people making antisemitic statements and provides opinion on those statements,” he wrote in a letter.

Some outstanding Jewish advocates argue that teams like CeaseAntisemitism play an necessary position in cracking down on non secular discrimination. “If an individual is going to publish or say hateful things — against any person or group — they should be held to account for them,” Jonathan Greenblatt, chief govt of the Anti-Defamation League, instructed The Post in an announcement. He added that the ADL straight confronts such people, “calling for consequences if they do not apologize or attempt to change their ways.”

Others view this kind of sleuthing as a harmful type of on-line vigilantism. Joan Donovan, an professional in digital activism and an assistant professor at Boston University, argued that the group’s efforts are a type of doxing — the observe of posting private info on-line to encourage harassment — which in flip chills debate.

“When the mob is the judge, jury and executioner, we all end up suffering,” Donovan added.

The high-stakes struggle has discovered particularly fertile floor on social media, the place some Palestinian rights activists say they’re disproportionately named, shamed and punished.

“The intent here is not just to punish but also to have a chilling effect,” stated Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, a assume tank. “It’s to send a message to people that … if you dare speak out of line when it comes to questions related to Israel, you can and may face dramatic consequences — life-changing consequences.”

‘StopAntisemitism gets results’

The bloody Israel-Gaza struggle has intensified the long-standing debate over when and whether or not critiques of Israel are antisemitic. Since the Zionist motion started within the late 1800s, with European Jews searching for a nation-state, it has drawn heavy criticism — and birthed frequent false conspiracy theories about Jewish energy. But as critics of Israel, together with many Jewish individuals, have denounced the state for its therapy of Palestinians, some supporters have countered with a broad argument that any criticism of Israel or Zionism is inherently anti-Jewish.

“There are a lot of reasonable differences,” stated Lila Corwin Berman, a professor of Jewish historical past at Temple University. “[But] a lot of organizations [are] taking a pretty blunt-tool approach that any articulation of anti-Zionism is antisemitism.”

Greendorfer, of the Zachor Legal Institute, stated CeaseAntisemitism makes use of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, which incorporates denying Israel’s proper to exist.

CeaseAntisemitism has flagged individuals for a wide range of statements the group considers antisemitic, together with a school teacher who referred to as Israelis “pigs” and a highschool basketball coach who wore a shirt with a watermelon, a logo of solidarity with the Palestinian trigger, to a recreation. (Both apologized, and the faculty teacher is “no longer with” their office, in response to a CeaseAntisemitism put up.)

The group is ratcheting up its sleuthing skills. As of early February, CeaseAntisemitism has been searching for a senior open-source intelligence researcher who has current partnerships with legislation enforcement and is adept at monitoring social media and the darkish internet for antisemitic posts, in response to CeaseAntisemitism’s web site. (The position pays between $85,000 to $100,000, the job posting stated.)

The Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation lists CeaseAntisemitism as a “supported organization” on its web site. The philanthropy is tied to Adam Milstein, a rich actual property investor who’s the co-founder of the Israeli American Council, a outstanding Jewish advocacy group.

According to 2022 tax filings, the Merona Leadership Foundation, the place Milstein’s spouse, Gila, serves as president, paid a $125,633 wage to Rez, CeaseAntisemitism’s govt director, and offers the group about $270,000 to cowl its bills.

Greendorfer stated The Post’s characterization of CeaseAntisemitism’s funding is a “misinterpretation” however declined to elaborate additional. Nathan Miller, a consultant for the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, declined to remark. The Merona Leadership Foundation declined to remark.

Donovan, of Boston University, stated on-line efforts to punish enemies originate with activist accounts, equivalent to people who establish unethical cops. But as a flurry of right- and left-wing accounts used the tactic to publicize and disgrace individuals with out public energy, the technique turned diffuse, wielded to demonize everybody from supporters of transgender rights to Jan. 6 insurrectionists.

These accounts have grow to be so widespread that it’s troublesome for social media corporations to control them, Donovan stated. When the billionaire Elon Musk took over Twitter, now named X, the platform’s makes an attempt to rein in posts triggering harassment dropped considerably, she added. Representatives from X didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Greendorfer says that as a result of CeaseAntisemitism doesn’t put up “private information,” its strategies don’t quantity to doxing.

Posting figuring out details about nonpublic figures might be dangerous, in response to Nina Jankowicz, an professional on disinformation and on-line abuse.

“When we’re thinking about … using social media to blow the whistle or to hold powerful people to account, that’s very different than [doing it] because you disagree with them or because they’ve expressed an opinion that you find repugnant,” she stated.

Celine Khalife, a 25-year-old therapist, says CeaseAntisemitism shut down her profession simply because it was getting began. A video posted by CeaseAntisemitism exhibits the Palestinian American tearing down a poster of Israeli hostages. She stated Israel kidnapped its personal residents, a false conspiracy concept.

Khalife, who fled Lebanon after Israel bombed Beirut in 2006, instructed The Post that she was flustered and misspoke within the video. She stated she eliminated the poster as a result of it contained the phrase “Hamas terrorists” — propaganda, she argues, meant to attenuate the Palestinian battle.

CeaseAntisemitism linked to Khalife’s remedy clinic bio and posted her Psychology Today profile, warning that “patients must be made aware of her intrinsic bias and hateful act.”

Dozens messaged her office insisting she be fired instantly; different notes poured into her cellphone and private e mail. “What’s going on with your nutjob therapist, Celine Khalife?” one message considered by The Post stated.

Four days after the video surfaced, the clinic fired Khalife, in response to an inside message considered by The Post. On Facebook, the corporate introduced it was conscious of the “viral incident” and stated it does “not condone violence or intolerance in any form, nor do we condone misinformation.” (Khalife’s former employer, the Grace Therapy and Wellness Center, didn’t reply to a request for remark.)

Khalife stated it was “crippling” to take care of the harassment, job loss and harm to her skilled popularity. She was unsure she may even pay her roommate $1,100 in hire.

“I felt like I couldn’t go lower,” she stated. “And then I did.”

Razzan Nakhlawi contributed to this report.

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