(March 30, 2020 / JNS) With the coronavirus pandemic pushing meetings to go virtual, anti-Semites have taken the opportunity to disrupt them on the video conferencing platform Zoom, according to a report on Sunday from the Anti-Defamation League.
The ADL cited one March 24 incident where a webinar about anti-Semitism hosted by a Massachusetts Jewish student group was interrupted by a white supremacist who pulled down his shirt collar to show a swastika tattoo on his chest.
The ADL believes the perpetrator to be white supremacist and hacker Andrew Alan Escher Auernheimer, also known as “weev,” who has a history of expressing anti-Semitic and other bigoted views.
People such as Auernheimer have been interrupting and promoting their hatred online. It’s known as “Zoombombing,” according to the ADL, which cited online sessions at Arizona State University and the University of Southern California, in addition to a children’s storytelling session in New Jersey.
Additionally, a March 22 virtual Torah lesson was disrupted by multiple people sharing anti-Semitic images and words.
“While some of these reported ‘Zoombombing’ incidents can be attributed to Internet trolls without particularly malicious intentions, there is concern that extremists could exploit the increasing reliance on video conferencing technology to target certain groups or advance their hateful messages,” according to the ADL.
It added that while “there has been limited online chatter among extremists about the specific strategy of abusing video conferencing technology, Auernheimer’s recent actions in Massachusetts demonstrate the potential for extremists to exploit these systems.”
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