Freedom of incitement
Extreme right-wing elements are disseminating racist attacks on leading Internet sites, calling for the extermination of leftists and Ashkenazim. Together with a promise to continue on Hitler?s path, there is a photograph of President Shimon Peres captioned ?Murderer!?
"May we be privileged to finish what Hitler started, to exterminate all the Ashkenazim wherever they may be, the offspring of the Jews who betrayed Germany ... Because the Ashkenazim were the humiliators, the Ashkenazim took control of the country ... We will eradicate them, we will continue Hitler's path and thus sanctify the Name. Death to the treacherous abominated Ashkenazim." (From a document by "Steven Malik," which is being disseminated on Israeli Internet sites)
In the past few months, Jewish organizations have been wrestling with the question of whether it is right to put pressure on Google to remove links to anti-Semitic Web sites that are operating from various places around the world. The quotation above is not from one of those sites. It is part of a long, detailed racist document that has been disseminated on Israeli Internet sites in the past few months. Thus, concurrent with the controversy over Google and global anti-Semitism, an Israeli forum calling for the annihilation of Ashkenazim is being conducted without interference. On Israeli sites, it turns out, it is easier to disseminate racist doctrines attacking Arabs, leftists and Ashkenazim.
One of the extreme examples of the anti-Ashkenazi doctrine takes the form of a clip that was uploaded to the YouTube video sharing Web site. It originates with the same anonymous figure who is active on the Israeli sites. "You are about to view a handful of leftist Ashkenazim that Hitler and Eichmann didn't manage to burn," the clip declares. "Before we start, please remember: 90 percent of the moderate left are Ashkenazim!! 100 percent of the extreme left are Ashkenazim!!" This is followed immediately by a photograph of President Shimon Peres with the caption: "The Murderer!" (See photos.) Subsequently there are photographs of Benjamin Netanyahu, Yossi Beilin, Yariv Oppenheimer (the secretary-general of Peace Now), Ehud Barak, Yuli Tamir, Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni, followed by the caption, "Now, after you have seen these abominated Ashkenazim, how inferior the Ashkenazi race is, and what a pity it is that Hitler and Eichmann did not finish off the Ashkenazim, I ask that you search on Google for information about Steven Malik, that is where the 'document' will be waiting for you."
Another Holocaust, amen
The freedom of expression that was taken from the extreme right following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin appears to have been restored to them under the anonymity of the Internet. And they are not operating in a vacuum. The "Steven Malik Forum," which shelters under the Israeli portal 2all.co.il (in Hebrew, as are the other portals mentioned here), has been visited by thousands of surfers in the past few months. At the same time, Malik's anti-Ashkenazi incitement is also being disseminated on various forums of the Tapuz portal, the goop.co.il portal and on YouTube. Excerpts and links to the document also appear on other Israeli sites, such as fresh.co.il.
In the past year, the Malik forum on 2all has published hundreds of announcements that were left by surfers who signed with various user names. One of them asserts that "our enemy is the Ashkenazim," another that the time has come "to burn the Arabs and the Ashkenazim." In another message, "Shriri86" (Muscular 86) writes, "How to explain the 'rare fact' that all of Europe chose to annihilate the Jews of Ashkenaz? If this is not the fruit of the Holy One, then where did it come from? This kind of mass destruction of Ashkenazim is a spectacle that only the Holy One is capable of implementing. It is simply a spectacular and rare sight, you will agree. I congratulate the Holy One for the spectacular drama of exterminating 6 and a half million abominated cockroaches!!!! This is the proof that there is Holiness in the heavens!!!! May another Holocaust arrive for these Ashkenazim, amen, amen."
The forum is updated every few days. One of the latest messages is about the death of the journalist Yisrael Segal. "Blessed be God, at long last the Ashkenazi journalist and writer Yisrael Segal has passed away! How delighted I was yesterday when I heard about it," writes "Avi Hatehol" (Avi the Spleen) and continues, "Yisrael Segal the bastard denies the existence of God (Shema Yisrael, shocking), and God already was revealed to him in the past, but he still spoke against the Holy One Who resides in the heavens, and yesterday he died of a stroke. There is a God!"
The mysterious Malik
Who is Steven Malik? An attempt to discover his true identity was unproductive. According to the forum that bears his name, he is a Glasgow-born Jew "who decided to investigate and monitor the very existence of the Jewish Holocaust and its motives, which led to the murder of six and a half million Jews." The brief biography adds that his anti-Ashkenazi theory brought about his frequent arrests in Britain, but that he was acquitted in all the trials against him.
According to the Haaretz investigation, the "Malik" doctrine is disseminated on the Web by an extreme right-wing activist who was connected to Baruch Marzel's "Jewish Front" party and was ousted from it. "Shriri86" and "power69" are two of his frequent user names. Under the latter name, he runs a site that supports Marzel's party and praises the work done by Rabbi Meir Kahane.
The site hazit.jer.co.il (Hebrew, with English-language links to Kahane and Jewish Defense League sites), which is administered by "shriri86," is constructed in an almost identical format and has a similar address to two other sites to which Malik supporters are referred. One of them, which is described as a Malik site in English, is "under construction," while the other, which bears the distinctly Nazi-oriented name of ssjew, is empty. All these sites, by the way, which are constructed with the aid of an Israeli site that helps build sites for free, contain a link to the Likud activists' site, "Likudnik."
Shriri86, who has placed photographs of his muscular arms on various sites, is also registered on Tapuz as one of the administrators of the closed commune of supporters of the Jewish Front. On israelbody.com he is described by one surfer as "holding views that are not only illegal but also intolerable in a Jewish state." The writer adds, "The man 'stars' in the political forums of Tapuz in messages calling for the implementation of a second Holocaust of the Ashkenazi Jews, praises the memory of the Holocaust that took place and demeans the memory of the victims. He calls himself 'shriri86' but also 'Original Shaolin' and by another name that he uses in this forum as well."
In addition to the texts on the various sites, there are also video clips containing quotations from Malik. Each clip gets dozens, even hundreds of viewers. There are a few clips on YouTube of a person with his face masked who praises Malik's activity. The same person appears on goop.co.il in a video clip that attacks a Jewish-American right-wing activist named Chaim Ben Pesach and contains a link to Malik's document. A check of flix.co.il found that a number of video clips relating to the subject had been removed from the Web.
An e-mail message to power69 asking about his connection to the dissemination of the Malik document was answered with a denial: "An outright lie. According to what did you reach that conclusion? I am warning you if you write slander against me."
Itamar Ben Gvir, who is active in Marzel's party, relates that he has heard the name Steven Malik several times in the past few months. He knows shriri86 as a young person named Ronny, who administered a forum of Front supporters that could be accessed via a link on the party's official site.
"That guy tried to join us and be one of our activists during a certain period," Ben Gvir says. "He is a very talented person. I know him mainly from the Internet. He got to us via Tapuz and started to administer some kind of forum together with others. He had ties, or wanted to have ties, with Baruch Marzel. I don't know if he is Steven Malik, but the moment we saw that he has material against Ashkenazim I asked him a tough question: You know, Baruch himself is an Ashkenazi, and so was Rabbi Kahane, so how does that come together? He started to mutter all kinds of things that I didn't exactly understand. The moment I saw that we were getting too many complaints about him we broke our ties with him and announced that the forum was shut down. We closed the forum because we were afraid he would try to take it over. Not that we had working relations or paid him money, but he was very dominant in the forum. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a provocation that someone tried to plant on us."
Marzel, too, who says he does not condemn people easily, objects to his ardent supporter: "It's very bad. There was this story about someone who simply expressed nutty views on the forum and we shut down the forum because of that. As soon as we saw that we could not control the entry of unacceptable and detestable opinions to the forum, we wanted nothing to do with him and we also dissociated ourselves from him publicly. It is very hard for me to agree with Haaretz, but I will agree with every word you say about that forum. You know that we are not types who object, dissociate ourselves and condemn, but in this case I can tell you that it is against the doctrine of Rabbi Kahane and against our doctrine. Any use of Nazism and things like that is unacceptable."
Shriri86 / power69 / Ronny - whoever he is - is not the only Jewish anti-Semite on the Web. Dozens of video clips can be found on Israeli and foreign sites of a person named Chaim Ben Pesach, whom we encountered above, and who describes himself as having been Rabbi Meir Kahane's assistant in the United States. Ben Pesach, who heads the JTF (Jewish Task Force), spent several years in prison in the United States for planting bombs in the consulate of the former Soviet Union, in the period when the USSR prohibited Jews from immigrating to Israel. Ben Pesach maintains that he is not allowed to enter Israel and that the last time he tried to immigrate to Israel he was deported back to the United States.
Ben Pesach's texts, mostly in poor Hebrew (though also in English on YouTube, for example) are riddled with expressions of hatred for Arabs and sharp anti-left pronouncements. He wants the Arabs expelled from Israel and urges the establishment of a Kahanist government. He seems to have found quite an easy way to evade the strictures of Israeli law. The file-sharing site Flix on the Tapuz portal contains dozens of video clips of his, which get tens of thousands of hits a month. Thus, within a few months Ben Pesach became a far-right curiosity, and on a site that is aimed at children and teenagers.
Jonathan Klinger, a cyberights attorney who is researching the issue of freedom of expression on the Internet, relates that until now he has not encountered anti-Semitic content in Hebrew. The character of the forums and messages, he says, raises a suspicion of incitement to violence and racism, which is not protected under freedom of expression:
"The usage agreement of the portals states that racist content is not allowed, but also notes that the user is exclusively responsible for this. In my opinion, the right way to proceed is not to remove the document, but to show that it exists, deal with it and impose punishment. In any event, the removal of the item does not annul the suspicion that a crime has been committed, because the crime has already been committed."
According to Klinger, the person who posted the offensive material can be located by identifying his IP address, which exists on the server (like identifying the source of a telephone call). "The portal can provide all the details to the police if a complaint is filed. That would make it possible to locate him easily, unless he posted the content via wireless Internet, maybe in a cafe."
After Haaretz contacted Tapuz, the portal removed various correspondence of shriri86 and blocked the commune of which he was an administrator. Tapuz states: "The site's regulations explicitly forbid offensive or illegal content from being posted on the site. Because of the vast amount of messages that are published in our different platforms, Tapuz is unable to supervise their content fully. At the same time, when the existence of offensive content is brought to our attention, we remove it, block the name of the person who wrote it, and sometimes contact the abuse department of the Internet provider so they can block the user's access to the Web under a different user name. In light of a number of requests, including that of Haaretz, we have referred the subject to the police."
Similarly, Dolev Poni, administrator of the 2all site, explains that he has no way to control the content of the tens of thousands of sites he helps establish every year. In the past, he says, he received complaints about sites that disseminated explanations about how to make weapons, and they were removed from the Web.
Doron Leibowitz, the owner of goop, stated that he will remove the content in question from the site.
No response was received from YouTube by press time.