A significant spike in anti-Semitic and anti-Israel tweets in the past year is due in large part to the social media activities of Donald Trump supporters, reported a task force from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) this week.
Emphasizing that the report does not suggest the offensive tweets are encouraged by the presidential nominee or his campaign, the ADL study said that nevertheless, a group of 1,600 Twitter users behind two-thirds of the anti-Semitic tweets are white nationalist Trump supporters, according to their biographical information on Twitter, JTA reported.
Between the months of August 2015 and July 2016, as Trump’s candidacy became more viable and the presidential race ramped up, 2.6 million anti-Semitic tweets were sent, with an estimated reach of 10 billion impressions, or potential views.
These tweets “contributed to reinforcing and normalizing anti-Semitic language – particularly racial slurs and anti-Israel statements — on a massive scale,” said the ADL task force report.
Anti-Semitic campaigns against journalists who were critical of Trump gained alarming and sometimes terrifying momentum, with many vocal Trump critics receiving not only offensive tweets, emails or phone calls, but actual death threats as well from Trump’s “alt-right” followers.
Of the 2.6 million tweets, 19,253 were directed at about 50,000 different journalists who had been critical of Trump. Of the 19,253, a disproportionate amount targeted a smaller group of Jewish journalists, with a mere 10 people – all Jewish – receiving 83 percent of the overtly anti-Semitic and nationalist tweets.
“The spike in hate we’ve seen online this election cycle is extremely troubling and unlike anything we have seen in modern politics,” said ADL head Jonathan Greenblatt in a statement.
“A half century ago, the KKK burned crosses. Today, extremists are burning up Twitter.”