Jewish. Left. Not sorry.

Young Jewish Conservatives chair participates in Nazi campaign to silence Jewish Worker

Naftali Botwin

The chair of the Young Jewish Conservatives, founded "to assert that politically conservative, young Jews need and deserve to have community that respects, supports and defends their values," availed himself as having participated in a mass-reporting campaign targeting The Jewish Worker led by a violent white supremacist group.

Earlier this month, The Jewish Worker unveiled Iron March Exposed, an investigative tool that helps journalists and anti-extremism researchers dig through the leaked database of the Iron March neo-Nazi web forum, where the now infamous Atomwaffen Division, which has been linked to at least five murders, was formed. The forum's posts contain a treasure trove of information linking individuals to violent plots targeting Jewish and other minority groups' institutions and houses of worship. Since its launch, Iron March Exposed has played a significant role in aiding investigative journalists researching Atomwaffen's activities, including uncovering the identities of active duty members of police and military forces around the globe who participated in the hate forum.

Concerned that their allies' identities were being exposed, members of the white supremacist group Proud Boys shared tweets and Facebook posts by The Jewish Worker containing links to Iron March Exposed in a "Mass Report and Retweet thread" on their Telegram channel, encouraging others to report the posts for "privacy violations" and "harassment." On Tuesday of last week, one day after the Proud Boys began targeting The Jewish Worker, the publication received a 12 hour suspension for a tweet linking to the database. By Friday, @JewishWorker had been permanently banned from Twitter and the Proud Boys had claimed victory.

During The Jewish Worker's suspension, which was repealed Sunday morning after massive public outcry, Joel Griffith, chair of the Young Jewish Conservatives and a research fellow at the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation, shared a tweet celebrating The Jewish Worker's suspension and calling for the Jewish anti-occupation group IfNotNow to meet the same end. "Thanks to Twitter for suspending one of the most anti-Israel, anti-American accounts this weekend—@JewishWorker," Griffith wrote. "Let's hope @IfNotNowOrg is next for promoting uncivil, anti-Israel bigotry."

Attached to the tweet was a screenshot of an email from Twitter thanking Griffith for reporting a violation of Twitter's rules and stating that The Jewish Worker's account was found to be in violation of Twitter's "rules against posting private information." The alleged "private information" in question was a dossier authored by anti-fascist researchers Panic In The Discord about a Boston-area member of Atomwaffen, Lauren Paulson.

After The Jewish Worker's reinstatement on Twitter, attention was called to Griffith's celebration of a successful campaign by neo-Nazis to silence Jewish journalists exposing their identities. Griffith backpedaled, deleting his tweet and claiming that as a Jewish person he was in no way supportive of white supremacists. "I'm proudly Jewish & pro-Israel," Griffith wrote. "'Anti-Zionism' of the 21st century is a manifestation of anti-Semitism. It singles out 15 million Jewish people (just 0.2% of the world's population) & denies them the right to a nation in their ancestral homeland." Griffith included a link to an article he wrote for Heritage's Daily Signal entitled, "Lies Are Fueling the Rise of Anti-Semitism."

Griffith's protestations were retweeted by no less than Heritage itself. But moments later, Griffith would again report The Jewish Worker, this time for standing up to an antisemite who was harassing Griffith with false claims about the Talmud, the 4th century compilation of rabbinic commentaries on Jewish law. Responding to the title of Griffith's article, user P. Ness (@PNess12265770) wrote, "Yes lies. It has nothing to do with the Talmud stating that Jews can defraud and steal from Gentiles." To this, Jewish Worker editor Naftali Botwin retorted simply, "The Talmud says no such thing you Nazi fuck."

A short time later, The Jewish Worker received notice from Twitter that its account had again been locked for 12 hours citing violation of their "rules against abuse and harassment." The offending tweets were three replies to Griffith, one of which was the tweet directed at P. Ness condemning his antisemitism. In other words, Griffith had reported The Jewish Worker for "harassing" him by telling off the antisemite in his mentions (and their own).

In a comment left on The Jewish Worker's Facebook page, Griffith acknowledged making the reports, offering an explanation that evinces him to be, at best, far too out-of-touch with even the most basic social media conventions to represent young Jewish conservatives.

"You placed MY name in this list," Griffith exclaimed, referring to Bennet's reply to P. Ness antisemitic remark. "I reported you for defaming MY name."

Okay, boomer.

None of this should be surprising. The Zionist Right has long made common cause with antisemites against the Jewish Left, in modernity most commonly drawing attention away from the right's anti-Jewish violence and centering Jewish concerns instead on other Jews' nonviolent protest against Israel's human rights abuses. But at a time of surging white nationalist violence, just one short year after the worst massacre of American Jews in the nation's history, one would hope they would be far less eager to do so.

If the conduct of Joel Griffith is any indication, one's hopes would be for naught.

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