A report by the Anti-Defamation League
on anti-Semitic hatred found that there is no connection between the Donald Trump campaign and virulent anti-Semites. The ADL's Task Force on Harassment and Journalism released its study of online activity over twelve months, which found a deeply "troubling" trend: open expression of hatred for Jews, including Jewish journalists, is on the rise.
The unprecedented study found, nevertheless, that there is no connection between the anti-Semitic hatred to the Trump campaign. It reported that while there is evidence of anti-Semitic tweets originating from people “identifying themselves as Trump supporters, ‘conservatives’ or extreme right-wing elements,” the study found that individuals directing anti-Semitism towards journalists “self-identified as Trump supporters and conservatives.” The study cautioned that this “finding does not imply that Mr. Trump supported these tweets, or that conservatives are more prone to anti-Semitism.” The study noted that the words that are found most often in the bios of Twitter users posting anti-Semitic tweets to journalists are: “Trump,” “nationalist,” “conservative,” “American” and “white.”
The ADL said the task force worked with "journalists, deans from two of the top journalism schools in the country, and experts on hate speech." Using various keywords designed by the ADL to search through social media, the study showed that there were 2.5 million anti-Jewish tweets transmitted from August 2015 to July 2016. The rate of transmission began to take off in January of this year.
The tweets had an estimated 10 billion impressions i.e. reach. This contributed to reinforcing and normalizing anti-Semitic language, said the ADL, particularly racist comments and anti-Israel statements on a massive scale.
Approximately 50,000 journalists were targeted among those 2.6 million tweets, of which two-thirds were sent by 1,600 Twitter accounts. It said that a "small cohort of journalists bore the brunt of the online abuse." The most frequent target was conservative author and journalist of The Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro
The study found that about 20,000 anti-Semitics tweets were sent to about 800 journalists in the United States during the period of the study. The most targeted journalists were Jews, who received 83 percent of those tweets. The top 10 includes Shapiro, Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman, and CNN’s Sally Kohn and Jake Tapper.
When ADL analysts looked more closely, it appeared that white nationalists and the so-called Alt-Right, most of whom support Trump, appears to be "disproportionately" engaged in the anti-Semitic attacks.
The report underscore that Shapiro was the primary focus of anti-Semitic hatred because of his #NeverTrump position. After the so-called #NeverTrump movement told hold by March 2016, self-styled Trump supporters from the alt-right attacked. Twitter assaults on Ben Shapiro, who was an originator of the #NeverTrump movement, soared. “It’s amazing what’s been unleashed,” Shapiro told ADL. “I honestly didn’t realize they were out there. It’s every day, every single day.” Despite Shapiro’s efforts to shield his family from the abuse, his wife and baby were targeted as well. “When my child was born there were lots of anti-Semitic responses talking about cockroaches.”
Of all the accounts used to launch attacks on Jews, ADL found that Twitter had deactivated less than a quarter, 21 percent.
For his part, Donald Trump has distanced himself from anti-Semites, having pointed out not only his strong support for Israel but also the fact that his daughter Ivanka is convert to Judaism who married a Jew.
While there were some criticisms of a speech Trump made last week in West Palm Beach, a key Jewish supporter dismissed the concerns. On October 13, he said that his campaign faces an “existential threat” from “global special interests” which he accused of “rigging” the election. Hillary Clinton, he charged, was meeting in secret with “international banks” while manipulating the media as part of a master plan to rob the United States of its wealth. In Israel, Marc Zell of Republicans Overseas Israel (who is also vice-president of the group's international organization) defended Trump and told Haaretz
, “I certainly do not think those references are to Jews.”