September 19, 2019

New ADL Report Highlights ‘White Genocide’ Rhetoric on Social Media

A new report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released on April 9 zeroes on the “white genocide” rhetoric on social media promulgated by recent white nationalist shooters.

The ADL report notes that Robert Bowers, who was indicted for murdering 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in October, frequently posted “white genocide” conspiracy theories on the far-right social media platform Gab. Bowers’ post that “HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] likes to bring invaders in that kill our people” before the shooting “utilizes three white supremacist rallying cries: Jews are responsible for immigration; immigration is destroying the white race; and public perception is less important than taking necessary actions to protect the white race,” according to the report notes.

“The urgency of the call to genocide against Jews is unmistakable in Gab,” the report states. “In close proximity to references to #whitegenocide, Gab users include unfiltered enthusiasm for the murder of Jews, evident in references such as ‘hitlerwasright,’ ‘tgsnt’ (a reference to the pro-Hitler documentary ‘The Greatest Story Never Told’), as well as other cryptic terms like ‘gtkrwn,’ which stands for ‘gas the kikes, race war now.’ In other words, our algorithms show that, on Gab, #whitegenocide is often paired with explicit, genocidal sentiment towards Jews.”

Brenton Tarrant, the alleged shooter in the New Zealand mosque terror attacks in March, promulgated similar rhetoric on a platform called 8-chan, which is an imageboard forum. Before the terror attacks, Tarrant wrote that it was “time to make a real life effort post” and “attack the invaders.”

“The fact that Tarrant, like Bowers, references white genocide as the motive behind his criminal act raises a troubling theory: that ‘white genocide’ acts like a virus on these platforms,” the report states. “It instructs recognizable and organized features of apocalyptic, terrorist ideology, including explicit calls to act on that information. By disguising the debate as one of ‘optics,’ the community obfuscates its genocidal intent as if it is a mere popular, political sentiment, but this practice pits one radical sub-community seeking near-term violence against another that seeks to hide its true intent until the race war fully erupts organically.”

The report concluded by stating that “Gab and 8chan fan the flames of bigotry and hatred and organize violent fantasies in online communities even as they fuel them in the real world.”

Eileen Hershenov, senior vice president for policy at the Anti-Defamation League, provided congressional testimony on the matter on April 9.