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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Outsiders ‘Zoombomb’ Yeshiva University President With Anti-Semitic Material During Speech

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Outsiders disrupted Yeshiva University President Ari Berman’s March 31 speech to the student body on the video conference platform Zoom with anti-Semitic material.

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Zoombombing is when outsiders interrupt Zoom conferences with “graphic or threatening messages or actions, often including those that contain hate speech or pornographic content.”

Screenshots on Twitter showed that some of the material that popped up during Berman’s Zoom talk included a meme stating that “the Holocaust never happened” as well as comments in the group chat that read “shut the f— up Jews.”

Berman said in a statement to the Journal, “Last night I was Zoombombed during my pre-Pesach talk with our student body as pictures of Nazis and other offensive material appeared throughout the scheduled time. The experience highlighted to me how one’s true character is revealed during times of crisis. Haters will hate and a time of anxiety and pressure will bring that out even more.”

He added: “We respond, however, with love. Our goal is not simply to mute the hate but is to add more goodness and kindness in this world.”

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “‘Zoombombing’ is a new form of cyber-harassment that needs to be combated. What happened to these Yeshiva classes is yet another example of why we cannot allow this #antisemitic & #hateful targeting to continue.”

Other recent instances of Zoombombing include two anthropology lectures at Binghamton University being Zoombombed with racial and sexist slurs as well as abusive comments written in the group chat during a London synagogue’s virtual service. The exact dates of these incidents are not publicly available.

The ADL recommends that co-hosts of the Zoom meeting mute the call’s participants and then lock the meeting once all the participants have joined as ways to help prevent Zoombombing from occurring.

Tablet senior writer Yair Rosenberg tweeted that Zoombombers should be held accountable through the legal system.

“They would [face legal consequences] if they did this in the physical world,” he wrote. “This is not different, and as soon as that’s made clear, it will deter many of these offenders.”

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