April 28, 2023

This Week in Online Antisemitism: International Quds Day Inspires Annual Surge in Online Antisemitism

Held on the last Friday of Ramadan, International Quds Day (Jerusalem Day) is an annual event opposing Israel and Zionism — often involving demonstrations of antisemitism online and offline.

International Quds Day (Jerusalem Day), held on the last Friday of Ramadan, is an annual event opposing Israel and Zionism — often involving demonstrations of antisemitism online and offline. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini first proclaimed the day in Iran in 1979 to express solidarity with Palestinians and to deny Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. In specific terms, Khomeini described the day as promoting the “victory of the Muslim over the infidels” — namely, Israel and the U.S.

In Iran, International Quds Day is marked by government-sponsored rallies, speeches, and events. International Quds Day in other Muslim countries is generally portrayed as a day of Muslim unity against the imperialism of the U.S. and Zionism, but often trafficking in antisemitic conspiracy theories and inciting violence against Jews.

Inciting violence and glorifying terror organizations

Every year, International Quds Day inspires a surge in antisemitic social media posts originating in Iraq, Iran, Yemen, the West Bank, and other Muslim countries. Some social media users take advantage of the occasion to threaten and encourage targeted violence against Jews.

Screenshot of an antisemitic Instagram post written in Arabic threatening Jews with destruction on International Quds Day.

This Instagram post, written in Arabic, translates into English as: “[…] the Jews know that their destruction will be performed by Iraqi hands, the same hands which destroyed their first Temple. #International_Quds_Day”

Other posts glorify the local terror organizations:

Screenshot of a Tweet celebrating terrorist organizations and showing the slogan of the Houthi movement, "the slogan of the Houthi movement: “God is the greatest, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam."

The Tweet above, written in Arabic, translates into English as: “The Islamic resistance in the Arab lands support all the steps of the heroes of Palestine #International_Quds_Day #West Bank_Shield_Quds.”

The images in this Tweet, which received more than 6,000 views and hundreds of likes, show the symbols of the terror organizations Hezbollah, Kataib Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad. It also shows the slogan of the Houthi movement: “God is the greatestDeath to AmericaDeath to IsraelCurse on the Jews, Victory to Islam.

Implicit religious antisemitism sends a direct message of Jew-hatred on social media

Some posts quote antisemitic portions of speeches held throughout the Muslim world on International Quds Day. For example, multiple Tweets repeated the same quote attributed to Abd al-Malik Badr al-Din al-Houthi in a speech posted on YouTube. While al-Houthi didn’t specifically mention the word “Jews,” he referred to the “People of the Book” and the “evil and greedy enemies of Islam.”

Based on the context of the speech, the Houthi slogan in the background (“Curse on the Jews”), and the image of International Quds Day behind the speaker, the antisemitic message came through loud and clear.

Screenshot of a Tweet sharing antisemitic comments from Abd al-Malik Badr al-Din al-Houthi calling Jews "agents of Satan."

Online vs. offline demonstrations

On this year’s International Quds Day, videos showed dozens of people shouting threats against Jews at the Temple Mount. The slogan of “Khaybar” recalls the battles between Muhammad and the Jewish people in the 7th century, which resulted in the mass slaughter and expulsion of local Jews.

Screenshot of an antisemitic Tweet with a video of people in front of Al-Aqsa Mosque chanting "Khaybar," recalling the battles between Muhammad and Jews in the 7th century that resulted in mass slaughter and expulsion of local Jews.

During the next three days, Palestinian individuals committed three terror attacks targeting Jews in Gush Etzion, Meirav, and Jerusalem.

Our recommendations for social media platforms

CyberWell urges social media platforms to take action against online antisemitism stemming from International Quds Day with the following recommendations:

  1. Be aware of the antisemitic context and propaganda surrounding International Quds Day and how it is shared on social media.
  2. Monitor and remove incitement to violence against Jews using these keyword combinations:
    1. “#يوم_القدس_العالمي” [International Quds Day] AND “Jews”  while the hashtag related to the occasion comes in different forms, such as: #يوم_القدس_العالمي✌🏻🇵🇸 #يوم_القدس_العالمي_2023
    2. “#خيبر” [Khaybar] AND “يهود” [Jews]
  1. Monitor for the Houthi slogan, which promotes Jew-hatred, either written or depicted as an image.
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