December 16, 2022

The Out-of-this-World Antisemitic Fringe Movement Promoted by Ye

Did Ye know he was tweeting the International Raëlian Movement’s trademarked symbol? If the IRM is yet another antisemitic fringe group seizing on this chance at publicity, then there is far more at stake.

Ye’s actions have once again dragged a fringe organization and belief system into the limelight. Last time, it was the Black Hebrew Israelites (BHI), who were emboldened by Ye’s comments, coupled with Kyrie Irving’s statements, into marching at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center chanting “We are the real Jews.” 

Recently, Ye posted an image of the International Raëlian Movement’s (IRM) symbol, which depicts a swastika intertwined with a Star of David. Yet another fringe movement has been given a mainstream stage by celebrity-sponsored, public Jew-hatred. 

As people across the digital space and media are asking, what is this fringe movement, and what do they believe? On the surface, they claim to be a religion preaching love and peace for all. Dig a little deeper, and the picture begins to change.

Recently on Twitter, the IRM posted this statement:

A symbol promoting love is a nice sentiment. But while the IRM claims that the symbol “has nothing to do with Jews and Nazis,” they did change their symbol in 1992 to remove the swastika “out of respect to the Jewish people” and “out of respect for the sensitivity of the victims of Nazism.” It thus follows that choosing to then return to a glaringly controversial symbol in 2007, and declaring it to be the only official symbol, is dis-respectful to the Jewish people and dis-respectful to the sensitivity of the victims of Nazism. 

Furthermore, a look at the IRM’s website and press site, two Twitter accounts, and Rael Maitreya’s Facebook account show a clear obsession with the Jewish people and the State of Israel including perpetuating harmful tropes and stereotypes, Holocaust distortion and denial, and a fixation on Israel. Here are just a few examples, though there are plenty more that we did not have the space to include. 

Jews Control the Media 

IHRA Type 2 – Stereotypes about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective

Published 2012 on the Rael Press website: “Why do we only hear stories about Muslim extremists and not about extreme Jewish fundamentalists?” Rael asked. “Isn’t this additional proof that the media are controlled by Jews who want everyone to hate Muslims without saying anything wrong about Jewish traditions?”

“If this had been done by a Muslim fanatic, all the media would have talked about it to incite anti-Muslim hatred. But since the man who did it is a Jew, there is total silence in the mainstream media, whose owners, as we well know, are mostly Jews.”

The Holocaust was a Hoax 

IHRA Types 4 and 5 – Denying the Holocaust; Accusing Jews of inventing the Holocaust

Israel is in a Conspiracy to Eradicate Non-Jews 

IHRA Type 9 – Applying the classic antisemitic tropes of blood libel and controlling world power to Israel

Published 2015 on the Rael Press website: “The United States, Israeli and some NATO countries armies are working on a top secret project […] to spread manmade diseases that will kill all nonwhite and non-Jewish people.” 

“Raelian Jews” are the “real Jews” and “other” Jews are not

IHRA Type 2 – Stereotypes about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective

Published 2015 on the Rael Press website: “This is a little problematic for the Israeli government, since a majority of Palestinians are, in fact, real Jews genetically since their ancestors were Jews. Meanwhile, a majority of Israelis do not have the genetic traits of real Jews since they are descendants of the central European peoples who converted to Judaism.”

Social Media Amplifies Fringe Hate

While social media platforms are hosting a debate over the question of whether or not Ye knew that the symbol he Tweeted is trademarked by the IRM, a flurry of online activity has come about discussing the IRM and portraying them as odd but peaceful and harmless. 

However, looking through these various statements, posts, and images, it becomes clear that the IRM has a deep and hostile interest in the Jewish people and Israel, which often takes a troubling antisemitic tone. And now, they finally have the public’s eyes on them.

This is why effective AI and strong social media oversight committees are so critical in the fight against online antisemitism. Had Twitter shut down Ye’s original antisemitic posts and suspended his accounts immediately instead of hemming and hawing, much of the conversation we have been seeing online and in news outlets over the last two months would not have happened. Instead, Twitter left Ye’s account online long enough to cause serious and irreparable damage, eventually removing him too late to nip the antisemitic wave in the bud. Once reinstated, Ye had millions of people the world over glued to their screen, waiting to see what he would post next. 

Bottom line: It doesn’t matter if Ye knew that the symbol belonged to the IRM. Here we are, with yet another fringe and antisemitic group gaining a platform and a voice.

Learn more about the impact of Ye’s comments

Read CyberWell’s take on Ye’s public litany against the Jewish people, including additional information on the BHI. Also, check out our alert for deeper insight into the antisemitic tropes Ye has been promoting and their repercussions across social media as well as information on how CyberWell categorizes the antisemitic content that we collect and make publicly available on our database

Written by Lara Portnoy, Program & Ops Manager

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