The hacker group Anonymous released a message this week threatening to unleash an “electronic Holocaust” — yes, they used that word — on Israel, just a week before Holocaust Remembrance Day, to persecute them for what the hackers describe as “crimes in the Palestinian territories.”
As the masked speaker in the video mentions, they make this threat every Holocaust Remembrance Day: “We will erase you from cyberspace in our electronic Holocaust. As we did many times, we will take down your servers, government websites, Israeli military websites, and Israeli institutions.”
Whatever disagreements Anonymous might have with the Islamic State, they have nothing to do with how ISIS treats Jews. The threatening video from Anonymous has little to say about Hamas terror tunnels, random Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, the Palestinians’ use of human shields, suicide bombing, et cetera, ad nauseum.
It is as one-sided as anything ISIS might put out, right down to the carping about Zionists. “A message to the youth of Palestine, you are a symbol of freedom, resistance and hope: we are with you and will continue to defend you,” the narrator says. “Our message to the foolish Benjamin Netanyahu and all leaders in the Zionist entities, we will continue to electronically attack until the people of Palestine are free.”
Tel Aviv-based intelligence analyst Benjamin T. Decker did not sound impressed by these threats in an interview with Newsweek.
“For the most part, this is posturing,” Decker judged. “This is actually the fourth year that Anonymous has carried out this Op Israel attack and called on their supporters to erase Israel from the Internet. As the years have progressed we have seen that, despite their increasing sophistication in hacking techniques, we have seen less damage against Israeli cyber infrastructures, largely due to Israel’s pioneering of most cyber warfare tactics, both offensive and defensive.”
The intended audience probably isn’t the battle-hardened Israeli online community anyway, since the video is subtitled in Arabic, and the UK Daily Mail reports it was posted by a group calling itself “Anonymous Arab.” A cybersecurity expert quoted by Israel National News said “these groups call themselves ‘Anonymous,’ but in reality the OpIsrael hackers responsible for the actions are mostly from the Middle East, with connections to our local conflict.”
If the rest of Anonymous has a serious problem with the use of their collective identity for the OpIsrael attacks, they should do something about it. Of course, central coordination and brand protection are one of the inherent problems with loosely-connected vigilante organizations.
Speaking of Anonymous’ old adversaries in the Islamic State, the Daily Mail mentions the indictment of a Palestinian from east Jerusalem for attempting to join ISIS in Syria, one of about forty Palestinians and Israeli Arabs to do so.