Official media outlets for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have released official propaganda videos and statements encouraging and inciting violence against Jews in Israel.
The propaganda is yet another addition to the cacophony of online calls for murdering Jews and Israelis, which have already been propagated by Palestinian terrorist organizations, individuals celebrating and promoting terrorism, and even mainstream Arabic-language news outlets.
The ISIS propaganda also serves to further demonstrate the pervasiveness of anti-Semitism in terrorist ideology, and the way in which terrorist organizations exploit popular anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment to mobilize and recruit supporters. A recent ADL report, “Anti-Semitism: A Pillar of Islamic Extremist Ideology,” highlights this use of anti-Semitism with examples from ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations.
In its current campaign, ISIS has posted at least eight official propaganda videos inciting violence in Israel. The videos were posted on social media with an Arabic-language hashtag that translates as #BeheadTheJews; some were also posted under the English-language hashtag #Slaughter_the_Jews. Translated titles of the videos, which are instructive of their content, include: “Return the Terror to the Jews,” “Slaughter Them and Don’t Show Them Mercy,” “Terrorize the Jews, Oh People of Beyt al Maqdis (Jerusalem),” “Message to our People in Beyt Al Maqdis,” and “Message to the Mujahideen (fighters) in Beyt al Maqdis.”
Many of the videos feature images of ultra-Orthodox Jews, who are easily recognizable as Jewish because of their clothing, and of Israeli soldiers, including multiple images of Israeli soldiers engaged in Jewish ritual activity such as eating matzah and praying while wearing phylacteries. They also show images and footage of attacks against Jews and Israelis, including bus bombings and recent stabbings.
One of the videos, produced by the media division of ISIS’s Ninveh Province, clearly defines attacking Jews all over the world as fundamental to Islamic extremist goals. “Remember that our war with the Jews is doctrinal,” the video’s narrator states; “it is a war between faith and disbelief. Therefore, you must keep going with your fight and use all the legitimate means in fighting them, including stabbing and running them over. Do not forget about the explosive devices...” In a reference to a Qu’ranic verse in which the entire world assists Muslims in killing Jews, the video’s narrator goes on to say that, “Allah permitting, the promised day is approaching from which the Jews will not escape.”
A sampling of additional quotes that encourage violence against Jews includes:
- “Bring back the terror to the Jews with bombing, burning and stabbing.”
- “Oh, you Monotheists in Palestine, to become lone wolves killing the enemies of God is better for you than to be with groups or parties that claim to be working for the religion of God while they serve as a barrier between the Mujahedeen and Jihad.”
- “Oh you people of Jerusalem, terrify the Jews.”
- “Increase your operations against the Jews who fed the Muslims all types of misery and suffering.”
Some of the videos also advocate anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. “[Jews are] the murderers of the prophets and messengers,” alleged one of the videos, which went on to accuse Jews of having “corrupted the faith of the Christians” and “misled the Shi’a.”
Several of the videos borrow footage from previous ISIS propaganda pieces that threatened Israel. One of them, for example, features an image of a child executing a man that ISIS alleged was a Mossad spy. The original video showing that execution had gone on to suggest that the current children of ISIS fighters will go on to conquer Israel in the future.
The ISIS propaganda also features banners and images released by Al Battar Media, the same media company that was active in releasing images calling for Israel’s destruction last summer; the current campaign has recycled some of the images from last summer, such as one depicting ISIS fighters standing in front of the Dome of the Rock, and has added new images as well.
In a notable shift from previous ISIS propaganda on Israel, the current videos and posters are focused more on promoting the violence than on promising a future ISIS victory over Israel (although the latter is depicted as well). This may be a result of the individual nature of the current violence, which is not claimed by groups but, rather, is being undertaken by individuals inspired in part by the information they find on social media. ISIS can therefore seek to claim credit for inspiring future attacks and assert that it is active in the present conflict simply by encouraging additional violence online.
Similarly, the current campaign features a heavy focus on defending the Al Aqsa mosque, with one video even showing footage of Israeli soldiers and explosions in the mosque. This correlates with the excuse being used to justify the current violence, which stems from false allegations of Israeli attempts to take over that mosque.
The videos and images were distributed on Telegram, an app that ISIS now uses as a primary propaganda distribution service, but they were also circulated broadly on more mainstream social media sites due in part to the strong presence of ISIS supporters on social media and the unfortunately widespread following of content calling for the destruction of Jews and Israel in the current climate of violence in Israel.