Neo-Nazi leader pleads guilty to hate crime; Pandemic amped up online antisemitism; Advocates call Arkansas hate crime bill a "Sham"

  • April 9, 2021
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THE WEEK’S BIG 3

Cameron Shea, a 25-year-old leader of the neo-Nazi extremist group Atomwaffen, pleaded guilty to threatening journalists and activists with Nazi posters and menacing messages. Coronavirus lockdowns last year shifted some antisemitic hatred online, where conspiracy theories blaming Jews for the pandemic’s medical and economic devastation abounded, researchers reported. The Arkansas Senate on Wednesday approved a stripped-down hate crimes bill derided by longtime supporters of such legislation, including ADL, who agree the measure is too vague and would provide "insufficient" coverage for a state that's one of only four nationwide without such a law.

Read on for more on these headlines, news you can use to fight hate and the latest info about ADL from around the country.

1) Neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Leader Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime for Mailing Poster of Molotov-Wielding Grim Reaper to ADL Staffer

“Shea had been charged with a hate crime for interfering with federally protected practice of religion as well as conspiracy to interfere with protected religious practice and mailing threatening communications. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and will be sentenced in June.” The Daily Beast: FULL STORY

+ ADL tweet: Atomwaffen Division, a small, violent neo-Nazi organization whose members want a race war, disbanded in 2020 and is now the National Socialist Order.

+ ADL Resource: Atomwaffen Division (AWD)/ National Socialist Order (NSO)

2) Report: Pandemic Amped Up Antisemitism, Forced it Online

“The findings, which came in an annual report by Tel Aviv University’s researchers on anti-Semitism, show that the social isolation of the pandemic kept Jews away from those who wish to harm them. Online, the scene was much different, researchers reported — a potential warning sign that as pandemic restrictions ease, hateful conduct toward Jews could intensify as it has during some of humanity’s other historic struggles.” Associated Press: READ MORE

+ Jonathan Greenblatt tweet: New annual report on global antisemitism from the Kantor Center @TelAvivUni and our partners @eurojewcong, shows us that even as the #COVID19 pandemic kept us socially isolated for the past year, it seems to have fueled a surge of online #antisemitism.

+ ADL Resource: 2021 Survey on Jewish Americans’ Experiences with Antisemitism

3) Arkansas Senate Approves Hate Crime Bill Advocates Decry as "Sham"

“Arkansas' measure has been heavily criticized by longtime supporters of hate crimes laws, including the Anti-Defamation League, for not outlining specific categories and for not covering lower-level crimes. The group has said it won't consider Arkansas as having a hate crimes law if the measure is enacted. The group has called it a ‘sham’ legislation under which ‘virtually any violent crime based on a person's association or belief would be covered, including crimes targeting white supremacists or neo-Nazis.’” CBS News: LEARN MORE

+ ADL South Central: Letter to Arkansas Senate Judiciary Chair in Opposition of Senate Bill 622

+ ADL Hate Crime Map


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