Fighting Hate…With Hate?

Re-posted from The Huffington Post:

The JIDF, or Jewish Internet Defense Force, started as a collective of activists dedicated to the noble cause of combating antisemitic speech online. The group stood up against sites such as Facebook and Wikipedia in attempts to get them to remove hateful speech, and in mid-2009 achieved success in lobbying Facebook to remove its most vitriolic Holocaust denial groups.

But what was once a collective seems to have turned into a one-man show rife with hate speech and Islamophobia. Despite terms of service on the JIDF’s site that claim that their content is “not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company or individual,” a recent posts blatantly equatedIslam–the Qur’an even–with terrorism:


In recent days, the JIDF’s Twitter account, run by a sole activist who uses the nom de plume “David Appletree,” has tweeted numerous other hate-filled statements, including the following claim that all Muslims are terrorists:


More alarming than the fact that one person could be filled with so much hate is the fact that this one person, who claims to represent an organization, has over 50,000 followers on Twitter and boasts site hits of over 100,000 per month.

I believe that the JIDF as an organization has some very valid concerns about the ways in which social media sites apply their terms of service (and perhaps about their terms of service in general), however, the answer to fighting hate speech is not more hate speech. The activists who truly believe in these ideals would be better to leave their hateful leader behind.

10 replies on “Fighting Hate…With Hate?”

Good post, Jillian. I’ve also had run-ins with “Appletree” via his @JIDF Twitter persona and was on the receiving end of his vicious homophobia. I tried to engage him in a way that I hoped would prompt him to re-think his intolerance, but it only seemed to embolden him.

The #tcot tag is pretty telling. If he aligns himself with Top Conservatives on Twitter, you pretty much know what you’re getting. That’s not a comment on the list or anyone affiliated with it, but it’s clearly not out of the ordinary for some on that list to take an extremist or hateful stance towards Islam.

You’ve got plenty of time to correct them. If you’re so concerned, please do so, I think it’s important that readers hear your point of view told in a responsible, truthful manner.

My readers know that I am neither “anti-Israel” nor “pro-Hamas.” Take your hatred elsewhere, David.

While JIDF does not sound like a very constructive person or a person interested in a meaningful conversation, so do you Jillian. I’ve looked at your posts here and and at your Twitts and you are taking a clear stand. Perhaps you are not “pro-Hamas”, but you seem to view things in black and white terms and prefer one version of the story, just like JIDF does. That version of the story may not be the best researched or supported one, but as long as it suits your point of view, you follow it and do not hesitate restating it. You are blindly advocating a cause and so does he. I don’t see much difference in the way you two argue or promote your causes. only that you are a much better writer than him.


First of all, thanks for the compliment on my writing. Second, I don’t blindly advocate for anything. My viewpoint comes from loads of research, and is ever-evolving. Sure, I am taking a “clear stand,” because to me, this is a pretty clear human rights issue.


Even assuming Jillian is “blindly” advocating a cause like what you claim, could you please explain what harm do you see in advocating human rights without exploiting them for political agendas? I’ve seen some of Jillian’s tweets, and they all seemed to have been written purposefully to raise awareness of a cause, clearly not driven by any personal/religious/political/”fill in the space” interest. I’ve seen some of JIDF’s tweets too, and frankly, I could not see in his tweets anything that shows the slightest care of others’ rights, if anything, he makes it clear that he is a pro-Israeli, his tweets are admittedly driven by his interests to promote Israel’s image – obviously on the cost of others’ rights. Given that, I have no idea how the hell you could even make such comparison!

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