Opinion: Hacking at North Shore

Opinion%3A+Hacking+at+North+Shore

Charlotte Kleeger '24

On December 14, 2020, North Shore He- brew Academy’s (NSHA) website was hacked with Nazi imagery and propaganda. During Chanukah, where we celebrate the victory of light over dark- ness, the NSHA homepage displayed Nazi videos against a background of Nazi songs. The hackers also accessed students’ and teachers’ private information, such as home addresses and credit card information. The website of the modern orthodox yeshiva was filled with hate speech and antisemi- tism.

As a Jew, I am both horrified and disgusted by this incident. It exemplifies just how much antisemitism is still alive today. Seeing the words “North Shore Hebrew Acade- my Death Camp” sprawled across the page fol- lowed by Nazi propaganda and swastikas was jarring. It has exposed the harsh reality of our America – one where antisemitism runs amok and pervades our society at large. Additionally, this happened at a Jewish private school in New York, quite similar to Ramaz, making me wonder just how far these attacks are from our own doorstep. Attending an institution that instills pride in our Jewish heritage and fosters a love for Zionism and the State of Israel, an attack like this is the ultimate offense.

This incident shows many similarities to other examples of antisemitism on- line, causing many Jews, including myself, to have to be prepared to see them when accessing social media such as TikTok or Instagram. From what I have seen, there are different “types,” so to speak, on each platform.

 

On TikTok, one can run into many antisemitic videos, such as antisemitic ste- reotypes and so-called “dark humor” not posted by a Jew, etc. For example, a video has come up on my For You Page, a section of TikTok where one can see public videos posted by anyone, of a stereotypical drawing of a Jewish man with a big nose, a greedy look on his face and rubbing his hands together, inside of a Star of David with a multitude of gold coins falling behind him. I immediately reported the video but later received a no- tification from TikTok saying that they did not find a problem with the video, and it re- mained on the app for everyone to see. Sim- ilarly, a video was posted by Liveaction.org, which is dedicated to ending abortion. It fea- tured an image that said, “Not a Person,” followed by a picture of a slave marked with the year 1815, Jews in the Holocaust in 1945, and then an image of a fetus marked with the year 2019, ultimately comparing abortion to slavery and the Holocaust.

On Instagram, antisemitism is often not as flagrant. Many accounts are dedicated to activism yet constantly leave Jews behind. I often notice this absence, and I am tired of waiting for those with a platform to speak up. This form of antisemitism is more indirect, but leaving Jews out of your activism while speaking up for every other minority is inherently antisemitic.

The internet is a place where antisemitism can thrive. It is imperative that we do our part and speak up. The Jewish community needs allies with big platforms and high follower counts to aid us in our mission, to ensure that what took place at North Shore Hebrew Academy does not happen again.