David Appletree battles Nazis and Shoah-deniers on Facebook

Activist David Appletree is taking a stand against the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish groups that are cropping up on Facebook, the social-networking website.

He has spent the past two months fighting for the removal of certain groups by establishing one of his own — Facebook: Stop Violating Your Own Terms By Supporting Hatred and Terror. It lists around 80 Facebook groups that praise Hitler and deny the Holocaust. More than 5,000 members are supporting his campaign, which is attracting widespread media interest. Earlier this month, Mr Appletree had his Facebook account disabled for allegedly spamming other users with messages encouraging them to fight antisemitism. “All I am doing is consolidating peoples’ concerns,” Mr Appletree, whose account has since been reactivated following an email petition, tells People. “I want to encourage them to become leaders and take a stand.” He adds:  “These groups aren’t actively recruiting terrorists, but I guarantee there is some recruiting going on.”


Appletree keeps his image obscure for security reasons

Texas-based Mr Appletree, who is in his 30s and works in media production, says he has actively been on Facebook’s case to remove antisemitic groups since he came across a group praising the murderer of the yeshivah students at Jerusalem’s Mercaz Harav. “Facebook has removed some of the groups, but a majority of them are staying. It needs to do a lot more about antisemitic and pro-terror groups.” 

    Last updated: 4:55pm, July 21 2008

    COMMENTS

    anon

    Fri, 10/31/2008 - 00:58

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    The JC got this entirely wrong. I know Appletree. He's not based in Texas. He was just in Texas at the time of the interview. From my understanding, he did not want that published. I don't think he's in his 30's. He doesn't work in media production. The number of groups listed was and is far greater than "80." Not sure that's even a photo of him. The quote about terrorist recruitment must be misquote as he would never say anything so contradictory. No wonder why he challenged this piece. It's a shame the JC had so little regard for accuracy.


    Leonard Feinman

    Sat, 11/22/2008 - 08:15

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    What a surpise! Could it be that the big bad JIDF is basically one racist terrorist? Typical.


    Peter Cohen

    Sun, 11/23/2008 - 20:56

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    It's a pity that the JC did not notice in compiling this article that this so-called campaigner against racism and terrorism is pictured with the logo of the outlawed racist and terrorist Kach organisation.


    Shoshana

    Sat, 12/06/2008 - 12:53

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    Here's more on the inaccuracies in the article. Apparently Appletree filed a complaint:

    http://www.thejc.com/articles/20087113178/jc-kept-pcc-code#comment-601

    I'm not sure that this complaint states the facts correctly and believe Appletree is working this way through the British court system.


    Shoshana

    Sat, 12/06/2008 - 12:57

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    Peter - you are right. The JC apparently got a lot wrong in this article. They probably didn't even recognize the symbol!

    Leonard, what exactly is "typical?"

    One thing though, this article is actually about Appletree, not the JIDF! And wasn't that symbol originally found on a wall during the Warsaw Ghetto? I searched around and found that the JIDF addressed the issue of being linked to Kahane here: http://www.thejidf.org/2008/11/people-label-jidf-kahanist-because-we.htm...

    Here's another post which might be of interest:

    http://www.thejidf.org/search/label/loshon%20hora

    Not sure how appropriate it is for people trying to defame individuals and organizations, or committing Loshon Hora on a Jewish website. Also, I highly doubt just one person is behind the effort as the JIDF Facebook group has 3,100+ members and gets active support from another group with over 70K members. Granted, that's not saying the JIDF has that many members, but there are certainly many people helping the cause. There are also many anti-JIDF Facebook groups. It would be difficult to believe that so many people could have so much against just one person! Also, the amount of work which goes into the JIDF website couldn't possibly be done by just one person. It's only be around for six months!

    If it IS one person, I'd surely like to meet him! He looks handsome in the pic and I applaud his work against antisemites and terrorists online.


    Shoshana

    Sat, 12/06/2008 - 15:58

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    Oh, I get it. It's because "Peter Cohen" is listed as a biased Wikipedia editor on the JIDF site:

    http://www.thejidf.org/2008/10/list-of-heavily-biased-anti-israel.html

    You're really a "non-Zionist"? How can you be against millions of your own people living in Israel? Does this mean you support the wiping out of Israel?


    Peter Cohen

    Sat, 12/06/2008 - 17:53

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    I'm not going to compose another reply to the above. Instead I'm copying what I wrote at http://www.thejc.com/node/3178 where the same "Shoshana" acted out a little charade with an accomplice. The page referenced wouldn't need to exist if it wasn't fo Appletree/the JIDF's paranoid tendency to complain abut every article written about them even when the coverage is favourable.

    Copied reply follows:

    It's a pity that there aren't time stamps visible to the public to show how this little shadow play worked and how it followed straight on from the JIDF vandalising Wikipedia and setting up a bogus account Peter Cohn there in the hope of vandalising pges which I edited. They also are sending me harassing emails today (what better way to spend Shabbos?) including one saying I should look at this page and the original article page to see their reply. Coincidence? Well I think you know the answer.

    This page has been idle for some time. Then suddenly two people turn up at the same time, in the middle of the JIDF's harassment campaign against me, and edit the page (and that of the original article about which the JIDF/Appletree complained.

    "Shoshana" and "Jonathan Hoffman" are either one person or two people working together to a prearranged script. If people want to look at the page discussing the JIDF article at WIkipedia, they'll see that there is a history of the JIDF having several accounts pretending to be independent users.

    And despite implications above, you will find that the JIDF attack on me on their page of Wikipedia editors who happen to disagree with them was created after I started criticising them and their Kahanist politics here and on Wikipedia.

    As for the JIDF wanting to distance their public image from Kahane.At present, the JIDF archive includes material gloating over the Kach logo being used to vandalise another (admittedly unpleasant) site. They also have seven pages praising Kahane. In the last 24 hours, they have added a page attacking the actions of the Israeli authorities against settlers in Hebron. In other words they do not and never have represented the viewpoint of mainstream Jewry. Readers should beware.


    Bill

    Sat, 12/06/2008 - 19:59

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    Cohen, paranoia will destroy ya. Thanks for the update on the JIDF - how about some links? Your impression of the JIDF is not necessarily accurate, but it's funny that you accuse people of harassment and following you on Wikipedia when it's clear you are watching everything the JIDF does, apparently. Let's see the "seven pages" you feel are "praising Kahane?" Again, the article by the JC is about Appletree, who may or may not be linked to the JIDF in any significant way. Thank you for such the stern warning about the JIDF.

    Readers should beware that Mr. Cohen is the proud owner of 2 ferrets (it's on his WIkipedia user page.)

    Oh, and as far as Jonathan Hoffman is concerned, maybe you should search around a bit to know who you're dealing with there. I'm sure you can find more info about him on the JC site. He's a fairly well known activist for Jewish causes in England who's very capable of independent thought. So nice of you to get on here and insult so many people all at once.

    Stop playing the innocent victim here. You have been trying to bring this article into Wikipedia and then you commented upon it, so fans and friends of the JIDF responded. Hardly a "coincidence" - it's merely action/reaction.

    If you represent mainstream Jewry, it's a good thing the JIDF has a different viewpoint.


    Peter Cohen

    Sun, 12/07/2008 - 16:37

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    And here's another post I've also made on the other page.

    I have now learnt that Jonathan Hoffman is vice-chair of the Zionist Federation. As such I would expect him to be able to tell the difference between a generic fist in star symbol and the particular stylised version used by Kach and the other Kahanist groups.

    A graffitied version of the emblem on a wall in the Warsaw Ghetto would not have looked exactly like the stylised version of the Kahanists. The fact that "David Appletree" uses the Kach version of the logo says more than any of the answers he has given in the interviews he has given either for himself or the JIDF.

    It is true that the Appletree name is meant to evoke the ghetto, but this is just one of several names of dead Jews used as aliases by the JIDF. But the JIDF themselves feature an article describing the logo as the symbol of the Kach movement in here. http://www.thejidf.org/search/label/kahane%20chai
    They are almost certainly the "Jewish activsts" mentioned in the article title.

    There is a long history of popular causes being used by political grups to recruit members. (Think of how, in this country, the Militant Tendency used anti-poll tax federations, or the Socialist Workers Party used the Anti-Nazi League.)
    That the Zionist far-right should be doing the same should hardly be shocking.

    Sabotaging anti-Semitic websites is just such a popular cause among Jewry and one that I have no objections to myself. However, despite Jonathan's rather disingenuous comment, it, like all hacking, is illegal. The Misuse of Computers Act 1990 is just one example of the many laws around the globe that outlaw it.

    As for "Bill", he is almost certainly someone I have encountered before. Why do I think this? Because I have received abusive harassing email (which mention ferrets among other things) from people calling themselves "einsteindonut" and "Jared Kaplan". "Einsteindonut" has a long history of vandalising Wikipedia and of using multiple userids (known as "sockpuppets") to damage articles and harass other editors. Under one of these ids "Peter Bergson" he has also been listed in connection with various JIDF groups. Although my Wikipedia homepage does have a "userbox" that indicates that I own one or more ferrets. It doesn't say how many. The number would only be known by someone who ahs spent a long time following me around on WIkipedia The sort of person who would create a bogus id "Peter Cohn" to follow around my editing activity and undo edits not all of which concern the JIDF. (This id was rapidly identified by Wikipedia administrators as a bogus id and blocked from editing Wikipedia and so only two edits were actually carried out, but the intention was clear.)

    The JIDF is an organisation whose modus operandi is to have the same individuals dishonestly use several identities (some of them sleeper accounts to get round some editing restrictions). Who have these identities pretend to be new users who hae just chanced across the pages. (Just look at the history of the discussion page for the article on them at WIkiepdia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Jewish_Internet_Defense_Force. It hounds the Jewish Chronicle aout privacy issues and at the same time puts up pictures of individuals it dislikes on its own website. It is a group that has article praising Meir Kahane. It is an organisation one of who's members leaves because of the tolerance shown towards forms of racism other than anti-Semitism http://dconservative.blogspot.com/2008/08/is-this-end-of-jidf.html It is an organisation which then uses that member's name as a bogus id on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requests_for_checkuser/Case/Einst.... Now I ask you, is the sort of organisation that behaves in this way and that seems to show particular ire for Jews who challenge it, one with which most Jews should wish to associate themsleves or is it more likely to belong to the extremist fringe where Meir Kahane and his accolytes


    Jewish Internet...

    Mon, 12/08/2008 - 03:06

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    It should be noted that many of Mr. Cohen's comments above about the Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF) and about Appletree are untrue. Thus, we feel this might be defamatory in nature and have asked the JC to remove the offending statement. It is unfortunate that someone is trying to capitalize on the fact that the original article in question was troublesome. We are pursuing our legal options in the UK as we feel the original article about Appletree contained inaccurate information which the JC did not have permission to release. We also feel the JC's interpretation of the PCC case is inaccurate. And finally, we have a new chapter of Peter Cohen going to extreme lengths to try defame Appletree and the JIDF through false statements, assumptions, and allegations. He is actively doing this here on the JC website, a Yahoo group, and on Wikipedia.

    Furthermore, we feel that Mr. Cohen's main problem is that he is listed on our site as someone we feel is a biased, anti-Israel editor on Wikipedia:

    http://www.thejidf.org/2008/10/list-of-heavily-biased-anti-israel.html

    He himself has stated that he is an "anti-Zionist" Jew here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:New_antisemitism&diff=pre...


    JIDF Fanatic

    Mon, 12/08/2008 - 11:37

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    Peter:

    First of all, according to the Jewish Chronicle's rules for this site, you must not: post, link to or otherwise publish any User Material that is unlawful, defamatory, inflammatory,or which contains, in our opinion, any other form of illegal, objectionable or harmful content or which restricts or inhibits another’s use or enjoyment of the website.

    Secondly, I'd like to do a point by point breakdown of Peter's "points" (which are indicated in italics and with "//"):

    //The fact that he uses the Kach version of the logo says more than any of the answers he has given in the interviews he has given either for himself or the JIDF.//

    False. I'm friends with him I don't see him using that logo at all, nor does the JIDF use it. Perhaps he didn't know all that was behind the logo at the time?

    //It is true that the Appletree name is meant to evoke the ghetto//

    I don't think that is necessarily true, either.

    //JIDF themselves feature an article describing the logo as the symbol of the Kach movement in here. http://www.thejidf.org/search/label/kahane%20chai - They are almost certainly the "Jewish activsts" mentioned in the article title.//

    How do you figure? The JIDF has stated categorically that they act within the law and are not hackers.

    //Sabotaging anti-Semitic websites is just such a popular cause among Jewry and one that I have no objections to myself. However, despite Jonathan's rather disingenuous comment, it, like all hacking, is illegal. The Misuse of Computers Act 1990 is just one example of the many laws around the globe that outlaw it.//

    Again, the JIDF has clarified that they do not hack nor do anything which is against the law. For you to claim otherwise without sufficient proof might itself be breaking the law (as it is defamatory).

    //The JIDF is an organisation whose modus operandi is to have the same individuals dishonestly use several identities.....it hounds the Jewish Chronicle about privacy issues and at the same time puts up pictures of individuals it dislikes on its own website.//

    From my understanding, Appletree had a verbal agreement with the JC which he claims they did not adhere to. He also claims that he was misquoted.

    //It is a group that has articles praising Meir Kahane.//

    You mentioned earlier that they have "7 articles praising Kahane" and here you say it again. I have thoroughly reviewed the JIDF sight and don't see them "praising Kahane" at all. Can you please find me anything anywhere which would lead one to believe that the JIDF "praises Kahane?" If not, then you're just making things up again.

    //It is an organisation one of who's members leaves because of the tolerance shown towards forms of racism other than anti-Semitism http://dconservative.blogspot.com/2008/08/is-this-end-of-jidf.html//

    If you go to that site, you can see the JIDF commented on the fact that the person claiming was a member was actually never a member.

    //It is an organisation which then uses that member's name as a bogus id....//

    No proof of this either. Has it ever crossed you mind that people might be claiming to be a part of the JIDF who have no formal ties whatsoever? Has is it ever crossed your mind that people oftentimes act on their own? Do you believe Rabbi Kahane told people to do the things which you'd probably claim he inspired? Is everything that happens that looks like it could be Appletree and/or the JIDF, the JIDF's. fault?

    //is the sort of organisation that behaves in this way and that seems to show particular ire for Jews who challenge it, one with which most Jews should wish to associate themsleves or is it more likely to belong to the extremist fringe where Meir Kahane and his accolytes//

    Well, you can ask that to the each of the members/admins of these groups, who are associated with the JIDF:

    The Jewish Internet Defense Force (Facebook Page)
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=22194342477
    3,177 Members

    Facebook: Delete the group "Israel is not a country"!
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=10450965798
    71,181 members

    I won't go through all of them, but there are about 20+ of these Facebook groups which the JIDF created. They also have friends on Digg, Myspace, YouTube, Twitter, etc. We're talking thousands of people. The JIDF also has a mailing list with thousands of people on it. (They can opt-out any time.)

    So, have fun asking your question to all those folks. Most Jews support Israel and are against anti-semitic and pro-Jihadists trends online. The majority of mainstream Jewry supports Israel and are proud Zionists. It only makes sense that a proud "anti-Zionist" (as stated above) would have such an issue with a proud Jewish, pro-Israel organisation like the JIDF.

    You may not like them or what they are about, but it gives you no right to make up lies and defame them and Appletree....all based on what, a logo?

    -JIDF Fanatic


    Peter Cohen

    Tue, 12/09/2008 - 16:45

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    For those who may be seduced by the claims of the various JIDF representatives who have posted here, you may be interested in looking at this page on the Anti-Defamation League's website http://www.adl.org/terrorism/symbols/kahane_1.asp where the fist-in-star symbol is listed in their international terrorist database. I may not agree with the ADL on everything but they do have a record of fighting racism in general and not just anti-Semitism and also support interfaith work. The JIDF, on the other hand, has been criticised by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung for linking anti-Islamic hate sites.

    As for the attacks on me. It should be noted that the JIDF attacked me on their site only after I pointed out on Wikipedia that the picture of "Appletree" above contained the Kach emblem. One of their members sent me a threatening email containing only the words "you might want to be wary of an organisation whose leader supplies the JC with an image of himself wearing a Kach and Kahane Chai logo". (This being cut out of a post of mine to Wikipedia.) Later that day the attacks against me appeared on the JIDF website. There was no attempt to provide me at the time with an alternative explanation of the symbol. Just the threatening email followed by the personal attack. The fact that they did not choose to convince me of any legitimate origins of the symbol but instead reacted with attacks on me, demonstrates the accuracy of my point. And the fact that the threat against me anticipated the attack on me demonstrates that the individual responsible is influential in the JIDF. This individual has been responsible for much of the vandalism committed on the Wikipedia page on the JIDF and has been identified as using many "sockpuppet" accounts by Wikipedia "Checkuser" specialists.


    JIDF Fanatic

    Wed, 12/10/2008 - 11:55

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    Actually, my understanding of it is that the JIDF reacting to your constant anti-JIDF stance in Wikipedia and your trying to smear the organization on the site. You were edit warring with pro-JIDF editors and tried to insert a lot of your biased point of view into the article about the JIDF. You misinterpreted the FAZ article and then misinterpreted here as well. The article never claimed that the JIDF linked to hate sites, as you are saying here and as you were trying to say via Wikipedia. Regarding the symbol, the JIDF does not use the symbol and I don't see Appletree using it either. Perhaps he had this one photo and submitted it to the JC w/out realizing its full meaning (as per the ADL's analysis of it). Kahane himself experienced a lot of defamation from the ADL, which is ironic. You're just trying to continue this trend, of defaming proud Jews who are pro-Israel. Also, again, no one necessarily affiliated with the JIDF or Appletree was behind any sort of "threatening emails" you claim you received. Telling someone to "be wary" is not necessarily a threat, perhaps they were just looking out for you. Hard to tell, via the internet. The JIDF is busy taking out official Hezbollah forums, as the ACTUAL terrorist organization is threatening them:

    http://www.thejidf.org/2008/12/hezbollah-threats-jidf-thinks-we-are.html

    ....so I'm sure they could care less about what you think or about your false claims against them.