What do you do with a problem like Nazi internet trolls?

Last week, Talkin’ Reckless was the subject of a blog post on a Neo-Nazi website. Ever since then, I’ve been getting a lot of shockingly graphic, anti-semitic, hatemail. I’m talking “Elders of Zion”-type shit. To be honest, I was taken aback. I can’t say I’ve ever had that kind of Nazi-speak directed at me, personally, before. I’ve grown up not completely sheltered from anti-semitism, but luckily it was rare. Much more common was just ignorance, like the kind revealed in the “Shit Christians Say to Jews” video. But there’s a big difference between ignorant comments and hateful comments. And boy howdy, was I getting some hate.

Now, I know as much as the next person how important it is not to feed the trolls. And these Nazi commenters are trolls of the worst order — the angry, threatening kind. I tried to ignore the whole thing. But everyday, new anti-semitic threats and slurs kept showing up in my inbox.

Two of my grandparents are Holocaust survivors. They lived in the Lodz ghetto in Poland and were both sent to Auschwitz, although they didn’t meet each other until after the war. I always felt that they, and my dad (their son), were paranoid about anti-semitism. I mean, the paranoia was pretty damn rational for them, but it never felt like a real threat to me. Then again, I had never received emails from people saying they’d like to put me in an oven before.

I’ve taken a few days to think about it — whether I should respond, and if so, what I should say. I figured out what I wanted to say long before I decided whether I should say anything at all. I made a video. And then I agonized about whether or not to share it.

“You’re just going to bait them and get worse hatemail,” said a friend. “Why are you taunting them?” It’s true. I probably will get more hatemail. But is this just feeding the trolls, or is this a chance to say something important? To call attention to the reality that old-school anti-semitism still lives (even if it is in a small and pathetic sort of way).

In the end I thought about my grandparents. How would they feel if they knew their granddaughter was getting this sort of hatemail? They loved to say things like “I didn’t survive the Holocaust so you could drop out of high school and become a janitor.” Or maybe it was my dad who loved to say that… (“Your grandparents didn’t survive the Holocaust so you could get a tattoo!)

Well here’s what I have to say: My grandparents didn’t survive the Holocaust so that I should stand silently and be bullied by racist idiots.

It may not be the most mature way to handle internet trolls, but at least I live in a world where I’m free to express myself, free to be Jewish, and free to delete emails without reading them.

So, without further ado, this is what I have to say:

14 thoughts on “What do you do with a problem like Nazi internet trolls?

  1. Just came across a link to your blog post on Twitter. Thank you for writing this – it’s very important to remind people that antisemitism is still an issue. You should be so proud of yourself for being an upstander, when it’s so much easier to just be a bystander.

  2. Wow, such a great video. Three of my grandparents died in the Shoah. I’m glad we Jews have the power now! Just try coming out behind your anonymous threats and see how long you last. Never again!

  3. Great video. Looks solid. These racist Goyim infuriate me. Stay strong. Reckless. Angry. It keeps me motivated. Want to see how strong, reckless, and angry you can get.

  4. Tikkun Olam and equality seem incongruous to me, though I suppose atheism doesn’t necessarily obstruct Talmudic reasoning.

    • That’s not really much better than the neo-Nazis themselves. Speaking as a goy, it’s not the faith – it’s the person. Most of my friends are Jewish, and for many of them their faith is a large part of what I love about them, but I’ve also met some Jews that I, quite frankly, want to spend as little time with as possible – some because of loudly expressed opinions that are, to them, are a part of their Jewishness. My response to them, however, is not “Wow, Jews suck” or “Wow, can’t trust Jews.” It’s usually “Wow, that was a person who hates the things that I believe in. I will try to avoid this person in the future, and be thankful that this person does not speak for the majority of the people of their faith.”

      Being a goy does not make you a hateful, ignorant person. Distrust large groups of people if you must, but please – don’t brand me with the same iron as the skinheads who would say these things to someone they’ve never met.

  5. These wicked goyim with their emails should be punished beyond the fullest extent of the law. Free speech doesn’t include hate speech for privileged white males. Calling a Jew such hideous names is like shouting “Fire!” in a crowded shul. I’m sorry you had to experience such horrible treatment from these cowards, Leah. It’s like having to relive a little bit of the Shoah with oven comments and the like. I’m glad you are sticking it to those haters and HARD! Never lose your utopian ideals and never take trolling by Nazis lying down.

  6. LEAH I am appaled that u allow the publishing of CODED ANTI-SEMITIC MESSAGES in your comment box?! Are you not paying attention to what you approve here? Listen, just because something sounds supportive and positive to you you always need to read it over a few times to find the secret coded message that Neo-Nazis and other trash are using these days to communicate with one another!! You can never be sure that a message that sounds harmless and progressive is not really a SECRET CODE. if i were you i would go back through some of oyur old comments and see if u haven’t been publishing these all along. I can’t believe you’ve never heard of this?! If you can handle the math you may also want to take some cryptography courses.

    • Sorry, I have never heard of this. Care to enlighten me as to which are antisemitic and what the coding is so I can spot it in the future?

  7. LEAH! LOOK AT THE COMMENT FROM SHANIQUA. WHAT DO THE FIRST LETTERS OF EACH WORD SPELL?! Some people have accused me of being paranoid but I think when it comes to the security of Our People paranoia is RATIONAL and NECESSARY. It’s INSANE to not be paranoid. I really think you should start looking much more carefully at the messages that are delivered to you and maybe go over older comments, email, comments on Youtube. YOU WILL BE APPALLED AND AMAZED AT THE MESSAGES THEY HAVE SENT ONE ANOTHER, in the DISGUISE OF YOUR FRIENDS. You are young and I hate to tell you this but a Jew never truly has non-Jewish friends. Never forget that they are out to destroy us and will use every clever little trick, secret, code in the book. And while I hate to say it, we cannot even feel comfortable as Jews around African-Americans (Shaniqua is an African-American name), in spite of our shared history of oppression. This is a FUNDAMENTAL FEATURE of our unique circumstances as a Chosen and Holy people.

    NEVER FORGET how the Lord helped Daniel to see the secret meaning of the words written on Belshazzar’s (another enemy of the Jewish people) walls. The Lord made Daniel see the message that was obscured from lesser men, it may be His will to let you see as well, so that you may be safe. I know you are not with the faith right now but I trust that in time, like many Jews before you, you will come to understand His plan and protection for Our People and our unique power in this world.

    • Thanks for letting me know about the codes, but I absolutely refuse to join you in your feeling that all Non-Jews are “out to destroy us.” Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Any further posts on that subject will be deleted.

      • I understand. You are young and, I think, a little naive – a dangerous thing to be in this world. Just stay ALERT and please… stay safe..

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