Police are investigating after a Holocaust survivor was told “we will then kill more of you” in messages on Twitter.
The tweets, sent by a user calling himself Ahmed Bassam using a now-deleted Twitter handle called @AHMEDBA84169776, were written in Arabic and translated by Campaign Against Antisemitism. The user sent five threatening tweets to Agnes Grunwald-Spier, a Holocaust survivor.
The first tweet read: “Warning [you]: we haven’t finished with you yet. We will cut your heads off or blow them up into (bloodied) shreds until you leave our land.”
The second tweet read: “You are rapists [forceful grabbers of our land], and my Mother Ahlam Al Tamimi defended us and our land only, and if you don’t leave our land Palestine we will then kill more of you, and even if my mother Ahlam Al Tamimi were deported or jailed or was martyred [sic] then definitely thousands will be born [and come forward] like my mother Ahlam Al-Tamimi.”
Ahlam Al-Tamimi is a Jordanian terrorist convicted by Israel for her involvement in the Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing. Although she received multiple life sentences, she was released in an exchange to free a kidnapped Israeli soldier.
The other three tweets were similarly threatening.
Dr Grunwald-Spier said: “As a single woman living alone, I found it quite scary. I immediately reported all five tweets to Twitter and they acted remarkably quickly to suspend the account because of the abusive and violent nature of the tweets. I think it’s important to take action against people who seem to think it is okay to send these sort of messages in the public domain. People need to understand that such behaviour, which breaches the International Definition of Antisemitism, is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. I don’t know if he lives in the United Kingdom but if he does he should be prosecuted with maximum publicity to ensure that a message of no-tolerance is spread widely.”
Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “We welcome the police investigation into these despicable threats against Agnes Grunwald-Spier, a Holocaust survivor. Far from ending with the Holocaust, antisemitism is reaching vast audiences due to the irresponsibility of social media companies. That on this occasion Twitter acted so quickly shows that, contrary to their claims, these companies are able to stamp out racist hatred on their platforms, so the question arises as to why they do it so rarely. We are assisting the victim and applaud her for reporting the threats, and we entirely agree that the offender must bear the full force of the law.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews almost four times more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.
Campaign Against Antisemitism continues its robust engagement with social media companies over the content that they enable to be published, and we continue to make representations to the Government in this connection.