“A sinister internet platform spouting antisemitic conspiracy theories and targeting notable Jews in the UK and worldwide amounts to a modern version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, experts warn in a new report.
Called “Project Nemesis”, the site has many thousands of viewers and uses elaborate precautions to prevent its creators being identified.
It claims that Jews and non-Jewish supporters of Israel profiled on its blacklist have shown themselves to be “Zionist, and consequently racist”, and to have “incited violence or hatred towards Palestinians, anti-Zionists or supporters of Palestine”.
The UK section of the blacklist includes dozens of prominent figures, among them former No10 chief of staff Dan Rosenfield, Lord Mandelson, philanthropist Leonard Blavatnik and former Labour MP Joan Ryan. The site also names targets in the US, Israel, France, Australia, Russia, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.
The site claims they have all “violated the personal safety of Palestinians or pro-Palestinian activists” and are linked to organisations such as Mossad.
It declares that the platform is a “call to political action”. In a barely concealed threat, it adds: “Project Nemesis does not bear responsibility for any consequences stemming from measures taken on the basis of information provided by the project.”
The credo boasts: “This is Project Nemesis, where we document the Networks of Zion.”
It claims: “Israel is not a mere illegitimate occupation, but the result of a vast international network which enables its economic, political and cultural persistence.
“We seek to document this extensive criminal network, demonstrating that it is real, and in certain ways, as influential and malignant as Israel itself.”
Much of the information on the site is demonstrably false, such as the claim that a Soviet-era UN resolution equating Zionism with racism is still in force, when this was long ago overturned.
Project Nemesis can be accessed via a website, dedicated channels on YouTube, phone app Telegram, and Instagram. Its Twitter account was closed down in April.
Though launched only last summer, internet traffic analysis suggests its audience is growing rapidly every month.
The report’s author, Dr Lev Topor of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), told the JC that the steps taken to preserve Project Nemesis’s secrecy and the sophistication of its design suggests it is well-funded.
Dr Topor writes in his report: “This resembles the infamous antisemitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in that it implies that there is a Jewish plot for global domination.
“In addition, Project Nemesis not only documents the ‘Networks of Zion’ but also disseminates them to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.
“This ‘document and disseminate’ strategy is frequently used by terror organisations and radical states in an attempt to influence people in a certain direction.
“In this particular case, that direction is against Jews and Israel.”
Dr Topor’s report adds: “While it is widely known that organisations such as BDS and Hamas and countries such as Russia and Iran engage in both anti-Zionism and antisemitism, the identity of those behind Project Nemesis is hidden behind digital walls.”
As of March 2022, the report says, almost 300,000 people had accessed antisemitic propaganda directly via the Project’s Telegram channel.
However, “the actual reach of Project Nemesis is much greater than it appears”. This is because leading far-right figures, some with many tens of thousands of followers, have shared and disseminated it.
Project Nemesis, the report concludes, “promotes conspiracy theories accusing Jews of controlling the media and global finance.
Moreover, it does by targeting Jews in a demonstrably racist manner”.
It calls on YouTube and Instagram to follow Twitter’s lead and ban its material from their platforms, adding that the “biggest challenge” will be to persuade Telegram to follow suit, since “it currently does not censor or ban racist and antisemitic groups”.”
Dr. Lev Topor, ISGAP Visiting Scholar in Critical Antisemitism Studies, Discrimination and Human Rights at the Woolf Institute (Cambridge). Lev Topor is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Cyber Law and Policy (CCLP) in the University of Haifa and a visiting Research Fellow at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem (Summer 2022).
Lev is the co-author (with Jonathan Fox) of Why Do People Discriminate Jews?, an innovative and ground-breaking book published by Oxford University Press in 2021 that combines traditional theories on antisemitism with empirical evidence from 76 countries to explain the reasons that drive discrimination against Jews. Lev is an interdisciplinary researcher that studies antisemitism alongside cyber-related topics like international cyber policies and anonymous communications.
Lev is frequently invited to lecture about his study of racism and extremism on the Dark Web. Lev is the recipient of the 2019 Robert Wistrich annual award from the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA) and the recipient of the honorary award from the Association of Civil-Military Studies in Israel for his research about the Dark Web.
- Fox, Jonathan and Lev Topor. Why Do People Discriminate Against Jews? Oxford University Press, 2021.
- Topor, Lev. “The Covert War: From BDS to De-legitimization to Antisemitism.” Israel Affairs 27, no. 1 (2021): 166-180.
- Topor, Lev and Alexander Tabachnik. “Russian Cyber Information Warfare: International Distribution and Domestic Control.” Journal of Advanced Military Studies 12, no. 1 (2021): 112-127.
- Topor, Lev. “Dark Hatred: Antisemitism on the Dark Web.” Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism 2 (2019): 25-42.
- Topor, Lev. “Dark and Deep Webs – Liberty or Abuse.” International Journal of Cyber Warfare and Terrorism (IJCWT) 9, no. 2 (2019): 1-14.
- Topor, Lev. “Explanations of Antisemitism in the British Postcolonial Left.” Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism 1, no. 2 (2018): 1-14.