When researching extremism, particularly online extremism, one needs to be conscious of many layers of depth. Peeling that onion takes time, effort and expertise. Experts are needed to raise the alarm when there is an emerging threat, but also not to play into the hands of neo-Nazis when they engage in attention-seeking publicity stunts.
The latest headline grabbing Nazi stunt from an Australian neo-Nazi group possibly occurred by accident, it or might have been planned. An online post by the group on April’s Fools’ Day facetiously proposed a new campaign called “Operation Ashkenazi Strange”. The “campaign” called on Nazis to seduce Jewish women in order to “breed out the Jewish race”. There are many reasons to conclude that this post was absurd and facetious and should not have been given attention. The most obvious is simply the fact it was posted on April first. Further, it should be obvious that Nazi ideology is obsessed with bogus concepts of “race”, “Aryans” and “untermenschen” (especially Jews). Preventing inter-breeding between the latter two groups, as per the Nazi Nuremberg laws, is of fundamental importance to them. Their aim is not to “breed” with Jews but to remove Jews from the world completely, both physically and “biologically”.
Unfortunately, a local anti-racism organisation not only picked it up, also but took the message seriously and at face value. The organisation seems to have missed the content’s absurdity and bogus nature, the date it was posted, and the comments in response by Nazi followers. In fact, it seems likely that the Nazis themselves sent the post to the organisation and calculated that the organisation would be fooled into making an over-the-top response damaging the organisation and promoting the Nazi group. The Nazi group has clearly been trolling the organisation for some time, with both antisemitic emails and emails pretending to be concerned members of the community. At least one Australian newspaper and one international media outlet picked up the story, named the group and gave them extra publicity while further hyping public fears. The Nazis no doubt delighted in this. They normally have to expend far more effort to cause this amount of fear and harm. In fact, without the unwitting cooperation of the anti-racism organisation and the media, this stunt would have had very little impact at all.
Media coverage is sometimes, but not always, the best approach to reduce antisemitism and the threat of extremism. There are many other ways to respond to antisemitism, depending on the context and circumstances. Any “one-size fits all” approach to responding to antisemitism is going to fail often and may cause harm when it does. This particular post with its “Hail Hitler” ending and opening address to National Socialists (aka Nazis), Klansmen (i.e. KKK), and racists is clearly intended to be racist antisemitic humour for April fools’ day. Dealing with these particular neo-Nazis and their online activities needs a range of different approaches, carefully thought through and tailored to each situation.
The remainder of this article looks at the post itself, the neo-Nazi group that posted it, the platform where it was posted, and the response it triggered by both neo-Nazis and anti-racists. We end with some recommendations. For your convenience, this article can also be downloaded as PDF.
In this report we have redacted the names of various groups and people. Jews against fascism, whose analysis we include, is an exception following discussion with them.
Nazi’s Post in Detail & Our Analysis
The post, made on April 1st on the Gab Social Media platform, reads:
This coming weekend, we want every honourable White man, National Socialist, klansman, skinhead, racist, out on the town for Operation Ashkenazi Strange.
The operation is quite simple:
1. Go out clubbing in Jew area
2. Seduce sexy Jewesses
3. Breed out the Jewish race with Alpha Aryan Australian power
Get to it gentlemen! Let’s go!
Here’s the original image, the group’s logo has been redacted along with their name, profile picture and handle. The image contains a white board which has far more detail on this “plan”.
The text on the white board read:
Operation Ashkenazi Strange
1. Go out clubbing in Jew area (Caulfield, Elsternwick, etc.)
2. Seduce sexy Melbourne Jewesses
3. Breed out the Jewish race with Alpha Aryan Australian POWER
* Don’t tell missus (may be considered cheating)
* Jewish women don’t like our views, don’t talk about Hitler for 3 hours challenge (HARD)
* Run so many Nazi trains on Jewbitch, her nickname will become Auschwitz
* DONALD TRUMP WHITE POWER
* You need consent, rape doesn’t count (also illegal)
* “If a man won’t fuck he won’t fight” – GLR
* Don’t tell the moderates, they’re not ready
Seduce Kristina Keneally ???
She can’t proscribe us if we are breeding her
The idea of “breeding out” the Jewish race by having male neo-Nazis father children with Jewish women, the entire premise of this “plan”, is absurd in both a Jewish religious sense and a Nazi ideological sense. Under Jewish religious law, the children of a Jewish mother are Jewish. Under Nazi “racial purity” ideology, even having one Jewish grandparent was sufficient to deem one Jewish. The entire White Supremacist ideology, which neo-Nazis like this group supports, is about maintaining racial purity. The entire premise is simply absurd.
The idea of not talking about Hitler, seducing the women, the explicit direction to get consent, all highlights that even as a joke this is not intended to suggest sexual violence. The line “Run so many Nazi trains on Jewbitch, her nickname will become Auschwitz” is at odds with this and appears to be included as “Holocaust humour” more than “rape humour”, though it is clearly both. Understanding the comment required two lots of background:
- Auschwitz is a complex built in Nazi occupied Poland that contained both concentration camps and extermination camps. It became the emblematic site of the Nazi’s “final solution”, the plan to carry out a genocide on the Jews of Europe. Over 1 million Jews died at Auschwitz after being transported there by rail from across the Nazi controlled territories. The site was likely chosen as it was already a significant railway junction with 44 parallel train tracks. Today the tracks leading to Auschwitz are an immediately recognizable image the world over.
- The slang dictionary explains that “running a train” is slang for “group sex involving one woman and multiple men who had sex with her in sequence”. The phrase can be traced back to 1949 and denoted a form of gang rape. The dictionary notes that since the 1970s the term can be used for either consensual group sex or gang rape. This said, the US Cable channel, Black Entertainment Television, has a powerful article on “running trains” and how it introduces black boys to rape culture.
In the picture the neo-Nazis are all wearing pendants with the “sonnenrad” or black sun. This is a Nazi symbol that neo-Nazis and other white supremacists are increasingly using instead of the Swastika. The symbol was appropriated by the Nazis (as they did with the swastika itself) and is also used in some other non-racist context, but its use by neo-Nazis is rising rapidly. White supremacist images of the attack on the US Capitol on January 6th made regular use of it.
“Kristina Keneally” is a reference to Senator the Hon Kristina Keneally, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and Shadow Minister for Home Affairs. She was previously the Premier of the State of NSW. Senator Keneally is known as an observant Christian and holds an M.A. in Religious Studies. Given she is in opposition she has no power over who is proscribed. The Minister for Home Affairs is the Hon Karen Andrews MP, but she only took on the role on March 30th and the neo-Nazis likely hadn’t kept up with the cabinet reshuffle.
The line “If a man won’t fuck he won’t fight – GLR” It comes from the 1986 book “The Captains” by W.E.B. Griffin, part of his “Brotherhood of War” series. The lines appear in a passage where the UN Supreme Commander is directing the Commanding General of the US forces to take some rest and recuperation time. The US General responds that he’s little old for what the troops do with their R&R and this exchange follows:
“As Georgie Patton once said,’ A soldier who won’t fuck, won’t fight,'” the Supreme Commander said.
“That wasn’t Georgie, that was Phil Sheridan,” the XIX Corps commander said.
Griffin also uses it in a number of his other books. The quote is attributed to various US Generals in online sources but Griffin and his fictional attribution to General Patton or General Sheridan appears to be the actual source. The meaning in this neo-Nazi post is to make out that in their campaign consensual sex, despite the neo-Nazis not wanting to do it, will be a means of war.
Who are these neo-Nazis?
While we make a point of not naming the neo-Nazi group, the group that posted this is the same group that secured front page headlines when they went walking, Nazi saluting and cross burning through the Grampian Ranges / Gariwerd on the Australia Day weekend in January 2021.
It is a merger of two groups, one of which was a neo-Nazi youth group that we have tracked since 2015 when they were a mere idea posted to an overseas neo-Nazi forum. Our research into them has been reported by various media outlet including an excellent piece by Josh Butler. This self-described “Nazi youth group” carried out a “training” camping trip at the same national park in the Grampian Ranges / Gariwerd back in 2017 and secured significant media headlines at the time.
When they carried out the same stunt after rebranding, I called it for the attention seeking it was, first on The World Today on ABC Radio then in a live TV interview with ABC News which MSN then picked up globally. This 2021 trip was not a sign of significantly greater organisation among Australian neo-Nazi, nor was it a sign of growing neo-Nazism in Australia. It was little more than a rebranding exercise. New name, new logo, time for new media coverage to get it known.
The group does everything it can to get attention. In one post from February 17, 2021, they say they have a neo-Nazi “Internet Defence Force”. This is a play on the Jewish Internet Defence Force which for years did significant damage to online antisemitic activities and is still used in memes as a boogeyman in antisemitic online communities like /pol/ on 4chan and formerly on 8chan / 8kun. The post names the Chairman of the Australian anti-racism organisation that sounded the alarm over their April fools’ day post and says that most of his e-mail correspondence is with them “posing as both friend and foe”.
In a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security earlier this year we noted that along with their website, which includes a giant swastika in its code, this particular neo-Nazi group appeared focused on Gab and Telegram. Their use of technology providers, including for their website, is consistently focused on providers where Australian regulators will find it most difficult to get cooperation to disrupt them.
The Gab Platform
Gab is an alternative social media platform that is a cross between mainstream platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Launched in 2016, it has been home to the Alt-Right, white supremacists and since the attack on the US Capitol, the conspiracy movement QAnon. The founder of Gab, Andrew Torba, has explicitly stated that he doesn’t believe hate speech is real and the platform does not have a policy against it.
For more in-depth discussion on Gab, the Capitol attack, and the use of Gab in US politics, see the American Jewish Congress reports and in particular the new report they will be releasing on April 6th (the 3 month anniversary of the attack).
Australians tend to be over-represented in the more extreme forms of internet culture and its no surprise that Australian neo-Nazis would choose Gab as one of their key platforms for community building.
Social Media Response
On social media the neo-Nazis themselves didn’t find this post funny. The anti-racism organisation that rang the alarm bell posted multiple times about it and the threat it posed. An anti-fascist group responded calling it out for the April fools’ day prank it was and noting the harm that is done by giving it a media profile.
The neo-Nazi comments
The response on Gab itself by the supporters of the neo-Nazi group were generally not complementary. If it wasn’t for the reaction against the post outside Gab, the stunt would have been a complete failure.
Many expressed contempt:
- “If this is typical mentality of Aust’s main neo Nazi group.. how woefully nowhere.. the whole Seige waffen head Anarchist 3P Antifa poser infiltration has totally fucked all chance the farRight had of getting anywhere except being further marginalised & put away under bs domestic terror charges..”
- “What would rightfully happen to you if did such a disgrace in Nazi Germany? How could that have the slightest benefit to the purity of the Aryan bloodline? & only to the opposite help the Jew further acquire & supplant our gene pool.. makes about as much sense as yelling KKK in the hills.. didn’t Hitler ban the evil judeo Freemasonry thru out Nazi Europe.. have you researched how much influence Freemasonry had into creating the KKK..?” – This taking the group to task not only for this post, but also for their previous publicity stunt. The outrage was so clear someone else comment in reply, “I think it’s a joke dude” to try calm this person down.
- “[…]how to somehow get over the great Jew holohoax divide in the trad Right? You need to start, promote & maintain a Victorian anti Communist front & league & gear it to be something that everyone would want to get behind.. Jewry & the spineless puppet show in Canberra has made Australia China’s Welcome doormat who now economically owns the country from behind the scenes.. This school boy level crap is only going to totally repel needed individuals of standing from wanting to support..”
Some just took it as an opportunity to express their neo-Nazism. Two of the comments came from accounts where the name or handle included the Nazi magic numbers 14 and 88. The 14 is for the 14 words, a white supremacy slogan from the United States. 88 is two lots of 8, with the 8th letter of the alphabet being H, 88 is short for HH or Heil Hitler. “Australia For the White Man” one wrote, while the other from an account that also identified as a QAnon supporter wrote “I’m a proud national socialist in Australia. Rise without fear”.
Another user comments, “How easy the Left mainstream could take this out & use to defame & deface any vestige of credibility of the farRight.. just giving them a juicy morsel to feed on & stoke the neoNazi stereotype..” It’s unclear if they were serious or if this was designed to encourage anti-racists to react to the main post. Some clearly felt this user had missed the point with one person replying, “How can you look at this and not clearly see its a meme?”
Another person replied to the above discussion by commenting on the unfolding response by the anti-racism organisation that was ringing the alarm bell. Using the three parentheses “echo” antisemites used to denote a Jew, they wrote, “(((they))) can see, but they also have spun it to propagandize the public. Of course they are utter liars, the filthy clone in Australia is saying this is calling for jewish women to get raped, when it clearly states to not do that on the board. It’s ironic that they think white men breeding jewish women is genocide, when they promote the exact thing for other races to do to whites and they advocate mass non-white immigration into countries built by whites for their white progeny.”
Anti-Racism Post 1
A post make on the morning of April 3rd by the Chairman of the anti-Racism charity refers to an article in one of Australia’s leading newspapers which discussed antisemitism and harassment against him by the group in question, but as he said in the post “did not include the full details”.
He goes on to say the neo-Nazi group “called on their followers to go out on the prowl for Jewish women and gang-rape them”. He says he’s asked to speak to the Acting Police Minister about it and urges people to write to their local members of parliament to “convince state and federal governments to outlaw this dangerous group and designate them as a terrorist organisation”.
Comment in response to this post include:
- This is scary!!!!
- Shocking news!! Very disturbing!!
- Absolutely brainless individuals, and the government does nothing.
- This is so disgusting 🤮
- We will never not fight back again !! NEVER !!! writing to my local MP will not help !! If I see one first g-d help them !!!
- This is so disturbing…
- This is threatening language so illegal and criminal.
Anti-Racism Post 2
A post made on Saturday included a closeup of the board as well as copy of the post which was captured on April 2nd and which shows the post was made the previous day. Yellow highlight has been applied (by the anti-racism charity) to highlight parts of the message about the Jewish area of Melbourne and line that is both a “Holocaust joke” and a “rape joke”. It focuses the emphasis away from other lines which run in contradiction to this.
Comments in response to this post include:
- The fact that they’re allowed to continue threatening hate crimes means the police and government don’t care!
- Where’s the explanation for this picture? How can there be no more details
- Typical backwards colonisers, not very intelligent and sexual predators
- Disgusting. Surely this is illegal and authorities can do something?
Anti-Racism Post 3
A post by Jews against fascism noted the April fools’ day nature of the post and the way that sharing the content was playing into the neo-Nazis’ hands. We couldn’t agree more. The trolling element they pick up is very real and as much an issue as the antisemitism and misogyny.
An international news source also seems to have been gulled into taking the post at face value. It carried the headline “Australian neo-Nazis call for Aryans to ‘breed out the Jewish race’”. The article quotes the anti-racism group that raised the alert as saying “These stomach-churning posts not only reveal the true nature of the neo-Nazi beast in our country, but a rising climate of radicalization in which Hitler worshippers openly fantasize about gassing a Jewish leader and call on unrepentant bigots to be on the hunt and rape Jewish women and share such threats online”.
An Australian Jewish media source reported the anti-racism charity as summarising the post as directions to their ‘followers to “go on the prowl for Jewish women and gang-rape them”’. It quotes the anti-racism charity as saying, “All bets are off in the war that these hardcore Aryans have declared against Australian Jews, and the lid has been taken of the sewer of pure antisemitism… the brutal vitriol and the ferocity of the invective targeting me and the Jewish community is terrifying. Still, this cesspool pit of intimidation will not deter me from calling out these demagogues of hate.”
As noted above, another Australian newspaper appears to have declined to write about this particular example in an article they published about other antisemitic content from the group.
- This neo-Nazi group is not (at this time) a terrorist organisation. They should be dealt with by the law, but under a range of criminal provisions related to misuse of telecommunications, stalking and harassment.
- Existing anti-racism / anti-vilification legislation needs to be strengthened. This has already been recommended by the Victorian Parliament after a detailed inquiry (see the report released in March 2021). These recommendations should be accepted, and proper funding should be put in place to implement the recommendations.
- As a country, we do not have the capacity for dealing with this sort of online problem. Governments at all levels need to invest more in tackling online vilification and this needs specific expertise. It also needs partnerships between government, civil society and technology platforms.
- Some platforms like Gab do not take an appropriate stance against hate speech, but do claim to respect local law. That should be put to the test via government-based complaints.
- Government should not be responsible for alerting any online platform to every violation of local laws. Instead there should be penalties if the level of non-compliance gets too high. If a platform like Gab chooses to block access from Australia rather than deal with their hate speech problem… that wouldn’t be a great loss.
This report was created by Dr Andre Oboler, CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute.