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Target of Anti-Semitism and a Fiery Responder

The rise of the anti-Semitic “alt right” this year sent chills through the Jewish world and beyond. And no one was more affected or more spirited in her response than Julia Ioffe.

Instead of huddling in fear, Ioffe pushed back against the trolls.

The virulent Jew hatred was worst online, where Jews were threatened and marked out by the (((echoes))) plugin, and Nazi-style memes were sent around by “alt-right” groups. Well-known Jewish figures were trolled brutally by pseudonymous Twitter personalities.

Ioffe, a 34-year-old Jewish journalist, found herself on the receiving end of a particularly toxic stream of Twitter hate in April, after her profile of Melania Trump was published in GQ magazine. Donald Trump has received and not disavowed alt-right and neo-Nazi support for months.

Ioffe received anonymous phone calls playing Hitler speeches and was sent images showing a stereotypical cartoon of a Jew being shot. Images of her face superimposed onto an Auschwitz mug shot in a concentration camp uniform with a yellow star were tweeted at her.

Instead of huddling in fear, Ioffe pushed back against the trolls — highlighting for the rest of us (and her 60,000 followers on social media) just how serious a problem online anti-Semitism in the era of Trump has become. Indeed, Ioffe’s experience was one of the high-profile racist attacks against Jewish journalists that prompted the Anti-Defamation League to launch its special task force on hate speech and journalists.

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