A number of Palestine solidarity activists have received a threatening email from a group calling itself “Brigade Juive,” French for “Jewish Brigade.”
Anyone receiving this or a similar email should not click on any links in it and should not open any attachments.
These emails may contain malware – malicious programs that are used to harm computer users and compromise networks.
They should report to local authorities anything they consider a threat.
The email begins in French with the words “Dear boycotter.”
It then says in English, “We have are [sic] a very particular set of skills, skills We [sic] have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make us a nightmare for people like you.”
It concludes in French, “In brief, you boycotters should understand, now we will scalp you one by one, group by group, association by association.”
The email contains a link to a website for the Brigade Juive, an extremist Jewish group that purports to defend Israel and Jewish communities. The website also purports to “expose” activists with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for allegedly nefarious activities.
The group’s name appears to be a reference to the Jewish Brigade that fought with British forces during the Second World War and whose members helped colonize Palestine as part of the Zionist movement.
On its Facebook page, Brigade Juive claims to have sent the email to more than 8,000 addresses.
The group also claims that its violent threat of “scalping” activists is “used in the figurative sense.”
The harassment comes as Israel’s government has ramped up its own threats and intimidation against activists.
Given the history of violence by far right-wing Jewish groups, the apparent threat is being taken seriously.
The Electronic Intifada has been sent independent reports of the email being received by activists in Europe, some of whom are reporting it to authorities on the basis that it constitutes a threat of violence.
Association France Palestine Solidarité, an advocacy group for Palestinian rights, also sent an alert to members urging them to report the threatening email to DILCRA, the French interior ministry’s body to combat racism and anti-Semitism.
Extreme anti-Palestinian groups in France have a history of using online attacks against their targets.
Gregory Chelli, the former Jewish Defense League hacker known as Ulcan, in 2014 reportedly launched a cyber attack against the website of Rue89 after French reporter Benoît Le Corre wrote a critical profile of him.
Ulcan is known to have been involved in several malicious attacks targeting BDS activists in France, one of which possibly precipitated the death of Le Corre’s father.
Practice good security
Activists, journalists and others should make it a priority to always practice good online security.
Here are some resources:
Online self-defense advice from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Digital Security Helpline is a free-of-charge resource for civil society around the world.