December 15, 2020
A Hebrew school in Long Island, New York, was hacked with neo-Nazi imagery that also resulted in leaked personal information about students enrolled at the academy.
The school that was targeted was The North Shore Hebrew Academy in the Great Neck area. The Stop Antisemitism.org watchdog first tweeted about the incident, sharing a video of “Nazi songs, imagery, messages” being played on a student’s laptop and noting that the hackers “also leaked students’ and teachers’ addresses and credit card information.” The Jewish group also tweeted screenshots from the hack, showing messages such as “stop editing k— I can see your webcam” and “May Allah save your soul.”
Additionally, the hack also resulted in images of Adolf Hitler and a fake application for a field trip to Auschwitz with the deadline being “January 1945” and that students and their guardians will have to “declare themselves as Jews” in a Nazi office.
Daniel Vitow, the headmaster of the school, told The New York Post that they were working with law enforcement on the matter.
Jewish groups condemned the hack.
“Appalled to see antisemites targeting a Jewish school with cyberhate,” Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted. “[ADL New York/New Jersey] is working with school administrators to solve the problem and with authorities to identify the culprits.”
Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs and the daughter of Holocaust survivors, similarly said in a statement, “StandWithUs condemns the disturbing antisemitic images and photos used to hack the system of the North Shore Hebrew Academy in Great Neck, NY. We value our long-standing relationship with this school community, including our many High School Interns there over the years, and have reached out to learn more and offer our support. We thank the Nassau County Police Department for investigating this incident and for ensuring the school is safe for our students. We urge anyone with helpful information to please contact the police department.”
Stop Antisemitism noted in a later tweet that this is the first time that a Google video platform, which the school was using, has been hacked. “Could yesterday’s worldwide Google outage have given these sophisticated hackers an entry way into the school?” they asked.
Local leaders also denounced the hack.
“I am disgusted by the anti-Semitic online attack on the North Shore Hebrew Academy,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement. “There is a zero-tolerance policy for anti-Semitism or any kind of bigotry in Nassau County. We will never accept anyone being abused or intimidated in this county because of who they are.”
New York State Senator Anna Kaplan, a Democrat, similarly said in a statement, “It’s truly unthinkable that anyone could be so consumed by anti-Semitism and hatred that they would commit such a vile and repugnant crime against our community during Chanukah, but this is a horrific reminder that hatred and anti-Semitism are alive and well even in our own backyards, and we must ALL speak out in no uncertain terms that we reject it at every opportunity and in every corner of our community. The entire community stands with the students, families and staff of the Shore Hebrew Academy community during this difficult time, and our law enforcement has my full support to ensure this vile hate crime is prosecuted and the neo-Nazis responsible for it are brought to justice.”
U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), whose district includes Long Island, also tweeted that the hack was a “vile anti-Semitic attack” and that “the perpetrators must be held accountable. We will never allow this hatred in our communities.”
The American Jewish Committee thanked Rice “for standing with the Jewish community and for your unambiguous condemnation of antisemitism. Hate has no place in Long Island or anywhere else in America.”
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