(JTA) – Pro-Palestinian hackers briefly took over the Pittsburgh Jewish Federation’s feed on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
Hours later, after retaking control, the federation deleted its account on the platform. The federation said the hack impacted its Facebook account as well.
The hack took place less than two weeks after the deadliest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, in Israel, and just days before the fifth anniversary of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, which was the worst antisemitic attack in American history.
“I’m appalled by the clear hacking of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s account,” wrote. Sheila Katz, the CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, who drew attention to the hack in a post on X. “The audacity is truly egregious. If anyone understands the impact of violence & trauma inflicted upon Jews, it’s them. They’ve already endured far too much.”
Jewish communal officials have been on the alert for cyber attacks since Hamas’ invasion of Israel, which killed 1,400 and wounded thousands more. More than 3,700 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s ensuing war on the terror group in the Gaza Strip.
Before dawn on Thursday, the hackers replaced the banner photo of the federation’s social media feed with a Palestinian flag emblazoned with the phrases “Free Palestine” and “Stop the Genocide.” The hashtags #JewsAgainstGenocide and #FreePalestine were added to the bio blurb on the feed, “Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s vision is a flourishing community where everyone feels included & supported.” An appended link led to an Egyptian Red Crescent donation page.
Officials of the federation quickly reassumed control of the feed, and as of later Thursday morning, a photo of a family had replaced the Palestinian flag and the hashtags were removed. The link to the federation’s web page was restored.
By the afternoon, however, the account was deleted. Its profile was blank and a form message read, “This account doesn’t exist. Try searching for another.”
“We made a strategic decision to take down our Twitter page,” a spokesperson for the organization told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. In an earlier statement, a spokesperson said, “We can confirm that our Facebook and Twitter accounts were accessed by unauthorized parties and are now recovered and secured. We are not aware of other active threats at this time.”
Before being deleted, the Pittsburgh federation’s Twitter page appears to have been inactive for a year or so. The federation’s Facebook page is more active, and includes statements and actions in solidarity with Israel amid its war with Hamas.
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Thousands gather for pro-Israel rally in NYC 30 days after Oct. 7 massacre
(New York Jewish Week) — Thousands gathered next to Central Park on Monday night for a vigil and rally marking 30 days since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
Speakers at the event, held along Central Park West on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, mourned the attack’s 1,400 victims, demanded the release of the more than 200 hostages held by Hamas and decried rampant antisemitism in the U.S. in recent weeks. Organizers estimated the crowd size at around 12,000 people.
Participants carried photos of the hostages and signs reading, “Bring our children home,” “Let my people go,” and “We stand with Israel.” Thousands streamed past police cruisers on their way to the event chanting, “Bring them home” and singing Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikvah.”
Speakers included Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Daniel Goldman, both Jewish Democrats; actors Brett Gelman and Debra Messing; and two relatives of hostages. Israeli singers Gad Elbaz and Idan Raichel performed for the audience.
The rally occurred around the 30-day milestone that traditionally marks the end of an acute Jewish mourning period, known as shloshim, following a death. It happened a little more than a week before a mass pro-Israel is due to take place on the National Mall in Weshington D.C. That rally will also call for the release of the hostages, decry antisemitism and cheer on continued American support for Israel as it fights a war against Hamas in Gaza, with the aim of deposing the terror group.
Ofri Haggai, an Israeli whose aunt and uncle were shot and taken hostage by Hamas, told the crowd, “All I’m asking from anyone who can help us is to bring all the hostages home.”
“They are not part of any conflict, they are not part of any war, they are civilians, babies, kids, mothers, fathers, grandparents who just want to be brought home safely,” she said.
Haggai knows only that her aunt and uncle were badly injured and kidnapped. She does not know if they have received any medical care or their whereabouts, she said.
Goldman decried a “small but very loud fringe” in Congress that has opposed Israel since the attack, and urged the crowd to keep demonstrating to shore up support for the country. His mention of President Joe Biden, who has firmly supported Israel, drew cheers from the crowd.
“Every opportunity you have to rally, to express your support for Israel, I promise you it matters,” he said.
The event was led by the UJA Federation New York and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, and was co-sponsored by an array of Jewish groups including the Israeli American Council, the Anti-Defamation League, the Union for Reform Judaism and the Orthodox Union.
The post Thousands gather for pro-Israel rally in NYC 30 days after Oct. 7 massacre appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.