Russian anti-Semitism, Russian propaganda, Russian disinformation, Congress | Homeland Security Newswire

The Russia connectionLawmakers urge State Department to counter Russia’s anti-Semitic propaganda

Published 30 March 2018

S ix senators called on called on Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan to commit to countering anti-Semitic Russian propaganda identified by the intelligence community, the Anti-Defamation League, and social media networks. The senators pressed Sullivan to devote part of the $120 million recently provided to the State Department to counter Russian disinformation to specifically target Russian anti-Semitic propaganda.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and five of his colleagues called on Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan to commit to countering anti-Semitic Russian propaganda identified by the intelligence community, the Anti-Defamation League, and social media networks. The senators pressed Sullivan to devote part of the $120 million recently provided to the State Department to counter Russian disinformation to specifically target Russian anti-Semitic propaganda. The senators also called for diplomatic staff to be trained to recognize and respond to disinformation attacks, and to prioritize working with American allies to develop a unified strategy against Russian efforts to undermine democracy.

“Our intelligence agencies have assessed that Russia uses paid social media users or ‘trolls’ to conduct covert divisive influence campaigns against the United States. The Anti-Defamation League identified a startling volume of anti-Semitic harassment throughout social media during the recent presidential election. Data disclosed to the Senate Judiciary Committee by Twitter and other social media platforms demonstrates that Russia amplifies hate speech and promotes nativist extremist ideologies in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere,” wrote the senators. “We urge you to work with us as the threats posed against our nation take new forms and to continue the United States’ historic and unique role in the defense of religious liberty.”

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), and Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) also signed the letter.

The full text of the letter: 

Dear Acting Secretary Sullivan:

 We urge you to contain and confront ongoing Russian information warfare that utilizes anti-Semitic propaganda and religious bigotry to sow dissent and virulent hatred in our open society and those of our allies. Our intelligence agencies have assessed that Russia uses paid social media users or “trolls” to conduct covert divisive influence campaigns against the United States. The Anti-Defamation League identified a startling volume of anti-Semitic harassment throughout social media during the recent presidential election. Data disclosed to the Senate Judiciary Committee by Twitter and other social media platforms demonstrates that Russia amplifies hate speech and promotes nativist extremist ideologies in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere. You must also forcefully condemn President Putin’s recent defamatory denial of responsibility for these attacks, in which he malignly suggested were conducted by Jews and other Russian minorities.