Andrea Zanardo
The Zionist Rabbi your friends warned you about

How to deal with far-left trolls

He thinks he’s a social justice warrior. He believes to be a revolutionary. He thinks he’s making the world a better place. None of this it’s true. He’s a troll: a specific kind of troll, the Far Left Troll [FLT], that can be dangerous. FLT must be blocked and reported.

a) You can recognise FLTs. They approach you with sensible questions (“I see you’re an anti-racist”), but they switch immediately on a provocative mood (“and what about the Palestinians?”). Block them at this point. Don’t go further.

b) For example, sometimes they introduce themselves as “pro-Israel pro-peace”. Which sounds very sensible (who’s pro-war after all?), but read it closely: it actually means that anyone else is pro-war, you included. Does “pro-war” describe you accurately? In other words: do you want to be insulted? When someone approaches you in this way, it’s a good reason to block him. And possibly to report: sometimes Twitter’s moderators understand that it is defamatory to label “pro-war” someone without shreds of evidence.

c) FLT have been following you for weeks. They have saved (in some case edited or produced entirely) posts or tweets of yours to prove that you’re a racist, a homophobe or whatever. Your line manager and your colleagues have already received some of that stuff. Actually, probably a lot. Which is the reason why FLTs are approaching you at this time. They think you are unpopular or somehow under scrutiny.

c) By the way: you are not a horrible person. The FLT want you to feel horrible. They often question your integrity (“you’re a Rabbi and say XYZ”). They want you to feel isolated and a professional failure. But these are lies. You are not horrible. Being sceptical about Palestinian statehood does not make you a racist; it makes you just a sceptical person (like the majority of Israeli voters, including many Arab). Calling you a racist, by the way, is abuse. You should report the abusers.

d) FLT know they are a minority, but they also know that if they shout loud enough (or open a multitude of Twitter accounts – which they do), people will believe they are more than they are. Hence one of their favourite arguments is “the majority of the young XYZ believe that you are a racist”. It allows them to wear the mantle of representatives of the future generation and protect the youth’s delicate sensitivity.

e) Censorship is the goal of the FLT. The aim is to silence you, first on social media, and then they want you to disappear from political life. They compete among themselves, counting how many accounts on social media have been blocked because of their actions. They celebrate when a politician (usually on the Centre-Left) suffers a mental breakdown and leaves politics – usually to be replaced by someone closer to the “woke” sensitivity. They call for “all the mainstream institutions” to distance themselves from you. They want you to feel isolated and exposed (yes, to violence too).

They won’t stop: they also want you to be fired. This is the reason why they begin a conversation with you. To make you write things that may cause you (at least) problems in your work. They celebrate when a teacher or a journalist is fired, a traumatic event in any case. There is a name for those who take pleasure from other people’s suffering: do you want to engage in a conversation with someone who deserves such a name?

f) The other goal of the FLT is to transform you or your family into the target for some form of violent “anti-fa” demonstration. This is the reason why they comb your timeline to search for pieces of information about you: to build a dossier about you, which includes your post on social media (without context) and bits of personal information that you may have posted elsewhere. For example, the place where you work (colleagues and bosses have already been contacted) or the school you have attended (most likely, someone who was at school with you has also been contacted).

g) Scarily: the FLT know may know that you have children, which school your children attend (a graffiti may appear in front of that school), and they have probably tried to approach the teachers of your children. The FLT exchange pieces of information about you. And usually, they have comrades used to violent actions. Protect yourself and your family. Don’t talk to FLTs. Block them.

h) FLT may pretend that they are interested in having a conversation with you or that they are used to civilised forms of political action. It’s not true. Whatever a FLT says or writes is aimed to provoke you and make you say things they will be used to censor you. They have been following you for weeks and perhaps months, they have a dossier about you, they know how to unnerve you and make you write things you may regret. They may look reasonable, but they are not online to exchange ideas. Their goal is to frame you. To gain your trust, they pretend to be on your side. “I am a Zionist too!”: but it’s a lie. They are not Zionists. They are just trolls. There’s nothing you can learn from a Far Left Troll. Excuse yourself politely, leave the conversation and possibly block the FLT.

And remember: you’re not a racist. You’re a wonderful human being whose main inclination is to believe in the good faith of other human beings, even when they are Far-Left Troll.

They just don’t deserve your time.

About the Author
Italian by birth, Israeli by choice, Rabbi of the largest synagogue in Sussex (UK). Uncompromising Zionist.
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