By: Katherine Keneally and Zoe Manzi
13 November 2023
The goals of Hamas and neo-Nazi accelerationists may appear ideologically opposed. However, content posted to Telegram by accelerationists suggests they believe they share commonalities with Hamas and consider the Israel-Hamas conflict to be an opportunity to radicalize, recruit and inspire violence against the Jewish community.
Largely based on antisemitic and ‘white genocide‘ conspiracy theories, accelerationists perceive Jewish people to be one of the greatest threats to white people. Therefore, they view the October 7th attacks on Israel as beneficial to their cause, using it to serve as a rallying cry for violence against Jewish people in their respective locations. A November 6, 2023 post to a prominent accelerationist Telegram channel characterized this shared mission by describing parallels between Hamas and accelerationists, stating both are “engaged in a struggle for [their] existence and survival,” against Jewish people, while calling upon accelerationists to support their own “war” against Jewish people through violence.
An analysis of neo-Nazi accelerationist content since October 7 found:
- Accelerationists are using the conflict to encourage violence against Jewish communities in the US and the West broadly. Expressed hatred against the Jewish community was the most frequently posted type of content by accelerationists on Telegram. In some cases, they used graphic video and images from the conflict to encourage violence against Jewish people.
- Accelerationists are deeply supportive of Hamas. Yet their inter-group support is not rooted in a common religious or cultural ideology but rather in uniting against a common enemy: the Jews and the ‘corrupt’ West.
- Accelerationists expressed support for the tactics used by Hamas and suggested that their guerrilla-style warfare is worthy of adoption and should be implemented by accelerationists in the US.
To better understand how accelerationists are using the conflict to support their own cause, ISD conducted a mixed methods analysis of 18 Telegram channels associated with neo-Nazi accelerationism and the ‘Terrorgram’ network, with subscriber counts varying from approximately 90 to over 3.5K users per channel. Analyzing posts from October 7 – 24, 2023, analysts coded content posted to the channels related to the Israel-Hamas conflict by mentions of tactics, support for Hamas, hatred toward Jewish people, hatred toward Muslims, images or video from the conflict, and reshared posts produced by hostile state and non-state actors (Iran, Russia, North Korea and Lebanese Hezbollah). If posts met the definition for more than one category, they were counted for both.
ISD found that neo-Nazi accelerationists are most frequently using the conflict to radicalize and recruit adherents, spread hatred for, and encourage violence against, Jewish people, and express support for Hamas and the tactics they have used against Israel. While the channels did express hatred for Muslims (most frequently expressing support for Muslims and Jews “killing” each other) and share hostile state and non-state actor content, this occurred less frequently, with 19 and 16 posts respectively at the time of writing.
Most posts related to the conflict expressed hatred toward Jews
Analysts identified 266 Telegram posts related to the conflict featuring language expressing hatred toward Jews, based on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition on antisemitism. The content within these posts varied from direct calls for violence against Jews to use of derogatory, antisemitic rhetoric.
The same day of the attack on October 7, accelerationists began sharing content suggesting they view the conflict as an opportunity to recruit and radicalize likeminded users to encourage attacks against Jewish people in their respective locations. For example, a post to one of the analyzed channels with 2.1K subscribers posted on October 7 said: “If Arabs with bottle rockets, old broken guns, and rocks can do so much damage to k****. Imagine what organized Whites can do against them.” The post received 53 positive reactions and was viewed 1.9K times, significantly above average for the channel. Additionally, it was forwarded to at least one of the other analyzed channels, where it garnered an additional 210 views and 15 positive reactions. A similar post forwarded in this channel described the attack as “inspiring.”
The channels were also observed expressing support for extreme and inhumane violence against Jews, indicating that these acts should be used to target Jewish people in their own communities. In response to unconfirmed reports of Hamas beheading infants in Israel, one of the channels (2.1K subscribers) posted: “We should all gladly partake in such actions given the opportunity, as your enemies deserve no consideration.” Viewed more than 700 times and receiving 35 positive reactions, this post encourages followers to engage in extreme violence against Jews to support their cause. Graphic images and videos from the war were also used to express support for violence against Jewish people. ISD identified 77 posts featuring images or videos from the war; however, not every post was an explicit call for violence against Jewish people.
Accelerationists posted content 97 times expressing support for Hamas
Accelerationist neo-Nazis have been sharing various types of content in support of Hamas, justifying the attacks on Israel and related targets as necessary to their perceived shared objective of a Jewish genocide and the annihilation of the state of Israel. They have expressed sympathy for Hamas, shared news articles about the group, and glorified the attacks. One neo-Nazi accelerationist channel reposted content from the official Hamas Telegram channel to openly declare admiration for their tactics and resilience: “Keep up the great work, you’re an inspiration to us all…To Victory.” Another post, with graphic footage showing an Israeli being shot by a Hamas militant which was shared across seven channels with a total of 3.7K subscribers at the time of writing, declares: “Glory to Hamas. Total Jewish death.”
The core Islamophobia present in accelerationist communities may make their support of a Palestinian terrorist group seem like a contradictory stance. Their inter-group support, however, is not rooted in a common religious or cultural ideology but rather in their uniting against a common enemy: the Jews and the ‘corrupt’ West.
The above post, pinned by one of the most influential accelerationist channels, and which has been shared across five channels with a total subscribership of 5K has been viewed over 2K times. It suggests contact may have been made between accelerationists and Islamist extremists and references the commonalities between the two groups and their reciprocal antipathy towards the perceived oppression imposed by Western institutions such as NATO.
Accelerationist channels frequently direct their communities to the official Telegram channels of Hamas and their Lebanese allies Hezbollah. They also share propaganda from Iran state-backed media such as PressTV and Russia’s EU-banned, and platform restricted Sputnik. This helps to reinforce hostile state narratives focussing on the corruption of the West and enable pro-Kremlin and pro-Iranian regime lines to metastasise further throughout the accelerationist online ecosystem.
Cross-posting is another powerful strategy often deployed by extremists to widen their audience and further radicalize and recruit constituency members. In the context of the Israel-Hamas crisis, Telegram has functioned as a pipeline to funnel content to more mainstream social media platforms such as X (formerly known as Twitter). The post below (see Figure 7) celebrates the trending hashtags relating to the conflict on X and was viewed 223 times on a channel with 776 subscribers.
Accelerationists have created posts co-opting the Arabic language to show solidarity with Hamas using phrases such as “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) and the celebratory expression “Mashallah” which is typically used to demonstrate thankfulness, joy, and praise, to signify their pleasure with the attacks on Israel.
The reworking of spelling to show affinity with the Hamas cause is also prevalent in these channels with “Israhell” and “Yep Aviv” amongst some of the coded language used to demonize and show contempt for Israel.
Accelerationist channels have eulogized the tactics of Hamas
Neo-Nazi accelerationists on Telegram have shown admiration for the guerilla tactics employed by Hamas with 36 posts explicitly referring to their style of warfare. Again, this is not indicative of an ideological alignment with the nationalist-Islamist visions observed by Hamas. Rather, the admiration derives from the perceived utility of this style of violent insurgency to further their own aspirations of hastening societal collapse and the establishment of a white ethnostate.
Parallels can be drawn between Hamas’ strategies and the accelerationists’ own aims, particularly in the context of launching attacks against perceived enemies domestically and undergoing physical training to be ready to conduct incursions in the US. In eight of the channels analyzed by ISD, tactics were explicitly referenced. Tactics were shared in the form of manuals, images, video, and instructions and guidance on how a Hamas-style attack on a building, person, community, or critical infrastructure could perhaps be used in the US. The surprise nature of Hamas’ attack was frequently praised, alongside the resilience of their small units working under harsh conditions and the resourcefulness of creating homemade rockets.
Neo-Nazi accelerationists, who frequently call for attacks on critical infrastructure in the US, also attempted to support Hamas virtually by posting details of critical infrastructure in Israel. One of the analyzed channels shared details on Israel-based substations, including specific location coordinates. One neo-Nazi accelerationist channel, now disabled, posted a guide on how to sabotage electrical substations in Israel, which included an open infrared map of electrical substation sites in Israel and read: “If America can shut down with 9 substations as a large-scale country, imagine Israel as it is a short-scale country.”
Conclusion: Shared objectives, ideological kinship
Analysis of social media data from a connected network of neo-Nazi accelerationist accounts, often referred to as ‘Terrorgram,’ reveals a disturbing convergence of objectives between neo-Nazi accelerationists and Hamas, in particular their shared antisemitic ideologies and perception of Jewish people as the ultimate adversaries. The accelerationists, in their pursuit of a white ethnostate and despite their inherently racist credo, have found an ideological kinship with Hamas. Moreover, these actors have capitalized on the conflict both by seeking to recruit on mainstream platforms, and by disseminating materials detailing – and praising – the tactics and strategies used by Hamas in their attacks on Israel. ISD has previously shown how Salafi-jihadists have adopted the aesthetics of contemporary neo-Nazis in a form of ideological syncretism. In this case, both ideology and methodology are in the spotlight as areas of potential convergence. For Terrorgram, Hamas are engaged in a shared struggle for survival alongside them and against the Jewish people.
Cover image source: Shutterstock. Split screen. On right, Gaza, Palestine- October 9th 2023 – Hamas commandos with weapons. On left, 2012 archive shot of Greece’s extreme far-right Golden Dawn party celebrating after the early election results.