On the June 4, 2016 episode of Red Ice Live, white nationalist co-hosts Henrik Palmgren and Lana Lokteff devoted an entire segment to Google’s decision to pull an anti-Semitic Chrome extension. Known as the “Coincidence Detector,” the extension would automatically place parentheses around Jewish surnames and replace all mentions of Israel with the sarcastic phrase “Our Greatest Ally.” Placing parentheses around the names of Jewish individuals (known as the Jewish “echo”) began with the website The Right Stuff and its podcast The Daily Shoah, and is used by anti-Semites to target Jews for harassment on Twitter and elsewhere.
The “Coincidence Detector” was created by members of the TRS forum, but was quickly removed by Google. In the meantime, Jews and non-Jews alike have been placing parentheses around their own names on Twitter both to intentionally mess with anti-Semites online and out of a show of solidarity. To Palmgren and Lokteff, this was all evidence of a conspiracy.
“The media works in unison,” Palmgren declared, “and I think nothing has been so clear about that regarding what happened recently with the, what was it, the Coincidence Detector.” Lokteff noted that the “Coincidence Detector” was discovered by Tablet Magazine‘s Yair Rosenberg, who then encouraged his Twitter followers to put parentheses around their names to mock racist trolls. This, she said, “proves that there really is a central command” because “it was even showing up on SPLC, all the orgs, all the mainstream news is reporting on it.” In fact, it’s almost as if stories spread on social media.
After running through images of Twitter accounts that added the echo, Palmgren accused these same people of “shitting their pants right now” and incorrectly identified the Jewish magazines Forward and Tablet Magazine as the media outlets that first reported the story (though he did mention Mic, which was one of the first). In actuality, the New York Times mentioned the echo in a larger piece dated May 26th on anti-Semitic harassment of Jewish journalists. Mic picked it up from there on June 1st, followed by Slate and Forward on June 2nd, and Tablet Magazine on June 3rd.
“Yeah and here’s the thing, this Yair Rosenberg said that he had known about it for years,” Lokteff said. “What utter bullshit. I had known about it for years, I just didn’t talk about it.” Actually, it is utter bullshit, since that’s clearly not what Rosenberg said in his Tablet Mag article. Here’s what he actually wrote:
As Mic reported, the Internet’s neo-Nazis even have their very own Chrome browser extension that automatically places these parentheses around Jewish names on web pages. But on social media, they typically add the symbols themselves to troll Jews and alert fellow bigots to a potential target. …
With a name like “Yair Rosenberg,” I might as well be called Jewy McJewface on Twitter. As a result, I’ve been on the receiving end of this sort of treatment for years, long before Donald Trump entered the political fray.
It’s abundantly clear from the context that he’s referring to anti-Semitic harassment in general, not the use of the echoes in particular.
Palmgren added that the echoes help anti-Semites make fun of Jews as a form of payback for how Hollywood “treated and depicted white people” for “decades.” Considering the sheer number of times that heroes are played by white people in movies, I’m going to say we probably don’t have much to complain about, though.