Anti-Israel death threats from one of Twitter's many trolls

Julie Anna, author of Julie's Think Tank blog and staunch liberal interventionist, has been subject to some alarming threats at the hands of Shereef Abdallah. Here's her story

Twitter is full of them but on this occasion, Mr. Abdallah has taken matters too far
Julia Lenarz
On 9 January 2012 12:43

Actually, it is too bizarre to be true but I am being stalked and death-threatened by Shereef Abdallah, an anti-Semitic wannabe Ed Miliband “lookalike”. He previously worked as a volunteer for Labour MP Glenda Jackson and was yesterday exposed by the excellent Martin Bright in the Jewish Chronicle.

Since running my political blog Julie’s Think Tank and the corresponding Twitter account, I have often got buried in waves of ad hominem attacks. Although annoying, you learn to get around it. It is part of modern communication. But never before, had I encountered anything like Mr Abdallah who previously operated under the Twitter names @Sheik74k, @LFCSheikKD and now @LFCSheik83KD.

My crime was to be a friend and supporter of Tony Blair, liberal interventionist and strong advocate of the US-led war against Iraq in 2003; a decision I often defend on social media sites, including Twitter. In Mr Abdallah’s eyes, this makes me a “warmongering, anti-Islamist, Zionist Nazi” with “no class, intellect or morals”.

About two months ago, I first got into contact with him. I did not pick a fight. It was him who intervened in a debate – a civilised one – I had with another Twitter user who strongly disagreed with me over the decision to go to war.

After Mr Abdallah made the serious allegation that the Iraq war was illegal, I politely asked him to explain his position in legal terms and in return offered to explain mine. But instead of engaging in a factual debate, he immediately started to personally insult me. Ignoring his rants, I patiently outlined the significance of UNSCR 1441 in combination with 678 and 687.

Again, Mr Abdallah refused to engage in an argument and instead began to claim I called him a “jihadi”, a remark sent to me not made by me – a small but significant difference. He then “noted and printed” my alleged insults and reported me to Holborn police. They sent him home three times, as he later admitted.

Ever since, he has been sending me aggressive and violent tweets several times per day, many of which he later deleted. According to Mr Abdallah, “Zionists cannot save me” as they “have lost every war since 1973” and indeed “no force on earth” will stop him, including Twitter and the police.

The situation escalated last month, when he turned up at my workplace demanding to see me.

So far, the most chilling death-threat I received on December 29th, 2011 when Mr Abdallah tweeted: “Julia are you still alive FFS? RIP you will be next after I end “X”, that’s a promise. Sleep tight”…“As long as I’m alive I will hound you”…”I’m going to escalate in 2012”.

While I accept Twitter cannot act upon every complaint made and in most cases their suggestion to block the user in question is sufficient to settle the dispute, I find it appalling – to say the least – that they have failed to take action against Mr Abdallah. The internet should not be a law-free zone.

But a spokeswoman from Twitter’s “Trust and Safety” department concluded that his behaviour was “not in violation of the Twitter Rules at this time” and that although they “have a policy against violent threats”, his tweets “lack[ed] the specificity to meet the criteria of an actionable threat”.

Mr Abdallah’s behaviour is now a matter for the Crown. A former Labour Press Officer reported him to the police, after he threatened to “cut his throat” and I too will contact the authorities. I am very pleased the Labour Party has responded by suspending his membership with immediate effect and both Progress and the Young Fabians have confirmed that Mr Abdallah falsely claimed to be a member of their organisations.

Julie Anna is author of the popular blog, Julie's Think Tank. She tweets at @MsIntervention

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