As with any newsgroup, there is nothing restricting someone from posting to a newsgroup, but there can be a strong reaction if a specific post does not align with the majority. For example, the newsgroup “alt.flame.jews.mbox” consists of over 100,000 postings, with the majority of them discussing anti-Semitic beliefs. While there might not be a specific restriction on who can post, if the general theme of the group is radical, it can discourage someone with opposing beliefs from posting. Many postings in this group express hatred for the Jewish population, such as, “Jews are enemies of White civilization, and they were behind Communism.” Multiple responses to this post agree with the claim, and given societal tendencies, someone might refrain from posting against such a group, especially if the supporters use vulgar language and express extreme passion in their words.
Another example of a restriction is how posts opposing anti-Semitic beliefs are received. Some posts stand up for the oppressed Jewish population, like “Jews are people too, and maybe one day you’ll know what it’s like to be persecuted through no fault of your own.” However, it’s disheartening to see that the responses to such posts are often filled with aggressive anti-Semitic replies. The overwhelmingly negative responses against posts opposing anti-Semitic beliefs could serve as another deterrent. If someone considering posting in disagreement with this newsgroup saw this chain of posts, it might change their mind to avoid the inevitable backlash.
As sad as it is, the natural restriction within this newsgroup that promotes anti-Semitic beliefs benefits those who share the belief. It allows those with a harsh opinion of the Jewish religion to share their thoughts and connect with others to continue the conversation or share their perspective. For example, someone posted asking for information about large companies owned by Jews to avoid supporting them, stating, “I would like to research this information so I do not inadvertently support any corporation I disapprove of by giving business to its partners, subsidiaries, or properties.” This individual has no desire to be associated with Jewish-owned businesses, and this newsgroup serves as an outlet for them to find companies they would support. There were various responses to this post, listing companies run by anti-Semitic executives or those not affiliated with Jews. Other responses aggressively criticized the Jewish population, perpetuating stereotypes from the early to mid-1900s.
In comparison to other newsgroups, it’s interesting to note that the majority of posts in this newsgroup are not signed with full names or identifiable information. Some are signed with initials, first names, random letters, and similar identifiers. Given that this newsgroup is an established platform for anti-Semitic individuals to post, it might make those posting less likely to reveal their true identities. It serves as a place for those who harbor animosity toward the Jewish population to express their thoughts without facing in-person confrontation, societal backlash, or significant consequences for their morally reprehensible opinions.
The existence of this newsgroup and the restrictions that sustain Jewish hatred within the community have clear effects on allowing anti-Semitism to persist in society. It serves as a reminder to those who follow the Jewish religion that they are actively disliked by some in society. Implementing regulations to curb the total freedom of Usenet would prevent these oppressive and discriminatory individuals from propagating their beliefs of hatred and help mitigate the presence of anti-Semitism.