A small business owner whose personal details were exposed in the doxxing of hundreds of Jewish creatives involved in a private WhatsApp group said she fears for her family’s safety amid a flood of abusive messages.
The names of nearly 600 Jewish writers, artists, musicians and academics who were part of a private WhatsApp group created following the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks were leaked by high-profile pro-Palestine activists, including feminist author Clementine Ford, who posted a link to the list on Thursday.
So-called “doxxing”, a term used to describe the publication of private or identifying information, has led to a wave of abuse towards those named on the list.
Daily Mail Australia spoke to a business owner identified in the leak, who said the group was initially created in response to a wave of anti-Semitism in Australia sparked by the fallout from the Israel-Gaza war.
Activist Clementine Ford has defended the publication of a link with a list of identifying information of the members of a Jewish WhatsApp group
But the business owner, whom this publication is not naming to protect her identity, said she left the group after just three days.
Despite this, his name and business were identified in Thursday’s leak and he has since received dozens of abusive messages.
“We started receiving prank calls, abusive emails and comments on our social media pages,” he said.
‘We have had to delete our Instagram account and have even decided to change the name of our business.
‘Two customers have already canceled their reservations and demanded refunds. It will probably affect our clientele even more because no one wants to be associated with anyone involved in the controversy, even if we haven’t done anything wrong.’
The business owner said she feared the abuse could escalate and was concerned for the physical safety of her two young children.
Another Jewish business owner, Maggie May Moshe, said Age that being discovered as a member of the group had led to her being attacked.
He said his gift shop in the inner Melbourne suburb of Thornbury had been covered with anti-Israel stickers and graffiti, while his personal and business channels had been flooded with abusive posts.
Ford said the WhatsApp group chat post demonstrated coordinated efforts to “silence Palestinian activists.”
Her husband, professional musician Joshua Moshe, has been dumped by his longtime member.
As a result, the couple will move to an area of Melbourne where more Jewish people live.
Victoria Police said they were investigating the alleged doxxing.
“Police are investigating reports that the personal details of several people, who belong to a private chat group on a social network, appear to have been disclosed online,” a police spokesperson said.
The business owner reported the abusive messages to the police, but was told they could only take action if there were real threats of violence.
He said he cared equally about Palestinians and Israelis who were suffering in the ongoing conflict.
“The actions of the Israeli government have absolutely nothing to do with Jews living in Australia,” he added.
He also made a personal request to Mrs. Ford.
The WhatsApp group involved Jewish members of creative industries who responded to the activities of pro-Palestinian activists.
“Please stop… it’s really just a primitive attack on decent people who just want peace,” he added.
“Australia needs to be a place that promotes peace and equality among all its citizens, so stop spreading hate.”
Ford did not respond to the Daily Mail’s attempts to contact her for comment, but defended her actions in an Instagram post.
He accused ‘media players’ of ignoring that ‘anti-Zionist Jews were involved in collecting this information at this link (and were also responsible for leaking it in the first place), without mentioning the reasons why it was leaked.’
The WhatsApp group provided a “insight into coordinated efforts to silence Palestinian activists and their allies,” according to Ms. Ford.
“This is a group of ‘creatives’ working to silence voices calling for Palestinian liberation,” Ms. Ford wrote.
‘Knowing that I will probably see some of these people at industry events is sickening, but not as sickening as knowing how many more peers I will encounter who have remained silent about Palestine AND about people trying to harm others because of it. ‘
Ms Ford ended the post by stating that the group showed how “devilishly deep it goes”.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-chief executive Alex Ryvchin said: “Numerous community members have told me they are relieved that their parents or grandparents who survived the Holocaust will not be alive to see this.”
Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-chief executive Alex Ryvchin said the WhatsApp group was started when group members saw pro-Palestinian activists organizing boycotts and anti-Israel petitions in their industries.
“This was a way for community members to share information, support each other and protect their reputations and livelihoods that were being relentlessly attacked,” he said.
‘Others were shocked by the normalization of antisemitism and wanted to join their colleagues in doing something about it. These WhatsApp groups became a refuge.”
The “doxxing” of group members had left Mr. Ryvchin in “Great surprise and disbelief that people are making lists of Jews again.
‘Many community members have told me that they are relieved that their parents or grandparents who survived the Holocaust will not be alive to see this.
‘Members of our community who were motivated to speak out by the October 7 attacks and historic levels of local antisemitism should be proud and we stand with them in unity and solidarity.
“We call on our fellow Australians to resist harassment and intimidation, and when asked to fire or blacklist Jewish Australians, say no in our time or in our country.”