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Embassy’s Islamophobic memes linked to ad agencies’ hasbara offensive

Israel’s embassy in Ireland was the subject of anger and scorn this week, as their official Twitter account shared Islamophobic memes as part of a hasbara (propaganda) offensive.

The images “featured well-known statues and artwork associated with different European countries”, with slogans like ‘Israel now Dublin next’, along with “weaponry and traditional Muslim headscarves” superimposed on top.

Though the embassy has its own track record of PR embarrassments, it appears that the now-deleted images were actually the work of marketing professionals.

According to a report in an Israeli advertising industry publication, agency Glickman Nettler Samsonov was responsible for the images, with up to a third of its staff working on hasbara efforts.

Agency owner Gil Samsonov described the campaign as “different from all the attempts at values-based persuasion”, since it “explains” to an international audience that Israel is “stopping the boiling lava of extreme Islam”, adding: “If we don’t stop it in any way, the lava will reach them.”

This rhetoric resonates with remarks made by Yisrael Beitienu MK Shimon Ohayon, head of the Knesset Lobby for Combating Antisemtism, who this week told European diplomats that Israel is fighting “the war of the free and enlightened world against the darkness of Islamism”.

Samsonov has previously worked as a strategic advisor to Netanyahu and as election campaign headquarters chief for Likud. Other advertising agencies are also working on pro-Israel propaganda, to justify a more than three week-long bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

NB: Thanks to Ofer Neiman for translation.

 

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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