From the moment Israel woke up in shock at the unprecedented Hamas operation on 7 October, its propaganda machine has pushed fake news to justify its all-out war of vengeance against the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip. From allegations such as Hamas beheaded babies to rape, burning bodies and even killing dogs, the resistance movement was demonised, and thus dehumanised. All of the claims were accompanied by tears and emotional speeches by Israelis and pro-Israel allies and supporters.
Despite the lack of evidence, world leaders including US President Joe Biden repeated them and stressed Israel’s “right” to self-defence. The White House retracted Biden’s statements, but the UK’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman have not apologised for pushing this propaganda.
A few international journalists also circulated the lies, naming an Israeli soldier who spread them in the first place. Their professional ethics require journalists to check the veracity of the “facts” that they use in any suspect story. This has not been done. Moreover, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared a photo of what he claimed was the charred body of an Israeli baby killed by Hamas. However, the original image has since been claimed to have been that of a dog which was photoshopped.
Social media companies have been censoring and removing pro-Palestinian content
With claims and counterclaims filling social media, some apologies have been received from international figures, but not from Israelis. What’s more, the social media companies have been censoring and removing pro-Palestinian content. Many accounts belonging to Palestinians have been restricted, while others have been taken down altogether. No such censorship by the companies has been heard of about Israeli propaganda and hate-filled messages in Hebrew directed at the Palestinians.
Citizen journalists are enthusiastic and plentiful across occupied Palestine, especially in Gaza. The internet has allowed them to raise awareness of their plight around the world in an instant. The Zionist massacres and colonisation didn’t start in 2008 with Operation Cast Lead, or even in 1967 with the Naksa. They began in the 1940s in the run up to the creation of the colonial state of Israel and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The Nakba (Catastrophe) is ongoing.While Israeli propaganda seeks to make out that the issue at stake here is the Hamas attack last weekend, Palestinians and their supporters point out that the cause of the issue Israel’s occupation of Palestine. As the Palestinian Permanent Representative to the UN, Riyad Mansour, said last week, “Regrettably, history for some media and politicians only starts when Israelis are killed. We will never accept a rhetoric that denigrates our humanity and reneges our rights, a rhetoric that ignores the occupation of our land and oppression of our people.”
It seems that many people agree. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in major cities across the world to demonstrate their opposition to Israel’s bombing of Gaza. Their demand is to end Israel’s apartheid and military occupation of Palestine.
Israel’s propagandists at home and abroad have been working hard to try to counter this. They are desperate to divert attention away from the occupation state’s war crimes and crimes against humanity. The so-called Israel “Defence” Forces have played their part by bombing the Gaza Strip’s main telecommunications company, leading to the disruption of landlines and internet services. International pressure meant that the collective punishment of cutting internet services to Gaza was not implemented.
During the devastating Israeli military offensives against Gaza in 2008/9, 2012, 2014, 2021 and 2022, Palestinian journalists and social media activists won the online battle in countering the pro-Israel mainstream media and political narrative. In doing so, they opened up events in Gaza to vast numbers of people around the world. Today they are doing the same again, even as Israel commits genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
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The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.