How Lies and Social Media Are Inflaming Israeli-Palestinian Relations

A Washington Post article about the Gaza War claimed that Facebook was censoring Palestinian posts during the conflict.

While this is clearly false, the article’s underlying message is that the war was triggered by an Israeli Supreme Court case that involved settlers’ rights to evict Palestinian families in Jerusalem.

Misinformation

Misinformation is a growing problem on social media, and it has a significant impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In recent weeks, fake videos of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel have gone viral.

The Israeli government and media have not taken a strong stance against such misinformation.

But it is important to ensure that misinformation is accurately reported, and that it’s based on factual evidence and agreed-upon bedrock of reality.

Last Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz met via Zoom with Facebook executives to discuss the spread of misinformation and censorship on their websites.

In addition, the group plans to meet with representatives of the Palestinian Authority later this week.

Fake news

The spread of fake news on social media has been a longstanding problem.

In the last week, for example, misinformation was spread through WhatsApp groups in both Arabic and Hebrew.

Yet the social media platforms have done little to stop this.

In fact, they have often helped spread misinformation, making it harder to spot the truth.

One example is the fake video of Palestinians applying make-up to fake injuries.

It was released as part of a news report about the Palestinian make-up industry.

In recent weeks, a rash of pro-Palestinian misinformation spread on social media.

In a separate case, the New York Times reported that Arabic media had falsely linked a video to Jerusalem when it was actually shot in Gaza.

Islamophobic propaganda

As Israel loses international public support for its military campaign in Gaza and its rightwing leaders’ expansionist policies, it is no longer surprising to see Islamophobic propaganda inflaming Israeli-Palestinian relations.

With the help of Islamophobia, the Israeli government is able to justify its policies while at the same time hiding its tracks.

Israel’s propaganda machine is intensely Islamophobic, constantly demonizing Palestinians and resorting to orientalist tropes.

This strategy is crucial, since Israel’s public image is at an all-time low, and it hopes that Islamophobia can help save its ailing image.

The Islamophobic propaganda network is well-funded, and it is now spreading to mainstream media and institutional discourses.

It has a dual purpose: to inflame public opinion against Muslims, and to further the agendas of jihadist organizations.

Facebook

Facebook is currently under fire for its decision to remove content related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The social network relies on a list of foreign terrorist organizations to justify its policy, which prevents its users from sharing content related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This list includes political movements and individuals that are considered to be part of international terrorism.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is one such political group.

Facebook’s policy prevents prominent members of the organization from sharing information related to the conflict.

This week, misinformation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict spread via social media.

False reports, purportedly from government officials, claimed that Israeli soldiers invaded the Gaza Strip and Palestinian mobs were rampaging through Israeli suburbs.

This false information was shared thousands of times on Facebook and spread to WhatsApp groups that have thousands of members.

Twitter

Recent posts on social media have been widely shared, igniting an intense debate about Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

One of the most controversial posts came from Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesperson, Ofir Gendelman.

He claimed that 1/3 of the rockets fired by Hamas actually landed in Gaza.

But in fact, the footage was taken in Syria during a government operation in Deraa in 2018.

The Israeli military’s Twitter account has been a valuable propaganda tool, boasting over 1.5 million followers.

The account’s goal is to portray Israel as a “victim,” an untrue claim since “victims” don’t subject their rightful residents to ethnic cleansing and slaughter.

Hamas

The social media accounts of Israeli military forces have been spreading provocative and incendiary propaganda messages.

One such account uses the “before and after” meme format to spread misinformation.

This has led to accusations of Israel’s involvement in the conflict.

Israeli government actions have fueled Palestinian outrage, fanning the flames of outrage among these two communities.

Yet these actions have done little to address the causes of the conflict.

The Palestinians are already in a precarious situation, and Israeli policies have only exacerbated the situation.

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