In the ‘In­stafada’, Ha­mas can sit back and let Face­book do its work

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY TIM MAR­SHALL

PALES­TINIAN, AND in­deed Arab so­cial me­dia is awash with images of Pales­tinian at­tack­ers who have been shot af­ter at­tempt­ing mur­der. What is miss­ing from the videos is footage of the at­tacks they had car­ried out sec­onds be­fore be­ing shot.

In­deed, there is no men­tion of any at­tacks. The im­pres­sion be­ing given is of an out-of-con­trol IDF, cold-blood­edly killing un­armed Pales­tini­ans.

Mul­ti­ple videos, car­toons, and graph­ics on Face­book and YouTube, some car­ried by the of­fi­cial Ha­mas and PA web­sites, give in­struc­tions on how best to stab Jews to cause max­i­mum dam­age, and ad­vise on the best knives to use.

Th­ese videos and graph­ics are widely shared, en­cour­ag­ing more young Pales­tini­ans to either make their own ver­sions, or even set out to kill.

In what some in the me­dia have dubbed the “In­stafada”, a lie be­comes a so­cial me­dia con­spir­acy. The con­spir­acy be­comes “fact”. The fact feeds the vi­o­lence, and round we go again.

It seems likely that most of the re­cent “lone wolf” at­tack­ers re­ally are act­ing alone. But just as Ha­mas and oth­ers train, and then dis­patch,

Al Aqsa: used by Ab­bas to incite hate young men to at­tempt mur­der and be killed, now blog­gers, graphic artists, tweet­ers, and am­a­teur film-mak­ers do the same. Some of the videos are clearly made by groups of peo­ple as they fea­ture up to 10 ac­tors play­ing the roles of Pales­tinian at­tack­ers and Jewish vic­tims.

In all this in­cite­ment, the per­pe­tra­tors are aided and abet­ted by Ha­mas, which openly en­cour­ages this “e-in­tifada”, and by the PA and the Pales­tinian main­stream me­dia, which know­ingly re­peat false­hoods and make no ef­fort to counter the images pour­ing from a mil­lion com­put­ers.

The in­creas­ingly ir­rel­e­vant Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas is not help­ing. He in­flamed the sit­u­a­tion early on by declar­ing that Jews should never de­file the Al Aqsa mosque com­plex with their “dirty feet”, and fol­lowed up this stark racism by telling the Pales­tini­ans that the Is­raelis had “ex­e­cuted” Ah­mad Mansara. He failed to men­tion he had stabbed a Jew. The fol­low­ing day, Is­raeli me­dia showed the 13-year-old boy be­ing treated in an Is­raeli hospi­tal.

What can Is­rael do to re­spond? Its cy­ber se­cu­rity of­fi­cials are al­ready work­ing with the lat­est key word search tech­nol­ogy, hop­ing to spot po­ten­tial “lone wolves”. The gov­ern­ment is mak­ing re­peated re­quests to YouTube and Face­book ask­ing them to take down con­tent con­tain­ing “hate­ful and racist” ma­te­rial and the two com­pa­nies are re­spond­ing pos­i­tively. How­ever, th­ese are com­ing from so many sources that as one is taken down, sev­eral more ap­pear.

The gov­ern­ment must also act against the in­creas­ing in­cite­ment by Is­raeli Jews on so­cial me­dia plat­forms, es­pe­cially that em­a­nat­ing from the “price tag” move­ment in the West Bank. Each one of th­ese memes that goes vi­ral adds to the cli­mate of hate, and gives am­mu­ni­tion to those who seek to pre­tend there is a moral equiv­a­lence in the ac­tions car

ried out. Tim Mar­shall is a for­eign af­fairs an­a­lyst and founder of www. the­whatandthe­why.


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