Saturday, 17 November 2012

Manufacturing blood libel: Hamas’ propaganda war

(Updated November the 19th 2012)

Intensive propaganda campaigns led by Palestinian terrorist groups are perhaps the most predictable occurrence when it comes to any minor or major conflict involving Israel. Typically, the strategy is to exaggerate death tolls, and conflate the killing of terrorist combatants with that of innocent civilians, in an effort to turn the issue on its head when Israel engages in morally legitimate acts of self-defence.

The display of highly emotive imagery is central to the strategy, and the most tasteless element must surely be the use of children. Children on both sides suffer, and conflict would of course cause fear to children, if not suffering and death. This is particularly the case where conflict arises in relatively dense population areas, where terrorist groups intentionally use a civilian populace for cover. Nonetheless, many of these stories are often faked or greatly exaggerated, and any apparent suffering paraded to the point of frenzy, a phenomenon that is intensifying with the use of social media sites like Twitter.

The recent violence between Hamas and Israel, leading to Operation Pillar of Cloud, has proven no exception. Almost immediately, Hamas began misrepresenting images of children that had been injured or killed in Syria as Palestinian dead. Notably, one of Hamas’ own supporters called out some of the fakery in a Tweet.

Hamas tweeted the above image relating to the November Israeli air strikes.
However, the image appeared in an October montage relating to the Syrian conflict
(the Dar al Shifa Hospital, Aleppo).

Similarly, a heartrending image of a dead two year-old child killed by the Syrian armed forces has also been passed off as another Palestinian casualty in the recent Israeli air strikes.

The image of a dead two year-old child was posted by Abo Kazem Saad,
a Gazan Face Book user, blaming Israel for the death.
In fact the child was killed in October by a Syrian sniper in Aleppo.

Pictures of a dead boy, four-year-old Mohammed Sadallah, being held by a tearful Egyptian Prime Minister, have done the rounds through the mainstream media. It was claimed that the child was killed in an Israeli air strike, while Israel denied they had carried out attacks on the area in question. A report by The Daily Telegraph, corrections by other media sources (such as Reuters and CNN), and even a Palestinian NGO, now affirm the child was killed by a stray Palestinian rocket.

Four-year-old Mohammed Sadallah killed by Palestinian rocket

These forgeries are all the more ironic when it has been shown repeatedly that Hamas (and other "militant" groups) are intentionally endangering its own populace by positioning their weaponry within dense civilian locations, as news reports coming from Gaza itself in recent days do attest.

The strategy: Israel (AKA Jew) as child killer

There are many examples of forged Palestinian propaganda, most of which get no media attention, other than the case of Mohammad Al-Dura, a death proven to be falsified, and made in collusion with elements of the French media, a fact journalists at Haaretz and the Guardian have poured doubt upon.

In June Hamas claimed that an Israeli air strike killed a child. However, no strike appeared to have been conducted in the area in question, and the UN confirmed another cause. In March, AFP retracted a faked Hamas story concerning a child supposedly dying due to electricity shortages.

Such propaganda is heavily promoted internationally by pro-Palestinian groups, which can often come to resemble proxies, and indeed many pro-Palestinians are also very keen to take the initiative for themselves. Examples this year include an image of a young girl purportedly killed in an Israeli air strike but the girl in question was actually a casualty of an accident six years earlier, which was knowingly peddled on Twitter by no less than a member of the UN.

This content goes viral within a very short time, so viewed by millions of users. The fakery does not need to be of a good standard to be believed either. Overtly falsified incidents, such as a staged event where a child is seen under a supposed IDF soldier’s boot, have found similar success on the Internet.

Pallywood becomes Hammywood – Al Dura style

It has been noted that many news outlets minimised or failed to report that the present conflict was very much initiated by Hamas. Indeed, the strategy of delaying the reporting of news stories concerning the conflict until Israel strikes back, whereby headlines lead with Israel’s actions, seems to have almost become editorial policy at the majority of mainstream news institutions, due to the astonishing frequency of such occurrences.

The BBC, a major international news outlet, broadcast content on their prime news bulletins that was clearly falsified. This occurred only a day after Operation Pillar of Cloud had commenced.

A man in a tan-brown jacket, and black top featuring small print, is carried away by a crowd, circa 2:14 in the clip. The same man is seen walking around a short time later (circa 2:44). Both shots happened in the seemingly chaotic aftermath of a strike. Two alternatives can be posited. Either the scene was largely faked or a gravely injured man was up and walking again unassisted in a matter of minutes.

The footage is in fact redolent of old unedited Pallywood material, in which youths and men are seen falling as if just shot by the IDF only to get up again.


The Palestinian movement, both at home and abroad, has engaged in an intensive campaign to delegitimise its enemy for decades. We see its consequences every time we view news of the conflict in our newspapers, on our TV sets, radios, computers, and increasingly our phones.

Knowledge in the hands of would-be genocidists is a tool of war, and ought to be treated as such. However, elements within the media are complicit.

Obviously such material further incites hatred in a region where there is already more than enough to go around. The examples cited in this article are just occasions when Hamas have been caught out, and it should be noted that the success of this material necessitates most being passed off as genuine.

The focus on children taps into the anti-Semitic canard of the Jew as child killer, as exemplified by Carlos Latuff’s illustrations — a motif prolifically adopted by mainstream pro-Palestinianism. It is a tool to engineer broad anti-Semitic blood libel, which Hamas has long been keen to promote for obvious reasons - it is far easier to deny an utterly dehumanised enemy any right of co-existence.

At this time of conflict, it should be affirmed that the many who defend Hamas do so at the expense of the Palestinians themselves. Those claiming Hamas are elected representatives conveniently forget that they imposed an effective dictatorship on the electorate by repeatedly delaying elections. We are constantly told Hamas are pragmatists, sheep in the clothing of wolves, but with the present fracas Hamas have essentially started an unwinnable war over the killing of a leading terrorist. It shows where their priorities truly lie.

Article Seven of Hamas’ Charter also gives a hint
The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: ‘O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’
Similarly the words of Hamas’ leaders attest to extremism, some of whom believe Allah brought the Jews to Palestine for the purpose of “The Great Massacre” to be instigated by the Palestinian nation.

Also published at Crethi Plethi.


Cormac said...

In fairness this fresh new flare up in violence has proven to be a victory for Hamas and its parent organisation, The Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi has been legitimised, Hamas has proven it can "stand up" to Israel and also hit their major cities and most importantly, the West can force a ceasefire upon Israel.

I think the media has been slightly more favourable to Israel than before though. I also believe it conveyed the experience of Southern Israelis better as it did dedicate time to showing life under constant rocket attack. It is also kinda ironic how Syria became completely sidelined despite the fact over 800 Syrians were killed compared to the 160+ Palestinians and Israelis over the course of them 8 days.

Rob Harris said...

Cormac, I agree that the recent violence seems to have been a victory of sorts for Hamas. The warnings over the last few years that Hamas were obtaining longer range missiles has proven to be true. Similarly their lessening of the embargo seems to be a major moral victory for Hamas. However, the details of how the issue will be resolved aren't that clear yet. Maybe Israel insisted on concrete steps to prevent Hamas re-arming?

Morsi gained much political capital as someone the US could work with although he seems to have squandered with his recent decree to make all decisions above judicial review. Maybe dictatorial steps like that will blunt the popularity of Islamism a wee bit.