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Exposed: Israel is paying social media influencers to whitewash Gaza genocide

By Syed Zafar Mehdi

“I’m reaching out to you on behalf of a global collective of agencies, influencers, and content creators who are coming together to raise awareness about the difficult situation in Israel.”

This is a text from an email being sent to prominent social media influencers across the world by the Israeli regime and its lobbies based in the West, inviting them to join the disinformation campaign.

The campaign has gained momentum in the wake of the Tel Aviv regime’s indiscriminate bombing campaign in the besieged Gaza Strip as well as the occupied West Bank over the last two weeks.

More than 4,400 Palestinian civilians, most of them children, have been killed in the Israeli airstrikes.

The regime warplanes have also targeted hospitals, ambulances, churches and mosques in brazen violation of international humanitarian conventions, constituting horrendous war crimes.

To counter the global backlash and to distort facts about what’s unfolding in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli regime and its backers in the West are turning to social media influencers to whitewash its crimes.

“As you’re aware, the people of Israel are currently fighting not just a war against Hamas terrorism at home, but also in the battle to tell the story to the world,” reads one of the leaked emails.

The words employed in the emails show how the regime that has been murdering children and bombing hospitals is hell-bent on demonizing the Palestinian resistance fighters as “terrorists.”

Hamas-led ‘Al-Aqsa Storm’ (also known as Al-Aqsa Flood) operation launched on October 7 did not come in a vacuum. It was the natural response to daily atrocities inflicted on Palestinians.

From the crippling siege of Gaza to the recurrent desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque to the expansion of illegal settler units in occupied territories to the inhumane condition of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, the Palestinian resistance fighters had been waiting to give their response.

The surprise operation, which targeted the regime soldiers and settlers, took the far-right Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet by complete surprise and caused a major embarrassment to the regime amid the internal crisis.

After facing the crushing defeat on the battlefield, the regime’s cyber-army is now busy in hiring social media influencers, both in the Arab and Western world, to justify the unjustifiable war crimes.

“Our group has created a library of explainer videos that can be used directly on your platforms with hashtags #HAMASisISIS and #StandWithIsrael,” the email states further, adding that prominent influencers such as Kim Kardashian, Madonna, Gal Gadot, Casey Neistat and others have already joined.

The attempt is clearly to project Hamas as the villains and the child-murdering regime as heroes.

Sara Watson, a British social media influencer, took to her TikTok page to reveal that she had been approached by the Israeli regime, bribed and even coerced to retract her support for Palestine.

“That is not going to happen, you cannot buy my morals,” she said in a short video, noting that the brand she was working with informed her of their decision to not work with her anymore.

Watson was asked to pull down a post on Instagram that she had posted in solidarity with the people of Palestine and promised a hefty amount but she bluntly refused, she said in the video.

Another social media user, whose video was widely shared on X (formerly Twitter), revealed that the Israeli regime was paying social media influencers $1,000 for every video “to put out reports about Hamas being evil and savage and beheading babies.”

He slammed those social media influencers who took the media to participate in the regime’s disinformation campaign, saying they were “complicit in the genocide” unfolding in Gaza.

“It is always about controlling the narrative, it’s always about putting your propaganda out there, to justify the horrific things you do to people in the world, just like the United States does,” he said.

“It’s disgusting and as an American citizen I am going to continue to fight against my own country doing it and I’m going to continue fighting against Israel doing it. This is horrific.”

A social media user said the Israeli regime not only contacted TokTok influencers asking them to join a campaign to support the regime but also “threatened public figures like Faryal Makhdoom and Dina Torkia.”

The user shared a screenshot of a message that Makhdoom received on her Instagram page.

“If you support Israel and cease posting about Palestine, we will ensure you are rewarded lucratively,” reads the message. “If you don’t and if this is publicized, there will be severe consequences.”

Torkia also received a similar message, calling it a “typical behavior.”

The campaign comes as disinformation about the genocide in the besieged Gaza Strip has expanded alarmingly in recent days, with everyone from mainstream media to celebrities doing Israel’s bidding.

There has been a conscious attempt to whitewash the Israeli regime’s war crimes in Gaza and push the narrative that the Palestinian resistance movement is a “terrorist campaign.”

Even the bombing of a hospital in Gaza or the slaughtering of children in their homes has been defended by Western media outlets, social media influencers and political leaders.

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