Hamas’ Propaganda: old lies in new garb


By Ynon Svorai

Since 7 October, we have been bombarded with an unrelenting Palestinian propaganda campaign.  

A key driver in Hamas’ propaganda campaign is Iran, a de-stabilizing force in the Middle East. For the most part, Iran outsources its actions via proxies: Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, the Houthis in Yemen, militias in Iraq, among others.Iran’s tactic is to unsettle and disrupt through its proxies, leaving behind a trail of chaos and poverty. It draws the refugees that escape the war-torn countries into its radical agenda. However, the Hamas-Iranian attack on Israel is not just through bombs and weapons. Iran’s radical Islamic regime, through its religious clerics and school systems, engages in a propaganda campaign to portray the West as the source of all hardship and Israel as the stronghold of the West.   

The type of messaging pushed in this campaign is nothing new. Indeed, it draws on antisemitic tropes, deeply embedded in European history.One such preposterous accusation is that the Israeli Defense Forces deliberately targets children and women, to harvest organs. This Blood Libel has a lineage that extends back hundreds of years to medieval times, where Jews were accused of killing Christian children for religious ceremonies. These stories were invented to deflect from the Church’s inability to protect its flock from hunger, poverty and disease. Jews were not allowed to own land and had to choose professions such as doctors, merchants and lawyers. The medical profession gave proximity to the sick, which enabled the connotation between Jews and death. 

Another tactic in the propaganda war is the political use of fake statistics to influence and skew opinion in the west. The masking of terrorists within the civilian population, through hiding in tunnels, civilian homes and infrastructure and fighting in civilian clothing, means there is no clear delineation between militants and civilians. This allows Hamas to inflate the numbers of casualties. They also exploit the humanitarian values of the West by inventing statistics that suggest a disproportionate number of women and children among the casualties, which statistical calculations prove to be impossible. The same applies to the linear rise in casualties numbers. The numbers do not take into account the natural death rate of about of 500 a month, comprised mostly of non combatant elderly. Also, as the Al Ahli hospital incident showed, Hamas blamed Israel for deaths caused by Hamas’ and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s failed rockets and inflated the number of casualties. The Al Ahli hospital incident is not a one off. Many failed Hamas rockets land in Gaza but are slipped into the casualty numbers and blamed on Israel.  

Visual media is skilfully, but deceptively employed, such as cartoons and AI generated images, showing dying children. Many such images are generated with the purpose of demonizing Jews and/or IDF soldiers and are impossible to corroborate.  This kind of conduct coupled with the widespread social media propaganda campaign, with little to no restriction has an impact on political stances, around the globe, for example, in the US, UK, Jordan and other places.When the volume of lies and hate reaches a critical level, people seem willing to believe them.   

Hamas has a willing outlet for its propaganda with the Qatari owned, Al Jazeera network Qatar is also the host country for Hamas’ billionaire leaders and has been found to be funding numerous universities across America, which are now bursting at the seams with antisemitic hatred.A few weeks back Al Jazeera promoted a story, invented by a Palestinian woman of a group rape of women in the Al Shifa hospital. Soon after, Al Jazeera quietly retracted the story and Hamas admitted that it did not happen.  Deleting the article was not the result of a responsible journalism or the pursuit of Hamas for justice, but the simple case that the story caused many Palestinians to run away.Sadly, Hamas would rather their people stay and act as human shields, so they can fuel the propaganda machine against Israel.   

These tactics are not new. The propaganda machine has long been a tool in the opponents’ arsenal. In 1948 the Arabs spread stories of a massacre and rape that was said to have taken place in Deir Yassin.  This lie was pushed to enrage the Arab population to call them to arms. The rumour in fact achieved the opposite result when the villagers ran away in fear. 

 As Mark Twain is being quoted to say History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”   

 Yes, it is as sad, simple, and evil as that.