4 Gaza Propaganda Tactics Ripped Off From Internet Trolls
Whenever there's a big, heavy, controversial world situation like the current Israel/Palestine conflict, you'll see two types of posts on your social media feeds: respectful, informed opinions and inflammatory, 90-percent-made-up crap posted by teenagers and/or idiots. Since the second kind of posts get way more traction than the first kind, the official propaganda channels for both Israel and Palestine have embraced the online stupidity -- thus giving birth to the era of state-sanctioned Facebook flame wars.
So the next time you see an extremely dumb meme about this very serious topic, bear in mind that there's a realistic chance that the actual governments for those countries came up with it. Don't believe us? Check out the stuff they (and their supporters) have come up with so far:
Israel Has a War Room of Social Media Whiz Kids
Like it or unlike it, memes are the universal language of the 21st century. There's just something about the GIANT TEXT - PICTURE - GIANT TEXT template that speaks to our very souls, as if the meme format created an entirely new plane of existence that links us all at the lowest common denominator, like a communal shitting trench. And Israel knows this -- control the memes and you control the world -- which is why this war and all future wars will now have a scene such as this:
"Gentlemen, you can't troll in here! This is the Meme Room!"
Yes, like a frustrated grandpa who can't figure out which side of his iPad has the screen, Israel has decided to delegate the task of maintaining its online reputation to a bunch of kids. The photo above shows the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, one of Israel's top private universities, where about 400 volunteer students work in shifts that run from 9 in the morning until 8 at night doing what teenagers do best: arguing with other people on the Internet.
The student volunteers tirelessly trawl social media and troll anti-Semitic threads, discrediting posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr that show Israel in a bad light. This digital defense force mass-reports anti-Semitic Facebook pages until they get closed, counters Hamas propaganda, and presumably downvotes pro-Gaza comments on Reddit and Cracked to oblivion. They are also extremely proficient in the use of hashtag technology:
"These are nuclear-grade hashtags. Caution is advised."
And the creation of image macros, of course:
They wanted to use a Braveheart quote, but, you know.
The "Israel Under Fire" team, as the student organization calls itself, is so efficient at spreading the pro-Israeli message that the Israel Defense Force occasionally collaborates with them during military action. The prime minister of Israel himself has recognized the value of social media, purchasing promoted Tweets for those posts that have just a little extra anti-Palestinian pizzazz. The Palestinian version of this isn't so fancy -- it's run by the military arms of Hamas and known as the al-Qassam Brigades (which doubles as the name of their World of Warcraft guild, we're guessing).
Hamas Hacked the Israel Domino's Pizza Facebook Page, Because Shit's Gotten That Serious
So it's come to this: A few weeks ago Hamas' team of Internet sleuths, looking for creative new means of inflicting terror in the hearts of their enemies' computer screens, managed to hack their way into the official Israel Domino's Pizza Facebook page -- and by hack, we mean, "We almost definitely typed 'PIZZA1' to see if it worked and lucked out."
So what'd they do with this precious information? Well, after securing the login details of the Facebook page, all they could really achieve was, uh, taking out the pizza.
"Shit, why didn't we think of that?" -The Foot Clan
The cover photo and profile picture of Israel Domino's Pizza's Facebook page were changed to Hamas militants, inflicting Israeli children everywhere with the lifelong traumatic message that no Facebook page of any restaurant you love -- no matter how delicious their cheese may be -- is safe from the influence of Hamas and their guns. And speaking of cowabungaing reptiles, the hackers also mocked the Israelis with a photo of people hiding in a sewer, perfectly setting themselves up for this response:
"Blasted turtles! Foiled again!" -Hamas' leadership
Eventually, the crack team at Domino's wrestled control of the page back and retaliated by turning the hacked profile picture into a macro, with the Hebrew words meaning: "You cannot defeat ... the Israeli hunger for pizza!"
Or American ... Or Canadian ... Or everyone ...
Israeli hackers also sought revenge by taking over or disabling various Hamas sites -- you know, actual websites for the Palestinian organization, not their fast-food restaurants. Yeah, this war may never end, but Israel probably won this battle.
Both Sides Are Using Footage from Other Countries ... and Horror Movies
There's no shortage of harrowing images that have come out of the Gaza Strip in the past few months, as you've probably found out thanks to your friend on Facebook who thinks "activism" means "sharing gore pictures with relatives." However, as despairingly terrible as the situation is, apparently it's still not shocking enough for some people ... so they have to make shit up. For example, when Israel first started seriously retaliating to Hamas' rockets last July, the hashtag #GazaUnderAttack started trending on Twitter. Pictures of Gaza under fire accompanied the tweets, like these ones:
Only that's not "Gaza right now" -- according to an investigation by the BBC, some of the images that were going viral with the #Gaza hashtags, including the ones above, would more accurately be described as "Gaza years ago" or "Syria and Iraq." Which isn't to say that the other side doesn't like to bullshit, too. We've all heard the accusations that Hamas uses children as human shields, which is backed by the discovery of missiles in empty schools. But it was even worse than we thought: Turns out Hamas militants are literally holding children in front of them as shields, according to a video that was posted last July and quickly went viral thanks to people spreading their daily dose of slacktivism.
"This buys me karma for ignoring, like, at least three homeless people."
But again, none of it was true. As one user eventually pointed out, the original footage was from good ol' Syria again, and since it doesn't help anyone win any Internet arguments, it went largely ignored. And then you have cases like the viral image supposedly showing a Palestinian girl with an exploded head caused by the Israel Air Force -- WARNING: the following picture is extremely gruesome and extremely fake.
How can we be sure it's fake? Because we very much doubt they killed a real woman when they originally shot this scene for the movie Final Destination 4:
Hamas Releases Pop Songs, Israeli Kids Sing Them Ironically
When you've covered everything from memes to Facebook pages to Twitter attacks to hopelessly spamming Israel-Palestine threads on 4chan's /b/ over their daily viral thread of My Little Pony erotic fan art, there isn't much else left to do in terms of online propaganda. Unless, of course, you remember the Internet's favorite thing: boobs. Unfortunately, Islamic law tends not to shine on public nudity, so Hamas had to settle for the Internet's second favorite thing: stupid music videos. So they gathered their best musicians together and recorded their own modern dance pop song ... if dance pop songs were about genocide and turning your neighbor into rubble.
Shit, that thing has a higher budget than the Expendables 3 if you fired the cast. The song above, entitled "Up, Do Terror Attacks," comes with a music video of images of Hamas militants preparing and firing rockets into the Israeli night sky. With lyrics like "Eliminate all the Zionists," "Burn bases and soldiers," "Turn their world into a scene of horrors," and the "Up, do terror attacks" refrain, it's hard to imagine what, exactly, Hamas is trying to say here. And then, for some reason, it ends with Hamas soldiers showing a banner underwater.
"You're next, fish. Fuck you."
The Arabic version of this song has been circulating around Gaza since 2012, but Hamas decided to record a new Hebrew-language version last July to make sure the Israelis got the message. However, the effect it had was the opposite: Israeli teens are singing the pop song for fun, because apparently the Arabian singer's terrible Hebrew accent and bad lisp have turned "Up, Do Terror Attacks" into the equivalent of Elmer Fudd singing "Gangsta's Paradise."
Hamas released another Hebrew-language song called "Shake Israel's Security," but they cheaped out on the video (it's just stock footage of rockets going up) and replaced the singer. Awww, you hurt the other guy's feelings.
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