Robert Griffith | 12 May 2024
Robert Griffith
12 May 2024

 

PLEASE DO NOT SKIP OVER THIS POST

If you don’t have time now to read this carefully, then come back when you do. This may be the most important blog post I have published to date. There is also a video interview embedded in this post which may be the most important video you watch this year. It is an interview with the son of one of the Hamas founders and it answers so many questions about the whole Middle East conflict – not just now – but the whole history of why the Arab Muslims and Jewish people have been battling each other for our whole lifetime.

In this age of instant news and quick reads, this post will certainly separate the serious searchers of truth from the casual spectators whoa are just passing by. The video I have embedded here is actually two hours long, but I can assure you that by the end of that two hours you will know more of the truth about Israel and the conflict in the Middle East than 98% of those commenting on social media and fuelling the fake news tsunami we are experiencing today.  So, buckle up, open your mind, read what I have to say here, watch the video when you have time … and see what God might show you about this very difficult issue.

The current conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas has become a key battleground in an information war that goes far wider than their tightly drawn physical borders. Carefully crafted social media posts and other online propaganda are fighting to make people around the world take sides, harden their positions and even move broader public opinion.

Propaganda has always been a major weapon in every war, but the digital revolution has now increased its reach, immediacy and effectiveness and makes it a far more potent tool. It is therefore so much harder for the average person, and even many professionals with expertise, to work out what is true and what is not.

To understand this information war, we need to understand where and how arguments and ideologies are promoted and developed online. In some instances, online propaganda simply involves the framing of real events, violent images and videos, and hate speech to emphasise the guilt of one side and vindicate the other.

But much material relies on the creation of what’s commonly referred to as fake news. This often takes the form of fabricated stories published on social media that repurpose or mislabel real photos or videos.

For example, one post on X (formerly Twitter) that was viewed over 300,000 times, used a photo of an accidental fire at a McDonald’s restaurant in New Zealand to falsely claim the company had been attacked by pro-Palestinian protestors for its perceived support of Israel. Despite being completely debunked, the story was still the focus of heated discussions on social media channels for many weeks and so many of those who read the fake news – never learned that it was fake and still believe it today!

There are also reports of excerpts from video games and old TikTok posts being shared with claims they are from real, current events in Gaza, and fake government agency social media accounts posting disinformation.

Advances in AI are also playing a role. Experts in digital forensics have shown how AI-faked photographs of bloodied babies and abandoned children in Gaza were being widely used in November 2023. These were being published at the same time as the media was trying to investigate allegations that babies had been beheaded in the Hamas attack of October 7.

Deep fake videos have been used in the Gaza conflict, to show prominent figures in the Middle East saying things they never actually said, and it is reasonable to think they don’t believe. Modified footage from high-end military computer games has also been used as deep faked “Gazan footage,” with the Associated Press keeping an extensive archive of examples.

Based on what we know about misinformation on other subjects, it’s likely that much of this online propaganda about Gaza isn’t being generated by individual supporters posting randomly on social media. Misinformation contractors now make their services available on the dark web (an encrypted part of the web that makes it very difficult to identify users) to people looking to mount widespread campaigns.

Inside the dark web, those developing misinformation and disinformation can use techniques that are used by legitimate marketing companies in the outside world. They can experiment with messages and test the responses they receive to them. On dark web forums, groups of activists can collaborate on messaging, imagery, timing and targeting to best effect.

Another origin of much misinformation is ‘troll farms,’ which are staffed by government agents or their proxies in China, North Korea and Russia, among other countries. These are groups who identify the messages they think will change attitudes and amplify them through coordinated social media campaigns.

They are increasingly using AI-driven bots (programmed internet robots) to spread particular narratives or key words or phrases. ‘Viral’ bots magnify the reach of their content by getting networks of other bots to repost it, which in turn encourages search engine and social media algorithms that favour popular and provocative posts to give it even greater prominence.

The dark web origins of misinformation make it much harder for governments to track and stop the people creating it, as does the use of encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp to share content. By the time the authorities have identified a piece of misinformation it may have been seen by hundreds of thousands of people across multiple channels.

The traditional media is also struggling to sift through and counter the weight of misinformation about Gaza, which appears in social media much faster than journalists can verify or debunk it. And the death of so many journalists in Gaza is making accurate even news harder to gather.

Media outlets are often accused of bias in both directions. So, when traditional news is seen as inadequate or hard to come by, people are more likely to turn social media and its flood of dark web-created misinformation.

The information war in Gaza is a war of values, and a war of behaviours, of establishing who is ‘them’ and who are ‘us’. The danger is that in shaping the view of the public, the information war could have an impact on governments and on the battlefield. As frightening as the above overview is, regarding the misinformation and disinformation explosions in the world today, that is not the real problem with the Middle East conflict. The real problem is the almost complete absence of historical truth about Israel, Palestine, Hamas and the whole history of conflict in this troubled region.

There is no doubt that the current conflict in Gaza was triggered by the brutal invasion of Israel by Hamas on October 7, 2023 which resulted in hundreds of deaths and many hostages being taken by Hamas.  This horrific event seems to have been forgotten by most of the mainline media now as they only focus on what Israel is doing in Gaza. But’s that’s another story! However, real truth we so desperately need is locked away in history and only rarely is it seen online today. Therefore, very few people understand what created this powder-keg in the Middle East in the first place.

If you are diligent in your searching online you will find interviews with leading Jews and leading Arabs, both of whom will give you their version of history. But rarely will you hear from someone with first-hand knowledge and experience on both sides. That is until now.

His name is Mosab Hassan Yousef. He is a Palestinian ex-militant who defected to Israel in 1997 where he worked as an undercover agent for the Shin Bet until he moved to the United States in 2007. Yousef was considered the Shin Bet’s most reliable source in the Hamas leadership, earning himself the nickname ‘The Green Prince.’ The intelligence he supplied to Israel led to the exposure of many Hamas cells, as well as the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Jews.

His first-hand knowledge of the middle east conflict is second-to-none and as you scroll through the comments section of this video (more than 11,000 comments so far) you will read very strong affirmations from former Muslims who confirm the truth spoken by Yousef. Over 1.3 million people have viewed this video since it was published a few weeks ago and I would strongly encourage you to join them, when you have two hours to spare. There are some advertisements which pop up now and then, but there are not too many. 🙂

My final plea is this: PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO TO THE VERY END. Don’t tune out early. It is really important that you hear everything Yousef has to say.