Since the recent outbreak of violence in Gaza and Israel, I have been working on research that looks at Hamas PR and the speed in which it is delivered from Gaza to global anti-Israel activists. I thought I had left Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party behind. I was wrong.
The research is looking at ‘independent’ social media journalists in Gaza and how they are pushing raw Hamas propaganda directly into the veins of anti-Israel activism worldwide. The very notion of press independence and Gaza is absurd. Hamas controls Gaza and everybody inside knows it. I will give just a few examples here:
- Mohammad Lafi, 24-year-old rapper from the Jabalia Refugee Camp in Gaza, held for five days in January 2017 by Hamas authorities after he released a music video entitled “Your Right” that called for people to demonstrate and participated in protests around the electricity crisis. (See report).
- Fouad Jarada, 34-year-old journalist with the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, arrested in June 2017 by Hamas forces three days after a Facebook post critical of a Hamas ally and a string of critical news reports. Authorities held him for more than two months on charges of “harming revolutionary unity,”. (ibid)
- Gazan journalist and activist Amer Balousha published a post on Facebook in which he wondered whether his leaders’ mothers also have to sleep on the floor in order to cool themselves down in the unbearable summer heat. In response he received private Facebook threats which he ignored. A few days later he was called to appear at Hamas’ Internal Security where he was beaten and held for weeks. (see report).
- In April 2017 Hamas arrested 17 activists and journalists charged with “spreading false rumors and news through social networking sites.”. (see report).
- ‘The prisons run by Hamas that I observed were typical of prisons in a third-world country. What was the most depressing is the charges pressed against prisoners, and how normalized those charges were. One man who I spoke with was a journalist who “misused technology.” Another was simply a “Palestinian Authority employee.” Another was a young lawyer who “insulted high authorities” in a moment of anger. They had all been brought in to be “disciplined,” which means terrorized, humiliated and scared into submission’. (see report)
International journalists know the drill, but are physically safer (they just won’t be let in again) but threats are still directed to the locals they work with. Gazan social media activists, sitting vulnerable in their homes with their families – they have no protection at all.
Yet it cannot end there. There is also a Hamas propaganda machine that churns out material it wants delivered to the gullible global community. This industry has even been given a name ‘Pallywood’. In the age of social media, with no filter at all between Hamas HQ and the online community, there is little doubt that much of what comes out from Gaza is nothing more than a Hamas directed newsreel. Logically, if Hamas control Gaza, if local independent reporters cannot write anything against Hamas and if some social media activists have 100,000s of followers, it would be beyond reason to suggest Hamas and these activists do not have an operational relationship.
Why wouldn’t Hamas use their power to control a pipeline with an audience of millions? The relationship can be one of ‘cooperation through intimidation’, but it need not be. With no alternative but to tow the Hamas line, why wouldn’t a social media player seek potential rewards for doing so?
Not only do these ‘independent’ activists appear to use a script sheet, they also never seriously criticise Hamas, see any weapons in use, witness any internal violence or fail to solidly support the ‘resistance’. They also rarely comment when one of their own is arrested. This is a climate of fear.
As part of the research I saw online live reports from ‘activist’ Walid Mahmoud: Mahmoud has 19,000 followers on Facebook:
Looking at his posts, there is no real criticism of Hamas. He does however tow the Hamas line by criticising the PA. Mahmoud pushes the propaganda message relentlessly. This is a person who claims to be on the front line, but he never sees a gun, never sees a Hamas operative and never sees any internal violence. This is how he reported the events of 14th May:
Peaceful demonstrators? Nobody near the fence? This is an eye-witness? Mahmoud lives there, he knows who Hamas are. If there was violence, if there were attempts to breach the fence and if Hamas later reported that fifty-two of the sixty killed were Hamas members, why wouldn’t independent journalists at the scene have told us first?
Look at this post from May about ‘rockets and resistance’.
Mahmoud is doing nothing but pushing empty Hamas propaganda. No rockets? In four years? Walid’s message is always in tune. ‘We are all innocent civilians, we are all helpless, children are dying – help us’
You don’t need to live in Gaza to spin the news (or ‘how ITV pulled a fast one’)
On the 11th May, Walid met ITV news correspondent Emma Murphy, from ITV. Walid had gone to ‘report’ from the scene.
When they met, he had on his flak jacket, camera and was possibly carrying a helmet with ‘Press’ written on it: This is a selfie of two journalists:
At some point, Walid removed the jacket, put down the camera and Emma used him in an interview, describing him as a ‘Palestinian protestor’.
Which seems both a little ‘contrived’ and ‘innovative’ to say the least.
Hamas and Corbyn
And just when I thought I was leaving the Labour Party behind, there it was, back on my computer screen. Incredibly, Walid Mahmoud manages a Facebook page called ‘we support Jeremy Corbyn‘:
The is a screenshot from the page ‘We support Jeremy Corbyn’:
The page is not an obscure one. It has over seventy thousand followers:
It is associated with another Facebook Group with over sixty-eight thousand members.
There is a clear link between the two. Until it was pointed on on Twitter in April, Mahmoud was an admin of that associated group (H/T Twitter @NudderingNudnik):
In a report, the Sunday Times referenced the group as ‘the biggest’ pro-Corbyn group on Facebook. They found it was full of ‘routine attacks on Jewish people’. I think I will run this by you again. This is a major pro-Corbyn Facebook page and the biggest Corbyn Facebook group, partially managed / administrated by a Palestinian living in the Gaza Strip who at the very least, pushes raw Hamas propaganda.
Hamas poison, dripping into the veins of the Labour Party:
If you look at Mahmoud’s activity, on the page and in the group, you can clearly see the message being spread. The drumbeat about cutting ties with mainstream media:
Similar messages can be found in the group:
But the persistent demonisation of Israel was everywhere. Hundreds and hundreds of posts. There is never any criticism of anyone but Zionists. For example in dozens of posts Walid speaks of the shortage of electricity, but NEVER points out that is a Hamas / PA dispute, not an Israeli one.
Walid also used the admin account to post propaganda. This was even cause for complaint:
He pushes the idea that Israel, controls the US is behind ISIS and seeks global domination.
Walid is also a member of a group called ‘Truthers against Zionist Lobbies’ (you can guess what that is about just from the title) and the deeply antisemitic ‘Palestine Live‘. He is an active member of ‘Jeremy Corbyn – True Socialism‘, and ‘Jeremy Corbyn Leads Us to VICTORY‘.
Funding and donations
I have written about the issue of donations heading towards Gaza before. It is not that there isn’t a call for it, but rather, how does anyone actually know where the money ends up? Walid is extremely active on the issue. Note he explicitly points out these are ‘his projects’ not projects he simply advertises for others:
In fact, when you access the funding pages he uses, you soon realise there are over a dozen campaigns. Most pass their target. Just these ‘successful’ projects raised £62000 ($80000). I say ‘just these’ because it isn’t the only funding source Walud uses. Here is a single campaign on ‘gofundme’ that raised £9000 ($11600). In this campaign, he drops ‘Mahmoud’ and just uses ‘Walid Rouk’.
Given the average annual income per person in Gaza is less than £1500 (less than $1900), Walid Mahmoud is a money making machine. At the very least, these ties are being used to direct funds to Gaza – the question then becomes what exactly are Labour supporters actually funding?
The case of Ghalya Abu-Rida
About six months after the 2014 conflict, an IDF spokesman released a photo of a soldier, giving water to an elderly woman. The woman’s name was Ghalya Abu-Rida. Such positive imagery was never going to go unanswered, and within a few weeks, a Journalist from the Hamas TV station told a story about how the soldier ‘gave her the water, took a photo with her and then he shot her in the head from a distance of one metre. He then watched as she bled to death‘. The story went viral but was clearly manufactured. The pro-Israel website Israellycool destroyed the Pallywood narrative within a matter of hours.
This is a case of clear Hamas propaganda. There is no way this happened, and Al-Aqsa TV were just doing what they were created to do. This is a hoax and everyone connected to it is openly supporting Hamas lies.
Which brings me to the Palestine Monitor report that was issued, a week after the Hamas fabricated story was released. They wanted to ‘uncover the truth’. Who did they find to talk to? Walid Rouk. This is from the report:
Walid Rouk, however, corroborates Qdeh’s account, saying that he visited the area around Ghalya Abu Rida’s home after returning to Khuza’a. He spoke to her neighbours and family about what happened; “I went to see her family at her old home and they showed me the medical report from Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. The report said she was shot from one metre away and the bullet it was lodged inside of her head,” Rouk claimed.
That is Walid Rouk Mahmoud being used to confirm a fabricated Hamas account.
In his posts, terrorists are of course martyrs. If you support ‘resistance’ as Walid does then calling the military wing of Hamas the ‘Palestinian Resistance Brigades’ is political messaging.
There is of course no attempt to report that she left a ‘shahida’ suicide note and attacked Israelis with a knife. Here is another:
The face Walid wants you to see:
And the one he doesn’t (H/T Israellycool):
There is little point in posting more of these, there are too many. The pro-Hamas links are never far away:
The man with Walid in both images is Nader Abdelnaby. The Islamic University has been described as ‘one of the prime means for Hamas to convert Palestinians to its Islamist cause,’. In 2015 when Hamas ran an #askhamas campaign on Twitter, Abdelnaby was one of those pushing for the Islamic terror outfit:
There is no way to tell whether Walid is a Hamas operative or not. Gaza is an iron curtain controlled by Hamas and all we see is a puppet show. If Walid has an Arabic account it would be hidden behind a slightly different spelling of his name. Yet it surely insults the intelligence to expect to believe that Hamas wouldn’t be interested in a social media activist with an audience of 100,000s, access to sympathetic political players in the UK and the ability to generate hard foreign currency. So if he is not ‘Hamas’ it is hard to believe he is not Hamas ‘directed’. And if he is directed, then Hamas are infiltrating the Jeremy Corbyn support network.
What is certain is this, if a Putin propaganda agent in Moscow was running Jeremy Corbyn Facebook pages, people would probably want to look long and hard at the issue. Will they do the same when it is connected to a radical Islamic terror enclave? That’s the question.
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