Ihbid194 is an online activist group based in Gaza. It has been lauded by many of the anti-Israel outfits such as Electronic Intifada. They succeed simply by numerically swamping their targets. Ihbid194 boast an army of 1000s and by using tailor made, cut and pasted comments they often appear as locals (Americans, Europeans) voicing a democratic opinion. Like most anti-Israel units, they use keywords in English such as ‘equality’ and ‘justice’. In reality their Facebook page glorifies terrorists, applauds the murder of innocent children and denies the Holocaust. Their activists spam websites by posting multiple, repetitive messages. They also secretly try to damage the electoral chances of politicians that they dislike in the west. Here is the story.
It is a situation that everyone involved in fighting antisemitism / anti-Zionism recognises. We engage with a post about Jews or Israel, either on Facebook or Twitter and suddenly become surrounded by hate – as out of nowhere a swarm of hostile messages appear. The attack on the post can go on for days and involve hundreds or even thousands of negative comments. The accounts that are spamming these social media sites are clearly following instructions and from the repetitive nature of the comments and memes -many simply cut and paste a response they were given to post. These days an attack such as this is likely to be connected to a group of activists from Gaza. This one call themselves ihbid194 (Ihbid = strike, 194 is the UN resolution on the right of return).
I’ve been researching antisemitism for a long time. Researching activists in Gaza is problematic to say the least. For a start, Arabic just doesn’t translate well. You can turn an Arabic word into its English counterpart, but you cannot translate the culture embedded in the language. Often the meaning of the post is completely lost. It can take days to work through posts just to try to build a political profile and understand which faction/s the person aligns with. Beyond the language barriers – activists in Gaza tend to set up multiple accounts. If they have one where they write in English it is almost certain they have an Arabic one too. To hide multiple accounts in English they deliberately spell their names differently on each. To keep prying eyes further away the friends list is always invisible.
Take one of the founders of the online propaganda army ihbid194. When Ihbid194 started, Hasan used the name Hasan J. Aldawoudi. But his Facebook account only goes back to 2019 – the year that Ihbid194 launched. Hasan’s original account was under the name Hasan Jamal. For whatever reason he chose to create another account. Both accounts are still active. It is also possible, as both of these are in English – that there are more accounts – in Arabic – that he also uses.
The ihbid194 page launched in spring 2019. The central idea was to swamp pro-Israel commentary and websites with all the usual memes and accusations about Israel being a genocidal, apartheid, child-killing state. They target anything from US Presidents to Holocaust memorials. The more sinister side to this is that they also target their own. The group has units – like an army, and some have the responsibility of monitoring output from Palestinians to make sure it is in line with the correct ‘narrative’. Step out of line at your peril. Fascists one and all.
The Facebook page currently has 46,000 followers. There is also a public Facebook group. Ihbid194 was clearly well connected as from the start it gained wide press coverage. In fact, some early media articles are dated BEFORE the first post on the Facebook page. Beyond the Middle East, the group received coverage in places such as China and Turkey , By July 2019, even Electronic Intifada were reporting on them. According to Ihrbid194, Finnish MP Anna Kuntula has reposted and liked their material. Ihbid194 have even been used as a model for academic strategic study.
Other names at the forefront of the ihbid194 group are Ahmed Maher Jouda, Amin Abed, Ali Shaath and Mohammed al-Bourno. Adham M Al-sarhi is a name that perhaps gives a clue about the links. On his Facebook page he states that he works for the Palestinian National Authority. Abdallah Hewehi is another- he claims he was part of Fatah youth. Most of the ringleaders, not all are in Gaza. For example, Mahmoud Nashwan is in Belgium.
This video shows one of the cells at work. Just a few lads sitting in a room, spamming whatever target has been chosen for the day. The posts are prepared for them in whatever language is needed at the time. The page can provide dozens of example posts to use – to reduce the chance of duplications – and to make the attack seem as if real opinions are behind it.
ihbid194 – terrorist supporters
But let us be absolutely clear that this group glorifies terrorism and terrorists. Their narrative includes calling the killers of innocent children ‘heroes’. This image was posted on the Facebook page on the 10th March. It is a post in honour of Dalal Mughrabi. The date 11/3/1978 was the date of the Coastal road massacre. 38 civilians, including 13 children were murdered by Mughrabi and the other terrorists. The text in the middle of their post reads something like “the number of occupiers has decreased by 38“. This shows the mentality of the group. 13 of the victims were children and yet they still celebrate their deaths and honour their killers. They count the children in Tel Aviv as occupiers. There is no room in their world for Jews at all.
There were dozens of responses on the Mughrabi Facebook post all praising the ‘martyr’ and wishing her ‘glory’. This is clearly a pro-terrorist outfit. What makes this even worse is that the pro-terrorist material is their own and carries their own logo. The page has 46000 followers and produces and disseminates material glorifying terrorists. How Facebook and Twitter allow this type of thing is beyond understanding.
Peace activists these are not. You don’t even have to look far on their personal pages to find glorification of violence and terrorism. Just three examples. From left to right – from the pages of Abdallah Hewehi, Amin Abed, Mohammed-al Bourno, Ahmed Jouda and Adham M Al-sarhi::
Attacking Jews and the Holocaust
‘But, but Zionists – this is about fighting Israel, not Jews’ I can hear people say.
Is it? Take the recent ihbid94 attack on Jews commemorating the start of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. On April 18th, the World Jewish Congress marked the anniversary:
The uprising was an attempt to prevent the Nazis transporting the Ghetto’s remaining Jews to Treblinka. 100,000s had already been taken. Marek Edelman, the man referenced in the WJC tweet was a leading Bundist. Bundism was a non-Zionist, socialist movement. Edelman became a vocal anti-Zionist later in life and never left his native Poland. There is nothing here about Israel to attack.
ihbid194 went for the Facebook post first, asking people to ‘drown out posts’ commemorating the uprising with ‘posts about Palestinian prisoners’:
WJC usually get a few dozen comments on their posts. On FB, their Warsaw Ghetto post received over 1600. To maintain the dignity of the occasion the WJC deleted many of the ihbid posts. In response to the blocking of accounts and deleting of images, the Gaza gang took to Twitter to attack the commemorative post there:
These people are spitting all over Holocaust memorial posts that have nothing to do with Israel at all. The Zionist argument doesn’t work here. This is vile antisemitism.
IHBID194 and Holocaust denial
Attacking Holocaust memorials is perhaps no surprise. Ihbid194 recently uploaded a video to their followers that blatantly calls the Holocaust a myth. The video actually states that “the Holocaust was a gain for the Jews in all its aspects”. The ihbid194 FB page tags and names Saleh K. Abu Shamala as the star of the video. Shalama used to work for UNWRA. These days he produces videos claiming that only 200-350,000 Jews were killed by the Nazis. He also says that the Auschwitz camp may have been created after the war by the Poles. The original full video (12 minutes) is online here and here. In case they remove it – I have uploaded a shorter version which contains some of the offensive comments:
This was no mistake, key figures in Ihbid194, such as Hasan Jamal and Adham M Al-sarhi shared the Holocaust denial video onto their personal Facebook pages.
Ihbid194 and the attacks on Trump and the Republicans
What about more direct political activity? The group openly refers to the USA as a ‘virus’.
Donald Trump and Republican figures are key targets for the group. There are highly troublesome posts. ihbid194 explicitly attacked an impeachment related post. Some of the comments mention ‘Palestine’, but many do not. They just come across as negative comments towards the President. The post has nothing to do with Israel or the conflict. There were 1000s of responses but when Americans engaged with this post they cannot have been aware that a hefty percentage of these comments came from a coordinated social media attack from Gaza.
More recently they attacked a White House Facebook post following Trumps announcement of the peace plan. How many of the Trump impeachment posts on that thread came not from Democrats, but as part of an attack from Gaza? This was one of the posts handed to the army to spread around:
Which led to 1000s of posts being copied onto the White House page. Like this one:
Ihbid194 have stalked Trump and openly say they want to spoil his campaign for re-election. They posted this message about damaging his re-election on a ‘four more years’ post from Team Trump in June 2019:
The post does not just reference spoiling his campaign, but clearly highlights an ongoing coordinated attack. There was an attack on a Trump post about the G20. Another on a White House video about creating a prosperous ‘Palestine’- and another. In one single attack they boasted of directing 3000 negative comments and overwhelming a post in just a single hour. These are not 3000 voices. They are a group of organised trolls bulk spamming a post to turn the general feedback from balanced or positive to negative.
This was not the first time. Ihbid942 were proud of these constant attacks on Trump – and they did not go unnoticed:
This isn’t imagined. The Nablus based news outlet Al-Najah reported on the attack and President Trump’s response. One wonders if he knows it was a coordinated attack from Gazan trolls. They attack Trump but support the ‘squad’. When Democrat Rashida Tlaib needed support on her Facebook page, ihbid194 was there to help her. Tlaib received support from Gaza on more than one occasion.
ihbid194 attack on Boris
On 1st September 2019, Boris Johnson published a post commemorating 70 years since the outbreak of WW2.
This Boris Johnson video is not about Jerusalem or Israel, but rather about the British and allies defeating Nazi fascism. Even so, it was still a target for the Gaza troll army. Later the same day, the Ihbid194 webpage issued a call to action:
These are some of the examples given to the online army – translated for them to English to C& P
As a result the post was inundated with Palestinian flags and comments from Gaza.
Other targets for hostile action have included the United Nations, UNWRA, the Foreign Minister of the UAE, the Embassy of the UAE in the US, Prince Charles attending a Holocaust memorial service, the Argentinian and Uruguayan Football Associations. They have even launched an attack on the Royal Family Facebook page, on a post about the Rugby World Cup Final between England and South Africa. Also the Swedish Foreign Minister, the President of Croatia, CNN, PBS, Time Magazine, FIFA, The Mayor of Paris, MBC, Jared Kutchner, the Daily Mail and many others.
The attack on the Israel Advocacy Movement
A couple of weeks ago as Ihbid194 were spamming a thread with posts about Palestinian prisoners, a pro-Israeli activist countered a comment and linked to a video produced by the Israel Advocacy movement. IAM’s video pointed out many prisoners are terrorists – explicitly naming some problematic figures. It obviously caught the eye of someone at ihbid194 – because that IAM video became their next target.
This was the response:
Heroes? The people mention in Joseph’s video were those such as Adnan Jabar, who murdered six people as they returned home from Friday night prayers. Once again, the pro-terrorist leaning of this group exposes itself.
I witnessed the attack on IAM in real time. There were over 1000 responses in an hour – but this did not mean that 1000 people were responding. For example, Adman M Al-sahri, one of the leaders of ihbid194, posted over 30 messages on the video. The images that he posted were for the most part of terrorists – not political prisoners. Other accounts also posted multiple messages. Most of the accounts did use one of the seventeen formulated messages provided for them on the Ihbid194 page. It was a coordinated spam attack.
Labour and Jeremy Corbyn
The date is 25 September 2019. The Labour Party conference has just ended and it is clear we are heading for a general election. The Labour Party post a call on Facebook for people to register to vote. This is pure internal UK politics. Ihbid194 jumped into action – sending positive messages onto the Labour Party post.
There were a total of 1000 comments on the post. This is a UK election post and over half of the comments were incredibly supportive and were placed onto the page under the instruction of an online army in Gaza. This isn’t the first time Gaza has mobilised for Jeremy Corbyn. Last year I discovered a Hamas propaganda group also posting pro-Corbyn messages. How many of the pro- Labour Party comments were organised Palestinian interference? They also ran other campaigns to place positive messages directly onto posts by Jeremy Corbyn.
Ronaldinho went to Israel and posted an image of himself along with the word ‘shalom’. Ihbid and others went on the attack. The image received an astonishing 336,000 comments, many of them abusive.
Ihbid942 did not do this alone – but the level of abuse is staggering. They do this with anyone travelling to Israel. Can you imagine being a 20-year-old artist, someone whose career depends on public image, suddenly experiencing such an attack? Social media platforms have to get a grip on this type of abuse.
This is not about silencing voices. Ihbid 194 is an organised online gang that promotes terrorism, denies the Holocaust and stalks politicians – spamming their social media pages with posts that they didn’t even write themselves and don’t understand. They bully and abuse and openly brag about interfering in democratic elections. Is this really what Facebook consider acceptable?
The page is here for those who wish to report it.
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