Illustration by Sarah Durrani
Illustration by Sarah Durrani

What is the secret behind Israel’s successful global campaign against everything evil and barbaric? (Barbaric here isn’t in reference to the Israeli carpet-bombing of Gaza or the collective punishment of 2.3 million Palestinians, or war crimes like the use of white phosphorus, because according to Israeli officials who have a track record of not lying — it just isn’t!)

Could the success be linked to the $7.1 million Israel has spent on a multi-faceted campaign that includes X and YouTube ads? (A secret we know thanks to British journalist Sophia Smith.) Or perhaps it’s because, since the events of October 7, Israel’s foreign affairs ministry has released over 75 different ads — some quite graphic and violent — on YouTube alone?

Or should we credit the notorious Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) TikTok thirst traps?

Let’s take a closer look at their solid propaganda, sorry PR strategy. Every social media strategy has five core pillars: strategy, planning and publishing, listening and engagement, analytics and reporting, and paid social media.

When working on a social media marketing campaign, one of the first steps, as we learn from this brilliant campaign, is to identify your target audience and build a brand identity. To market a genocide disguised as a “war against Hamas”, your millions in ad spend should be focused on presenting emotionally charged content to viewers in Western countries such as France, Germany, the US and the UK.

Is the Israeli digital diplomacy team outsourcing their social media content to the cheapest freelancers?

Frankly, the racist, white supremacist agenda should be an easy sell here but, for extra measure, cut off power, water and internet in Gaza for a one-sided story. Send strict instructions to all Western media outlets and have European Union officials warn Meta and X of the consequences of spreading ‘disinformation’ and ‘graphic content.’

At the same time, make sure your graphic ads pop up in between children’s YouTube videos and games, such as Angry Birds — just to add a nice touch of irony!

So, what if it adds to childhood trauma? Nothing a little therapy can’t undo. It’s October, so keep it thematic with a few Halloween ads: “These are not Halloween decorations.”

Throw in a rumour — or two — the more outrageous the better. Amidst the chaos, find a journalist willing to take the bait and repeat ‘facts’ on live TV without verification. Have the US president even “kinda-sorta-verify-seeing-images” too. Either way, the IDF’s word alone should be enough. To hell with evidence.

For starters, here’s a fun one: 40 beheaded babies. Barbaric, with just the right amount of horror to warrant the complete annihilation of Gaza and the murder of 4,000 Palestinian children.

For the purpose of this campaign, all historic events and offences that may have led to the event of October 7 are irrelevant. Years of illegal military occupation have no weight or importance and should be completely ignored and sidestepped if brought up in a discussion.

Up against the wall? Just have your ‘buddies’ with vested interests in the region parrot the following words: “Israel has a right to defend itself.” In a tight spot when questioned by a journalist or anchor? Cry foul and call them anti-Semitic.

Almost had a Freudian slip and called for a cease…. — um, “humanitarian pause?” Fumble and regain your footing with a clever “we need to see a ceasing of levels of violence we are seeing.”

Make sure you publish the right content at the right time. Offer influencers money to support genocide. Demand employers fire those who speak against it.

Despite retractions, throw ‘40 beheaded babies’ in conversations repeatedly. Be sure everyone on your team gets the same memo. Start a hashtag #HamasisISIS and tell the world you are “fighting human animals.” Meanwhile, have your guy, Betzal Taljah, correct a CNN presenter that Israel’s war in Gaza “is with all civilians” and not just Hamas.

Next are listening and engagement. This bit is particularly important if you plan on ruthlessly bombing hospitals, churches and targeting journalists. Have your official digital spokesperson proudly claim that Israel bombed the Gaza Baptist Hospital, right after you’ve bombed it. When faced with a backlash, change course and deny any knowledge of it.

In a sticky situation and quickly need some fabricated evidence? Just post a job for an Arab voice-over artist. Hire the cheapest freelancer who is willing to pull an all-nighter and deliver before your 8am brief. Then have your bros over in the West ‘independently verify’ your evidence. Side-eye experts who call it fake. Delete, edit and deny tweets as and when needed. It’s not like anyone’s going to screenshot it or add community notes to it.

Killed another journalist? Seriously guys! How hard is it to aim at the target — oh, he was the target? Okay, ignore the live footage from his camera and tell the world you are ‘investigating.’ You can admit it months later, like you did when one of your soldiers “accidentally” shot American-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

Need images from the year 2014 photoshopped to look like Hamas leaders having fun? Freelance editor. So, what if he uses MS Paint instead of Photoshop? Nobody’s going to zoom in and notice men missing fingers or a nose. Remember, there is only your version of the truth.

As a coloniser, you just need to repeat it enough times for it to become the truth. The press, peace activists, historians, humanitarian aid workers — even your own hostages — don’t get to control the narrative.

This is why you weren’t interested in having them released in the first place. Damage control by demanding all PR agencies — sorry, independent Western media — publish the same headline: “Released Hostage: I went through hell.”

Get the New York Times to describe an airstrike on a refugee camp as “Explosion Gazans say was airstrike leaves many casualties in dense neighbourhood.” Justify bombing hospitals with an audio recording that “someone happened to record.” Share a presentation claiming there are Hamas tunnels underneath them, only to have a digital investigation team rip your claims apart with some solid journalism.

Bomb Gaza, and arm settlers in the West Bank while asking the US for 24,000 assault rifles. You need those to fight Palestinian kids who throw stones. 

Keep tweeting lie after lie, till the mask falls off and the world sees you for what you truly are: an apartheid regime.

The writer is a humour columnist and satirist based in Pakistan

Published in Dawn, EOS, November 12th, 2023

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