Latest news about the israelian murderous attack


Israel's Internet War: Team Twitter Israel's Internet War By JONATHAN COOK in Nazareth.

The passionate support for Israel expressed on talkback sections of websites, internet chat forums, blogs, Twitters and Facebook may not be all that it seems.

Israel’s foreign ministry is reported to be establishing a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf the internet 24 hours a day spreading positive news about Israel.

 Internet-savvy Israeli youngsters, mainly recent graduates and demobilised soldiers with language skills, are being recruited to pose as ordinary surfers while they provide the government’s line on the Middle East conflict.

 “To all intents and purposes the internet is a theatre in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we must be active in that theatre, otherwise we will lose,” said Ilan Shturman, who is responsible for the project.

 The existence of an “internet warfare team” came to light when it was included in this year’s foreign ministry budget. About $150,000 has been set aside for the first stage of development, with increased funding expected next year.

 The team will fall under the authority of a large department already dealing with what Israelis term “hasbara”, officially translated as “public explanation” but more usually meaning propaganda. That includes not only government public relations work but more secretive dealings the ministry has with a battery of private organisations and initiatives that promote Israel’s image in print, on TV and online.

 In an interview this month with the Calcalist, an Israeli business newspaper, Mr Shturman, the deputy director of the ministry’s hasbara department, admitted his team would be working undercover.

 “Our people will not say: ‘Hello, I am from the hasbara department of the Israeli foreign ministry and I want to tell you the following.’ Nor will they necessarily identify themselves as Israelis,” he said. “They will speak as net-surfers and as citizens, and will write responses that will look personal but will be based on a prepared list of messages that the foreign ministry developed.” 

 Rona Kuperboim, a columnist for Ynet, Israel’s most popular news website, denounced the initiative, saying it indicated that Israel had become a “thought-police state”.

 She added that “good PR cannot make the reality in the occupied territories prettier. Children are being killed, homes are being bombed, and families are starved.”

 Her column was greeted by several talkbackers asking how they could apply for a job with the foreign ministry’s team.

 The project is a formalisation of public relations practices the ministry developed specifically for Israel’s assault on Gaza in December and January.

 “During Operation Cast Lead we appealed to Jewish communities abroad and with their help we recruited a few thousand volunteers, who were joined by Israeli volunteers,” Mr Shturman said.

 “We gave them background material and hasbara material, and we sent them to represent the Israeli point of view on news websites and in polls on the internet.”

 The Israeli army also had one of the most popular sites on the video-sharing site YouTube and regularly uploaded clips, although it was criticised by human rights groups for misleading viewers about what was shown in its footage.

 Mr Shturman said that during the war the ministry had concentrated its activities on European websites where audiences were more hostile to Israeli policy. High on its list of target sites for the new project would be BBC Online and Arabic websites, he added.

 Elon Gilad, who heads the internet team, told Calcalist that many people had contacted the ministry offering their services during the Gaza attack. “People just asked for information, and afterwards we saw that the information was distributed all over the internet.”

 He suggested that there had been widespread government cooperation, with the ministry of absorption handing over contact details for hundreds of recent immigrants to Israel, who wrote pro-Israel material for websites in their native languages.

 The new team is expected to increase the ministry’s close coordination with a private advocacy group, (Give Israel Your United Support). About 50,000 activists are reported to have downloaded a programme called Megaphone that sends an alert to their computers when an article critical of Israel is published. They are then supposed to bombard the site with comments supporting Israel.

 Nasser Rego of Ilam, a group based in Nazareth that monitors the Israeli media, said Arab organisations in Israel were among those regularly targeted by hasbara groups for “character assassination”. He was concerned the new team would try to make such work appear more professional and convincing.

 “If these people are misrepresenting who they are, we can guess they won’t worry too much about misrepresenting the groups and individuals they write about. Their aim, it’s clear, will be to discredit those who stand for human rights and justice for the Palestinians.”

 When The National called the foreign ministry, Yigal Palmor, a spokesman, denied the existence of the internet team, though he admitted officials were stepping up exploitation of new media.

 He declined to say which comments by Mr Shturman or Mr Gilad had been misrepresented by the Hebrew-language media, and said the ministry would not be taking any action over the reports.

 Israel has developed an increasingly sophisticated approach to new media since it launched a “Brand Israel” campaign in 2005. 

 Market research persuaded officials that Israel should play up good news about business success, and scientific and medical breakthroughs involving Israelis.

 Mr Shturman said his staff would seek to use websites to improve “Israel’s image as a developed state that contributes to the quality of the environment and to humanity”.

 David Saranga, head of public relations at Israel’s consulate-general in New York, which has been leading the push for more upbeat messages about Israel, argued last week that Israel was at a disadvantage against pro-Palestinian advocacy.

 “Unlike the Muslim world, which has hundreds of millions of supporters who have adopted the Palestinian narrative in order to slam Israel, the Jewish world numbers only 13 million,” he wrote in Ynet.

 Israel has become particularly concerned that support is ebbing among the younger generations in Europe and the United States.

 In 2007 it emerged that the foreign ministry was behind a photo-shoot published in Maxim, a popular US men’s magazine, in which female Israeli soldiers posed in swimsuits.


 Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is

 A version of this article originally appeared in The National (, published in Abu Dhabi.





 Israelian nationalists of Knesset attack against the activists, vid:


 Israelian nationalists protest in solidarity with the murders comitted by IOF, vid:




 About Rachel Corrie ship:





 Taoiseach Brian Cowen today called on Israel to allow the Irish-owned aid ship MV Rachel Corrie safe passage to Gaza. 

 The boat, with five Irish activists aboard, is currently off the coast of Crete en route to Gaza. It is carrying humanitarian supplies, including medical supplies, children's toys, educational and rebuilding materials.

 Israel, which has warned it will be stopped if it tries to reach the Gaza Strip, said it would allow the Rachel Corrie to dock in Israel or Egypt, from where its cargo would be inspected and distributed. The ship’s crew have rejected this offer and pledged to plough on towards Gaza.

 Mr Cowen, speaking in the Dáil during Leaders' Questions this morning, said the Government was in constant contact with the Israeli government. He called for "absolute restraint" in relation to the Rachel Corrie , which he insisted was on a humanitarian mission.

 "The presence of cement on board the vessel is not regarded by the Israelis as product that is simply humanitarian," Mr Cowen said. "We await to see what emerges from that definition they have been putting forward.”

 Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin also said the ship should be permitted to continue its mission. “It is imperative that there should be no further confrontation or bloodshed arising from what has been all along a purely humanitarian mission by those involved in the Gaza flotilla,” he said in a statement.

 Speaking this morning from the Rachel Corrie, activist Derek Graham of the Free Gaza Movement said it would probably be Friday or Saturday when Israeli forces approached the vessel. He said he would be advising the 15 passengers and crew to sit quietly with their hands showing so the Israelis could not claim they were being attacked. Mr Graham said

 "We are a peaceful mission, we have always been a peaceful mission, we have been arrested before by the Israelis . . . they have seen we have not show them any kind of aggression, and we hope they will treat us with the utmost of respect," Mr Graham said on RTÉ Radio.

 He said it showed the brutality of the Israelis that they were prepared to stop 1,000 tonnes of aid getting to Palestinians. "They can twist his whatever way they want . . . we're helping all of Palestine not just Hamas. This medical aid goes to everybody."

 He said John Ging, head of the UN agency which looks after Palestinian refugees in Gaza, had repeatedly stated the amount of aid going into the territory was "ridiculously small" for the population there.

 Mr Graham accused Israel of committing "slow genocide" in relation to blockading Gaza and said they were getting away with it "because they are recognised as being the best spin doctors in the world".

 He said more than 400 children had died during the Israeli offensive in Gaza that began in December 2008, and that children had died since the war due to lack of medical facilities.

 The Rachel Corrie , which began its voyage in Ireland, was named after a young US woman killed by an Israeli bulldozer demolishing Palestinian homes in Gaza.

 Irishman Shane Dillon arrived back in Dublin airport last night via Frankfurt on a Lufthansa flight after being deported from Israel. Mr Dillon was first mate on the Challenger 1 which was among the six-strong flotilla stopped by Israeli commandos. A second Irish citizen, Isam Ben Ali, is expected to return home within the next 24 hours.


 Who are the Irish people involved?


 The Irish activists who were held in a detention camp in the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva include:


* Paul McGeough (56), an Irish-born journalist and chief correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald . He has reported from the Middle East for two decades.

* Dublin-based Shane Dillon (36), first mate on the Challenger 1. He has served as chief officer on Irish and British merchant ships. He is the brother of musician Eoin Dillon from traditional band Kila. He arrived back in Dublin last night after being deported.

* Dr Fintan Lane (43), a historian, political activist and spokesman for the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign. He has written and edited several books on modern Irish history.

* Fiachra Ó Luain (28), a peace activist from Co Donegal who contested the 2009 European elections in Ireland North-West. He was one of the first people to protest over the US military using Shannon airport.

* Isam Bin Ali, a naturalised Irish citizen who was born in Libya.

* Al Mahdi al Harati (37), who was also born in Libya and is a naturalised Irish citizen, was under detention at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv last night. He is due to return to Ireland today.


 Meanwhile, on board the MV Rachel Corrie , which is on its way to Gaza, are the following Irish activists:

* Fiona Thompson from Dundalk, a documentary film-maker.

* Denis Halliday, a former assistant secretary general of the UN. After more than 30 years in the UN, he was appointed humanitarian co-ordinator in Iraq in 1997. Halliday is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

* Electrician Derek Graham and his wife, Jenny Graham, from Ballina, Co Mayo. Both are members of the Free Gaza Movement.

* Maireád Maguire, a 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner and co-founder of the Peace Movement in Northern Ireland. She was detained last year after attempting to get into Gaza with a boatload of aid. This is her third humanitarian trip to the Palestinian territories.



 Freedom Flotilla 2:


 Date: 02-06-2010, 17:00 GMT London, UK: Preparation is already well underway for an even larger “Freedom Flotilla Two” to be launched in the coming weeks. The new flotilla will travel to Gaza again in matter of weeks. Statements by the EU, the UN and others have made it imperative that Israel obey international law and lift the blockade. For example, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stated that the siege is “unsustainable and unacceptable.” While Israel does have genuine security concerns, this does not allow it to break international law. Contrary to Israeli spin-doctors, we want to emphasise that both the current and future flotillas are humanitarian and comprised of civilians working with other civilians, without support for specific Palestinian political parties. The humanitarian aid flotillas will continue to be sent until the siege on Gaza is lifted. We expect the international community to turn their strong words about the need to lift the siege on Gaza into concrete action. If governments don’t step up to insist that Israel abide by international law, civilians will continue to do the work. Members of the media who wish to be onboard the “Freedom Flotilla Too” should contact the people below.



 Notes: 1-The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) is an umbrella group of 34 European human rights and humanitarian organisations who have come together to collectively pressure the international community and Israel to end the siege on Gaza’s civilian population. 2-The “Freedom Flotilla” comprised boats from the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG), Free Gaza Movement (FG), Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), Ship to Gaza Greece, Ship to Gaza Sweden, and the International Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza 3-At present, MV Rachel Corrie is route to Gaza and due to dock there in the next days. The MV Rachel Corrie is carrying humanitarian supplies including medical equipment, wheelchairs, school supplies and cement. Onboard the boat is a mix of Malaysians and Irish civilians, including noble prize winner Mairead Corrigan-Maguire. The Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Brian Cowen has stated that “it is clear that this incident took place in international waters” and “If any harm comes to any of our citizens it will have the most serious consequences.” For further information contact: Greta Berlin Free Gaza Movement Tel: +35799187275 Rory Byrne European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza Mobile: +44 (0)7980489841 Tel: +44 (0)2086218000 Email: Dr. Arafat Shoukri European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza Mobile: +44 (0)7908200559 Tel: +44 (0)2086218000 Email: