Marwa Fataftar mentioned on Twitter has been flooded.
As Israeli-Palestinian violence escalated earlier this month, Fatafa, who works as a policy analyst at an online think tank focusing on Palestinian and Palestinian human rights in Berlin, posted pictures and stories of families killed in the Gaza Strip by 14,000 followers. In response, he was being trolled. Some of the hate speech, which he called the Palestinians his “terrorists,” came from an Israeli account on the right. But many thought it was Indian – Fatafata said their usernames contained Indian names and Indian flags.
“It seemed like all these racist nationalists from India and Israel were coming together,” Fatafata told BuzzFeed News. “It was an interesting event. I have never been trolled by the people of India before.”
The Israeli military has killed 28 Palestinians and Hamas 1 Israel has killed Israelis.
But the conflict has also led to online hate speech and misinformation against Muslims around the world. A full-length ad in the New York Times accuses pop star Dua Lipa and models Gigi and Bella Hadid of antisemitism. Last week, the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group, ran a Facebook ad that represented. Ilhan Omar’s face on a Hamas rocket, literally with the wrong caption: “When Israel targets Hamas, Republican Omar calls it an act of terrorism. “Israel’s official Arabic-language Twitter account Muslims are angry Tweeted verses from the Koran with images of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza (that tweet has since been deleted).
This conflict in the Middle East can create waves of hatred and lies against Muslims, it is not new. But the novel is the source: India. In the world’s largest democracy, anti-Muslim sentiment has become mainstream, both online and offline. Just a year ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party politicians as well as dozens of news channels complained at a gathering of Tablighi Jamaat, an international Islamic missionary group, after more than 4,000 cases were filed for deliberately spreading coronavirus in India. At the time, #KoronaJihad was one of the top trending topics on Twitter in the region.
On Saturday, the UK-based non-profit organization First Draft News, which researches misinformation, published an analysis of more than 300,000 tweets about the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. They found a campaign with thousands of tweets and hashtags that seem to have been created in India, one of Twitter’s main markets.
“While analyzing the tweets, we noticed that the top hashtags always have some Indian references,” Carlotta Dotto, a senior data journalist at First Draft, told BuzzFeed News. “It was interesting.”
Dotto focused on #UnitedAgainstJehad, a deliberately misspelled hashtag that was mentioned more than 40,000 times in about 6,000 accounts between May 12 and May 17. Integrated expedition Muslim Hindu nationalists have been pursuing a tendency toward Muslims over the years – such as love jihad, a baseless conspiracy theory that accuses Muslim men of converting to Islam by marrying Hindu women. Ten percent of accounts were created in May using hashtags.
“It was clear that they were using the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to spread their own story on Twitter, with the amount of attention being paid online in India and around the world.”
Although India had previously tried to avoid involvement in the region, relations between India and Israel improved dramatically under Modi, who became the first Indian prime minister to visit the country in 2017. In addition, right-wingers in India are drawn to their country’s long-standing rivalry with neighboring Pakistan.
“India’s right-wing Israel finds Israel attractive for a number of reasons,” Jensey Jacob, Boom’s managing editor, told BuzzFeed News, a leading Indian fact-checking organization. “It’s a small country surrounded by Muslim neighbors that are fighting it. It has a strong leader who is focused on defending its borders.”
Jacob added, “Whenever there is tension between an Islamic country and any other country, the right-wing ecosystem attracts anyone from the non-Muslim side.” “For them, it is a normal aggression that exposes all their prejudices about Muslims in general.”
Members of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its supporters have been involved in the clashes. BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Boga, Is called Islam is a “virus” that is “causing terror in the world” and said, “Israel is the vaccine for this virus, please support Israel.” She too Claimed Muslims believe “religion is greater than the nation.” Each tweet from Baga received thousands of retweets and likes. Hundreds of messages insulting Muslims were also sent via WhatsApp, an instant messaging app owned by Facebook used by millions of Indians.
“Most of the #IndiaStandWithIsrael tweet handles have been checked,” Tweeted Rana Ayub, a senior Indian journalist, is often targeted by right-wing Modi supporters. “A common thread that goes on is a hatred towards Muslims and genocide of Muslims and bloodshed to show their place.”
Just as the Watchtower in Israel was fighting for hatred and lying, it was not easy for their counterparts outside the country. Boom, for example, has verified the veracity of about two dozen stories, some of which told Palestinians of their plight.
“It has become one of our big issues,” Jacob Buzzfeed told the News.
A fake funeral conducted by young Jordanians in 2020 was misrepresented to avoid a coronavirus lockdown while Palestinians were making a funeral for “international sympathy.” Another viral clip attempts to dismiss a 2017 news report about Palestinian makeup artists because Palestinian residents were injured during the current conflict.
“The repression is international,” Fatafta said. “Islamophobia is the common denominator here.”