Israel launches graphic social media campaign in Europe to counter Hamas

 Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs has launched a new salvo against Hamas on social media.

By Deborah Fineblum, World Israel News

Marking one year since Hamas launched the so-called “March of Return,” which saw increased border attacks against Israel, the terrorist organization is upping its acts of violent aggression even further, with threats of more to come.

As Israel’s efforts to defend itself have unleashed a wave of heightened media criticism, Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs has launched a salvo of its own.

Last week the Ministry released a two-week campaign across Europe’s social media. Using arresting graphics, the Ministry is posting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to raise awareness about Hamas’ egregious human rights violations against its own people.

Repeated instances of child abuse – including arming youngsters and sending them out as soldiers – and aggression against Palestinians in the LGBT community are among the human rights violations spotlighted in the series of posts.

The campaign was announced at a recent conference of Digitell, a government-sponsored network bringing together pro-Israel organizations around the world in a cooperative online initiative designed to counter misinformation about Israel.

The campaign’s hashtag is a play on words,” Ido Daniel, senior director for digital strategy for the Ministry, told World Israel News. Israel is taking the Hamas mantra “Free Gaza” and coming back with “Free Gaza from Hamas.”

The current campaign’s target are the Europeans, who mostly follow news online. “Many of them are looking on Facebook for current affairs, but they’re not getting the context or the background, the oppression that Palestinians in Gaza are living with under Hamas rule.”

“We’re trying to give some understanding of what’s going on, some broader perspective to what they see online and in the news about Israel,” Daniel said. “We’re showing that Hamas is a violent terror group that’s not just about the deadly balloons, arson attacks and bombing of Israel but that the Gazans themselves, living in harsh oppressive conditions, are terrified of” them as well.

Europeans “don’t have America’s larger Jewish communities involved in pro-Israel advocacy,” Daniel says, adding “And the anti-Israel bias is across the board in Europe, on TV and radio news, in newspapers and on social media.”

And, though social media is traditionally considered the domain of the young, more and more older users are joining in, especially on Facebook, Daniel said.

He says the Ministry is frequently contacted by those who have noticed “the negative news stories and deceiving headlines … they are puzzled why the only democracy in the Mideast gets this constantly negative coverage.”

Although Europe is the first attempt, Daniel says an American-focused social media graphics campaign is in the works.