Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Israel accused of running influence campaign targeting US politicians

Israel-Palestine conflict

Published 7 June 2024
- By Editorial Staff
According to the data, more than 600 fake profiles and more than 2,000 coordinated posts per week were published in support of Israel's war in Gaza.

The organization FakeReporter claims in a report that Israel is behind an extensive influence campaign targeting American politicians. Israel allegedly used fake news sites and AI-powered social media accounts to spread pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian content.

According to the New York Times, citing anonymous Israeli officials and documents related to the operation, Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs organized and funded a $2 million campaign and hired the Israeli political marketing group STOIC to carry out the operation.

The campaign, which first came to light in March this year, is said to have used hundreds of fake accounts posing as American students and citizens to influence US lawmakers, with a particular focus on black Democrats.

– Israel’s role in this is reckless and probably ineffective, said Achiya Schatz, Executive Director of FakeReporter.


During the campaign, the sources said, the ChatGPT AI tool was used to generate pro-Israel posts and articles that were then published on fake news sites. Among the sites created were three English-language sites that published pro-Israel articles, often stolen from well-known news sources such as CNN and the Wall Street Journal.

According to POLITICO, the campaign targeted at least 128 members of the US Congress, including well-known names such as Chuck Schumer, Jim Clyburn, Ilhan Omar and Hakeem Jeffries. The social media posts primarily targeted Democratic politicians in the House of Representatives, urging them to support Israel’s military actions.

– [That Israel] ran an operation that interferes in US politics is extremely irresponsible. If Israel does not wish to be victims of foreign interventions, it must refrain from carrying them out by itself, says Achiya Schatz.

Israel denies involvement

Since the revelation, Meta and OpenAI have shut down several accounts, but note that the campaign does not appear to have had much impact, as most of the followers were so-called ‘bots’.

The campaign peaked in October 2023, when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched its war in Gaza in response to Hamas attacks on October 7. Despite the Israeli government’s denials of involvement, reports show that fake accounts and news sites were created to spread pro-Israeli messages.

A spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in Washington declined to comment on the report, instead referring to a statement from the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs that “categorically” denied involvement.

“We would like to clarify that neither the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs nor the Voices of Israel have any connection or collaborative activities with the company STOIC. Any claims suggesting otherwise are completely unfounded and inaccurate”, the statement said.

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