Marwa Fatafta’s mentions on Twitter were overwhelmed.
Following the escalation of violence in Israel and Palestine earlier this month, Fatafta is a Palestinian and serves as a policy analyst at an online think tank focusing on Palestinian human rights in Berlin. She has been posting to her about the deaths in the Gaza Strip. Family photos and stories. 14,000 followers. In response, she was deceived. Some of the hate speech that refers to Palestinians as “terrorists” comes from far-right Israelis. But many people seem to be from India-Fatafta said that their usernames have Indian names and Indian flags.
“It seems that all these nationalists from India and Israel have come together,” Fatafta told BuzzFeed News. “This is a fascinating phenomenon. I have never been bullied by an Indian before.”
But the conflict has also triggered a wave of hate speech and misinformation against Muslims around the world.New York Times full-page ad defendant Pop star Dua Lipa and anti-Semitism models Gigi and Bella Hadid. Last week, the U.S. Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobby group, Run Facebook ads Superimposed the face of Rep. Ilhan Omar on the Hamas rocket, Actually inaccurate Explanation: “When Israel targeted Hamas, Representative Omar called it a terrorist act.” Israel’s official Arabic Twitter account Irritate muslims By posting verses in the Quran and pictures of Israeli air strikes on Gaza on Twitter (this tweet has been deleted).
It is nothing new that conflicts in the Middle East may trigger a wave of hatred and lies against Muslims. But the novelty is the source: India. In the world’s largest democracy, anti-Muslim hatred has steadily become mainstream, both online and offline.Just a year ago, politicians in the party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and dozens of news channels Accusation gathering Tablighi Jamaat is an international Islamic mission organization that deliberately spread coronavirus After more than 4,000 cases in India To be linked To it. At the time, #CoronaJihad was one of the hottest topics on Twitter in the region.
On Saturday, First Draft News, a non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom, studied misinformation. Publish Analysis of more than 300,000 tweets related to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. They found that a campaign containing thousands of tweets and hashtags appeared to be created in India, which is one of Twitter’s main markets.
“When analyzing the tweets, we noticed that the top tags always have some Indian references,” Carlota Doto, a senior data reporter at First Draft, told BuzzFeed News. “It’s amazing.”
Dotto focuses on #UnitedAgainstJehad, which is a deliberately misspelled hashtag that was mentioned more than 40,000 times by nearly 6,000 accounts between May 12 and May 17.Analysis shows that the hashtag is Coordinated movement Designed to make it a trend, along with the metaphors about Muslims that Hindu nationalists in India have been erupting for years-for example Holy war of love, An unfounded conspiracy theory accusing Muslim men of converting Hindu women to Islam through marriage. 10% of accounts using hashtags were created in May.
Doto said: “It is clear that they are using the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to promote their own narrative on Twitter in India and around the world because it has attracted a lot of attention online.”
Although India had previously tended to avoid participating in the region, under Modi’s leadership, relations between India and Israel have improved significantly, and Modi became the first Indian prime minister to visit the country in 2017. Part of the reason is that the leaders of both countries are conservative nationalists. In addition, India’s right-wingers take advantage of the country’s long-term competition with neighboring Pakistan.
“India’s right wing thinks Israel is attractive for many reasons,” Jency Jacobs, editor-in-chief of Boom, India’s leading fact-checking organization, told BuzzFeed News. “This is a small country surrounded by Muslim neighbors and is fighting against it. It has a strong leader focused on protecting the border.”
“Whenever there is tension between an Islamic country and any other country, the far-right ecosystem is attracted to the non-Muslim side,” Jacobs added. “For them, this is a natural aggression, which greatly reduces all their prejudice against Muslims.”
India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its supporters seized the conflict. Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party, call Islam is a “virus”, it “creates terrorism in the world”, and said: “Israel is the vaccine for this virus, please support Israel.” He also claim Muslims believe that “religion is greater than the country.” Every tweet from Bagga has received thousands of reposts and likes. Hundreds of messages slandering Muslims were also forwarded through WhatsApp, an instant messaging application owned by Facebook and used by hundreds of millions of Indians.
“Checked most #IndiaStandWithIsrael tweet handles,” Tweet Rana Ayyub is a high-profile Indian journalist who is often targeted by far-right Modi supporters. “One of the common thread throughout them is the hatred of Muslims and the bloodthirsty desire to see Muslims being slaughtered and to show their status.”
Acting as a regulatory agency in Israel Try hard to keep up Because of hatred and lies, it is not easy for them to travel abroad.For example, Boom is almost fact-checked Two dozen stories, Some of them portray the Palestinians as pretending to be suffering.
“This has become one of our important topics,” Jacob told BuzzFeed News.
One of the error messages Wrongly portrayed In 2020, young Jordanians organized a mock funeral to escape the coronavirus lockdown, as Palestinians pretended to be funerals for “international sympathy.”Another virus clip Try to fake A 2017 news report about a Palestinian makeup artist pretending to be injured as a Palestinian resident in the current conflict.
“The suppression is transnational,” Fatafta said. “Islamophobia is the common denominator here.”