Here’s how to deal with extremist pro-Israeli trolls on social media

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We have known for a long time that the Israeli government funds intensive online attacks against people who criticise their policies or express support for the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel or actively support the Palestinian struggle for human rights.

A person attacked in this way will find messages posted online calling them a “Nazi”, “anti-Semite”, “Jew-hater” etc and will typically feel shocked and overwhelmed.

Now we know the details of how this works.

In many cases these attacks will be from a single person using multiple on-line identities on behalf of an Israeli government funded group called ACT.IL

A leaked report obtained by Electronic Intifada last week gives details of ACT.IL and how it works.

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ACT.IL boasts it has 15,000 “online volunteers” from 73 countries who use their app to perform online “missions” in exchange for “cool prizes” and “scholarships”.

ACT.IL says its goal is to “influence foreign publics” and “battle” BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.

The ACT.IL app directs comments towards news websites in support of Israel and its policies, while attacking Palestinians and solidarity campaigners.

In the leaked report ACT.IL’s app boasts of completing 1,580 such “missions” every week.

This Israeli troll army last year received $1.1 million from the Israeli government.

As well as its Israeli headquarters in Herzliya (see photo), the report lists seven offices – which it calls “media rooms”. They are in the US – New Jersey, Boston, Philadelphia, Orange County, New York, Florida and a forthcoming one in Los Angeles.

ACT.IL’s Israeli headquarters in Herzliya. (Act.IL/Facebook)

The ACT.IL tactic is based on the “trick” revealed by former Israeli Education Minister Shulamit Aloni.

In August 2002 she was interviewed on the radio and television program Democracy Now. When she was asked why people in the US were labelled anti-Semitic when they criticise Israel she said –

“Well, it’s a trick, we always use it. When from Europe somebody is criticizing Israel, then we bring up the Holocaust. When in this country (the US) people are criticizing Israel, then they are anti-Semitic…..it’s very easy to blame people who criticize certain acts of the Israeli government as anti-Semitic, and to bring up the Holocaust, and the suffering of the Jewish people, and that is to justify everything we do to the Palestinians.”

In New Zealand and other Western countries “the trick” is used to silence criticism of Israel.

Make sure you are not silenced.

Here is what to do if you get attacked online for opposing Israeli policies or supporting Palestinian rights.

Before engaging with any arguments, you should first post a response like this –

Are you a troll for Act.IL on behalf of the Israeli propaganda machine? How much are you being paid to post this? Or are you in line for a “cool prize” or a “scholarship”? What’s your real identity and what country are you posting from? Are you posting from one of ACT.ILs media rooms? The one in Herzliya perhaps?

This association will be denied but you are making an important political statement to everyone reading the troll messages. You should insist on them answering the questions and, if you are unsure, revealing their identity before you engage.

Above all – don’t let these racist troll bullies get to you.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Totally agree.

    Sadly the tactic has become widespread and now trigger words like ‘racism’ are used to silence local people and allow the rampant spread of neoliberalism around the world.

    NZ worker exploitation for example is seldom mentioned anymore, it is always ‘migrant’ worker exploitation that is mentioned by politicians. Kiwi workers have been exploited for 30 years, and have little incentive to work for rates so low and so insecure, against people who actually pay for the job, that being on a benefit makes you better off.

    Kiwibuild is building houses and giving away state house land so that people who have access to $300,000 deposit but have an income of $20 p/w and just arrived in the country are now considered more ideal to help for housing than the poor and needy living in a tent or car who if lucky gets to live in a 1 room hotel for $1200 p/w.

    People now die waiting for operations here https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/shows/2019/06/how-a-hawke-s-bay-woman-s-harmless-condition-ended-in-her-death.html?fbclid=IwAR2ClEQdcyFnm8cKsLHobrU3LBV2pb4FoSHfaN_iE2zQ_Jd49O2xNitfoE8 because in NZ our health spend per person is actually going down, due to demands of neoliberalism bringing in hundreds of thousands of new people while skilled Kiwis have to leave to find jobs that pay enough to live on, and our insatiable demand for new consumers (wealthy with little to zero income like internationals students or low skilled workers) ensures that there is an endless supply of competitors for everything that the genuinely poor compete for who live in NZ with fewer options.

    Many leftie commentators haven’t seemed to caught on the trend…

    • People are not better off on a benefit. And the government is not giving away land, they are selling it at the market value.

      Kiwi Build homes are not being sold to foreigners, only people with a permanent right to live here can own these.

      • I guess it depends on your views of foreigners, if I went to another country like USA or China or France and lived there a few years would they consider me to be a native citizen with full rights, I think not! Lets not colonise other people’s countries and nationality by making an argument that just living in a country automatically makes you a native of that country and you should get the same rights!

        From the Kiwibuild criteria

        “People who are New Zealand citizens, permanent residents or “ordinarily resident” in New Zealand can apply for KiwiBuild.

        About 70 percent of the applicants are citizens, about 22 percent permanent residents and nearly 8 percent in the third category who are people on a resident visa, have been in New Zealand for at least 12 months and are a tax resident.

        Two applicants have no residency status in New Zealand, which is allowed under the rules if they’re applying with someone who does meet the residency rules and is a spouse, civil union partner or de facto.”

        (Also bear in mind that Peter Thiel who has only visited NZ for a few days, doesn’t live here and is now a citizen of NZ, so who knows how ‘foreign’ our NZ ‘citizens’ actually are in this criteria!)

        https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/391713/kiwibuild-pre-approved-applicants-list-raises-eligibility-questions

        The point is Kiwibuild is just as likely to help a foreign student with permanent residency and a lot of cash than a struggling Kiwi born family that have less options to get on the property ladder.

        So if cash rich people, new to the country can get a Kiwibuild, it makes a mockery to help those struggling with home ownership who compete against them and the taxpayers who are subsidising the process to help more rich newbies into NZ home ownership on the NZ taxpayer!

        (meanwhile those who are renting those former state house are out on the street while their house is demolished).

        high needs people share kitchens and the taxpayers pay a fortune for the new social housing model.

        https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018693313/social-housing-tenants-feel-like-second-class-citizens

        • On that note, migration into NZ has been high since 2014, over 50,000 people came into NZ last year, and we are still losing thousands of NZ citizens each year…

          “The latest revised provisional estimate of net migration for the November 2018 year is 51,200 (± 800). Migrant arrivals are provisionally estimated at 145,500 (±700) and migrant departures at 94,200 (± 500).

          http://business.scoop.co.nz/2019/06/12/net-migration-remains-high/

          About three-quarters of migrant arrivals were non-New Zealand citizens (109,700 ± 600) in the November 2018 year. Over the same period, just over half of migrant departures were non-New Zealand citizens.

          More New Zealand citizens left the country long-term than returned – leading to an estimated net loss of 8,600 (± 500) New Zealand citizens in the November 2018 year.”

          Temporary worker numbers continue to grow

          “At 152,432, the number of temporary workers present in New Zealand on 30 June 2017 was 16 per cent higher than the year before.”

          And essential workers are still dominated by ‘chefs’… dairy cattle farm workers, carpenters, retail supervisors, cafe or restaurant managers, retail managers, aged carers, dairy cattle farmers…

          (most of those occupations are minimum or low waged so essentially once the so called ‘essential skilled’ migrants get permanent residency most will need tax payers support for accomodation and wage top ups for the rest of their lives and compete against native citizens for health, education, jobs, accomodation, transport and tertiary study as well as paying the benefits for the Kiwis who are still unemployed or become sick waiting for health care etc..)

          “Perhaps you had the impression that most temporary work visas were issued subject to some sort of labour market test (to be clear, I don’t favour such tests). If you thought that, you were wrong.”

          https://croakingcassandra.com/2018/03/31/work-visa-numbers-soar/

          So Kiwibuild ain’t really aimed at Kiwis… it is aimed at having more houses in supply for the 50,000 per year new residents and hundreds of thousands of temp workers coming into NZ who need accomodation here…

          • Immigration suits Business NZ including banksters. More consumers is their goal.

            Fuck Kiwi folk who are forced to accept crumbs off the table of the owners of policy which sees widening gaps and social services gradually demolished.

            “Public / Private Partnerships” ramp up privatisation while health and education are under attack.

            Local Councils loose control of CCOs who spend ratepayers mony to set up services that are shaped for privatisation.

            ACC will come on the block again before long.. A rare case to date where privatisation of a massive nest egg was reversed.

            The next NACT govt will push many privatsation opportunities making reversal too expensive.

            They will win while Kiwis doze watching sport.

    • “that being on a benefit makes you better off”

      Oh dear, “savenz”, dont tell us you’ve fallen for that tired old right wing trope??

      Do you even KNOW what the benefit pays?

      • If you live in Auckland and have kids on the DPB you should qualify for a lot higher than working a 40 hour working week at the minimum or living wage…. plus you then can get a lot more help because you are on a benefit, aka be put on the list for a state house, get community services card, other allowances… sadly those who really need the money on benefits or the working poor are often not good with paperwork and miss out, but if you are on a benefit and put a lot of time into working out and making sure you get all you are entitled to, then you are often better off than working for example 20 hours a week on a benefit or being on a student allowance and having most of your wages taken in taxes.

        I’m not saying benefits are good or enough to live on, BTW, I’m using it to point out that the minimum wages and living wages in places like Auckland where there are higher working costs like transport and accomodation are inadequate which has create this weird shortage of low paid workers when people are on benefits but for various reasons are often worse off getting a job. (aka if you lose your job then you get on a benefit stand down and lose income for weeks or benefit abatements means most of your wages are taken in taxes).

        Benefits are similar and in some cases less than being a working poor worker and it has created a Ponzi, where Kiwis don’t work anymore due to low wages, but low wages don’t increase here because Auckland is ground zero for hundreds of thousands of working visas given out to students and temp workers here to jump aboard the visa gravy train to permanent residency, where jobs may or may not even be real. At the same time the amounts of new people here , drives up prices of everything from housing to transport.

        Basically it is a mess, and it’s a mess spreading to the rest of the country like Wellington and the provinces as the ‘Auckland’ model gets Rolled out across the country.

        P>S. Saw that there is very low unemployment in Timaru for example and that has made employers work together to swap workers, so they don’t leave Timaru if they are on seasonal work. If more effort was made to support workers who can work but are out of the workforce for various reasons including location, then we would have a much more functioning society. Instead we are bringing in more unskilled workers or neoliberal types to head companies each year to live here and get permanent residency and citizenship while having a glass ceiling to the thousands of Kiwis leaving each year because our cost of living is too high and our wages are too low or third world conditions of some beneficiaries and working poor.

        • But any comparison like that has to take account of what low waged workers are entitled to by way of add-ons, too – this group having the lowest take up rate of supplemetary help that is available (putting aside having to deal with the bureaucracy, of course). The real problem here, though, is how low main benefits and low wages has created a whole new class of person who is reliant on state support just to be able to feed their kids. Supplementary benefits were always only meant to be a backstop for people with extra high costs or emergencies etc. The Bolger/Shipley/Richardson regime dragged these extra benefits up into what’s counted to be able to say that there’s plenty of help available to those who need it. Clark’s government were no better adding to the complexity with WFF instead of focussing on wages and main benefit rates.

          • Yes but if you factor in living expenses and time saved (aka if you have more time on a benefit you can save money on cooking for example and shopping for better deals, going to food banks) and transport (aka not paying $100+ p/w to get to work) and child care (by looking after your own child) often you are better off on a benefit than many of our low waged jobs.

            “The most expensive country is New Zealand for child care. Based on 2017/18 data, a couple with two young children earning the average wage have to devote 37.3% of their pay to childcare.

            https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/04/these-countries-have-the-most-expensive-childcare/

            Personally know quite a few people in Auckland who have decided to end a relationship with kids because they are financially better off on a benefit and living separately for example and they can still see their spouse 2 nights a week and be on the benefit.

            The issue of the government constantly trying to top up poor wages is a never ending issue which has arisen by the top ups of living, what next more subsidies for child care and transport being proposed?

            Meanwhile low waged businesses are popping up EVERYWHERE and supermarket owners for example make the rich list while the taxpayers top up their workers low wages!

            Something is VERY wrong and that is why our taxes are not being spend wisely on health and education for the people paying taxes but on top ups for industry who realise that they don’t ever have to increase wages, in fact the government migration policy is a bonus to make more low wage jobs here and wages to come down with more and more temporary workers who often will pay to work for supermarkets, cafes, retail, fast food etc… and the statistics show that those are the migrants being employed here on essential skills visas.

  2. Interesting, John

    I always thought it was curious how ceratain stories critucal of zionist Israel attracted pro-Israel comments, using “holocaust” and “anti semite” as their prime arguments

    Shining a light on their propagandising further illustrates the corruptness of their activities and policies

    Lets see who the first apologist is who pops up on this commebts section eh?

  3. Was on a news hub thread today about Mr Netanyahu’s wife stealing food to the amount of some thousands of dollars–while Palestinians are denied drinkable water!

    Anyway, some of the comments did seem suspicious indeed. Have known about the Israeli troll farms for a year or two now, and always proceed carefully. Some of those arseholes will follow you around social media too.

    A new tactic seems to be fake posters that appear to be anti Israel, or pro Palestinian, but state it in an offensive or over aggressive way, which could put off people new to the issue.

  4. So the Russians had a role model.

    So not random Jews on-line, an organised conspiracy … .

    I guess being outed, suggests they messed with a few fellow Jews, who then tracked (tapiot/toipat) them all down and plagued all their litle troll factories/media centres.

    • Billy do tell me is it possible to criticise Israel without being then called an ‘anti-semite’ and if it is please give me an example.

  5. After having posted comments re Israel that someone clearly disagreed with I have been accused of posting from Israel / on the Israeli ‘payroll’ etc . . and for the record I have never been to Israel / have never had any contact with anyone from Israel / am not Jewish . . I just don’t agree with all things at all times.

  6. I often get flurries of youtube videos come up on the side bar of right wing evangelists decrying left wing critics and theorists, titles like “Watch progressive idiot challenge speaker with left wing stupidy – instantly regrets it”. I don’t seek these out but they appear anyway. I’m thinking that they may attach to sites I do visit or search for. Even going on TDB might be enough for these trolls?

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