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The Israeli government is paying for anti-BDS journalism

The Israeli ministry tasked with fighting the BDS Movement is spending millions of shekels to place propaganda that looks like news in Israel’s most prominent media outlets.

By Itamar Benzaquen

The Israeli government paid the Yedioth Group, publisher of Israel’s best-selling daily newspaper, hundreds of thousands of shekels to publish articles and interviews meant to influence readers to support a campaign Israel is waging against its critics. The Strategic Affairs Ministry, headed by Minister Gilad Erdan, purchased positive coverage and the distribution of that content on the Internet.

According to information provided to “The Seventh Eye” and “Hatzlacha,” as part of a freedom of information request, the Yedioth Ahronoth Group received NIS 350,000 ($100,000) to publish journalistic articles, which were then distributed by member organizations of the “Pro-Israel Network” in Israel and around the world. The articles, according to the information furnished, were meant to motivate or enlist Israelis into the struggle.

The paid-for articles were published starting in June 2017 in the news section of Yedioth Ahronoth‘s weekend magazine, and on its website, Ynet. Like other campaigns that included purchasing articles from the newspaper, this one also included promotions in the widely-distributed weekend edition.

Alongside the paid-for articles, Ynet also published promotional videos produced by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, as well as three interviews with a ranking official at the ministry, Tzahi Gabrieli. Two of those paid-for interviews were conducted by Ynet’s senior political correspondent, Attila Somfalvi, who asked soft-ball questions that allowed him to present his talking points.

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In addition to the interviews with Gabrieli, Yedioth also interviewed a string of people from various Jewish organizations that do not have direct ties to the state. The role of those organizations in the government efforts against de-legitimization and their ties to the government are unclear.

Two of those organizations, the “World Jewish Congress” and “Stand With Us,” were sponsors of Yedioth’s anti-BDS conference last year, in which senior politicians and officials from the Strategic Affairs Ministry took part. “Over the last year,” wrote journalist Reuven Weiss in one of the paid-for articles, “the boycott movement’s main base of operations in their campaign to delegitimize Israel has moved to social media, and...

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Mexico used Israeli software to spy on journalists, activists

A New York Times investigation reveals how the Mexican government used software developed by an Israeli company to hack the phones of anti-corruption lawyers and activists in Mexico.

By Edan Ring

An Israeli cyber and spyware company, NSO, is in the headlines again over its software being used to hack the phones of anti-corruption lawyers and activists in Mexico. Nonetheless, it has been considered a source of “Israeli pride.” Established by veterans of the IDF’s main intelligence unit and run out of Herzliya, NSO’s spying and eavesdropping software – and above all its Pegasus spyware — have earned it global name recognition. Last year, Apple was forced to release an iPhone security update after it was discovered that Pegasus had been used to try and hack the phone of an Emirati human rights activist. The Israeli company had almost managed to take advantage of what was then considered the most secure operating system in the world.

Pegasus is thought to be among the most sophisticated software of its kind. It allows users to remotely take over cellphones and computers, to take pictures with their cameras and record conversations with their microphones, and overall to turn them into spying devices that can pass on huge amounts of their owners’ personal information.

This software has won plaudits from across the world of cyber security, and has raked in money for NSO. The cyber outfit has been valued at around a billion dollars, amid speculation that its investment funder is looking to sell it off — a dream come true for all startup companies in the “Start-up Nation.”

Yet this “Israeli pride” is highly questionable. An expansive investigation by Canadian research center Citizen Lab, published in the New York Times this week, reveals how the Mexican government purchased the Pegasus software and used it to spy on lawyers, journalists and human rights activists working to combat state corruption.

NSO would have charged around $650,000 to track the activity of dozens of iPhones, according to documents previously presented by New York Times researchers, in addition to the $500,000 payment to install the software. Since 2011 the Mexican government has, according to the more recent investigation, paid NSO around $80 million for use of its spyware in order to monitor various human and civil rights advocates and activists.

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Netanyahu scandal exposes corruption in the Israeli press

The alleged dealing between Netanyahu and the publisher of ‘Yedioth’ reveals the driving force behind Israel’s biggest newspapers — a type of corruption that couldn’t exist in media outlets with truly independent journalists.

By Shuki Tausig

Israeli media this week revealed secretly recorded conversations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the publisher of the country’s best-selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth. The contents of the conversations, ostensibly negotiations between the two men, once again expose the bitter truth about the world of Israel’s media: it is one in which media and journalistic outlets are driven solely by economic interests. They are beholden by the owners’ bottom line, and their journalistic work is constrained and governed by external interests and illicit relationships with the subjects of their coverage.

According to the reports by Haaretz and Channel 2, the recordings are of Netanyahu and Yedioth publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes discussing a deal according to which Yedioth will alter its hostile coverage of Netanyahu. In return, Netanyahu will act to reduce the circulation of rival newspaper Israel Hayom, and perhaps even stop it from putting out a weekend magazine edition.

Such deals reiterate just how baseless many of the widespread axioms about the Israeli press and journalists are, specifically:

  • That Yedioth Ahronoth is a newspaper that is ideologically opposed to Netanyahu.
  • That Israel Hayom is an ideologically right-wing newspaper.
  • That journalists at both Yedioth and Israel Hayom operate independently and free of third-party interests.

The alleged deal demonstrates that Yedioth Ahronoth doesn’t actually have a problem with Netanyahu and Israel Hayom isn’t particularly identified with the political right. They are personal media outlets used for specific aims: Yedioth is utilized to generate profits for the ownership, controlled by Mozes. Its hostile coverage of Netanyahu is not the result of any affinity for his political opponents, and certainly not borne of ideology; it is a response to the threat posed to Yedioth’s bottom line by Netanyahu when he brought about the creation of Israel Hayom.

On the one hand, we can conclude from the alleged conversations that Israel Hayom is not the ideological mouthpiece of a silenced right wing, but rather a blunt instrument designed to serve the political maneuvers of a single politician. Out of a desire to make gains with a “left-wing” newspaper, the prime minister was willing to inflict a price on a “right-wing” paper.

Senior journalists at Israel Hayom have for...

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Report: Sharp spike in repression of Palestinian journalists

Two new reports document the growing repression of Palestinian journalists by Israeli forces last year. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Israel is currently imprisoning the same number of journalists as the Syrian regime.

By Oren Persico

Palestinian journalists have been subject to a severe increase in violations by Israeli security forces over the past several months, according to a report published by MADA — Palestinian Center for Development & Media Freedoms last week.

MADA, a Ramallah-based Palestinian NGO that tracks violations against Palestinian journalists, found 27 cases in which the rights of Palestinian journalists were violated by Israeli forces in November, as opposed to 11 in the previous month.

According to MADA, Israeli forces raided the home of a Palestinian journalist from the West Bank village Salfit. He was detained and interrogated for alleged incitement on his Facebook page. A journalist from Hebron was arrested and interrogated over a film he produced a year and half ago on Palestinian hunger strikers. In one case in the Jordan Valley, Israeli security forces fired tear gas and pepper spray at nine Palestinian journalists, in an attempt to prevent them from covering a demonstration against home demolitions. MADA also reported that Israeli forces raided three printing houses and one media outlet, confiscating and sabotaging printing equipment.

Furthermore, Palestinian security forces summoned a local journalist for interrogation over his work, and arrested another journalist during a live broadcast of a soccer game.

According to the IDF Spokesperson, the army “is constantly working to maintain security and enforce law and order in Judea and Samaria, while allowing freedom of the press and reporting in the area. As part of the war against terror and incitement, the army takes action against printing houses that serve as the source for materials used for incitement and terrorism.”

Earlier in December, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) published a report on the number of jailed journalists around the world. According to the report, there are currently seven journalists in Israeli jails, less than Turkey (81), China (38), Eritrea (17), Ethiopia (16), Vietnam and Iran (8 each). Yet Israel is not in good company: seven journalists are currently jailed in both Syria and Bahrain.

According to CPJ, these are the Palestinian journalists in Israeli prisons:

Ali Aliwiwe is the host of an evening news program on Radio 4. He was arrested by Israeli security forces at his home in the...

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'When the media doesn't talk to Arabs, coverage of them is negative'

New research finds a direct correlation between negative media coverage of Arab society in Israel and the exclusion of Arab voices and interviewees in that coverage.

By Oren Persico

The participation of Arab interviewees in Israeli news items relating to Arab society in the country has a  correlation on the content and tone of the reporting, new research published by Israeli NGO Sikkuy last month has concluded. (Full disclosure: The Seventh Eye partnered with Sikkuy for its ‘Representation Index’ project.)

The research project, conducted by Edan Ring along with the Ifat Group, examined news coverage of Arab citizens of Israel in the Hebrew-language media during October 2015, a month in which a serious escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict took place, including almost daily attacks against Jewish Israelis.

According to the researchers’ conclusions, the mainstream Israeli media covered Arab citizens of Israel particularly negatively during that period, largely by excluding them entirely as interviewees. However, the research also found that in the few items on Arab society in Israel in which an Arabic-speaker was included, the tone of the item was notably more positive.

The research looked at 1,096 news items relating to Arab citizens of Israel published or broadcast on the three major television stations, two leading news radio stations, and six leading print and online news outlets (in total, 13 percent of all news items relating to the escalating violence that month).

Roughly half of those news items were of negative character or tone, the research found. Only one-quarter were positive stories, and the rest were found to be of either mixed or neutral tone.

“Coverage of Arab citizens during this period suffered from especially negative framing and tone,” the Sikkuy report said.

The most negative coverage was on television (57 percent of news items were negative and only 11 percent positive), with print media doing slightly better (43 percent of news items were negative and 35 percent were positive). The numbers for print media, however, were not necessarily representative of all print coverage because Haaretz, which was particularly positive, brought up the average percentage of positive stories.

The research by Sikkuy also confirmed a finding from the “Representation Index,” which touches on the exclusion of Arab interviewees in media coverage that discusses Arab society. According to their research, only 31 percent of news items that deal with Arab citizens of Israel included an Arabic speaker. In other words, only 69 percent of...

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Trump on Adelson: 'Good paper, owned by a great guy'

Donald Trump lays the compliments on Sheldon Adelson, the Netanyahu backer who recently pledged his support for the Republican nominee. But Trump hasn’t always had nice things to say about Adelson and his money.

By Shuki Tausig

At rally in Nevada last week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump mentioned Sheldon Adelson, the American casino mogul and patron of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

“Did you read that in your good paper? Good paper, owned by a great guy — Sheldon, Sheldon, Sheldon Adelson,” Trump as part of an attack on the Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama’s flagship healthcare program.

The “great paper” he referred to is the Las Vegas Review Journal, the largest newspaper in Nevada, which Adelson anonymously purchased last year. The identity of the purchaser was only revealed through investigative journalism by the paper’s reporters, who found that he paid significantly more than market value.

The paper’s journalists went on to write a series of articles critical of Adelson and the new ownership’s attempts to influence the editorial line. That is, until its top editors and writers were replaced and the critical voices were silenced.

Back at the rally last week, Trump made sure to note that Adelson is a “big supporter of Israel.” Perhaps the largest donor to Republican political campaigns this season (though he has given far less than the $100 million he donated in the 2012 campaign), Adelson sat on the fence in the current election until he announced his support for Trump in May.

A few weeks ago, Adelson pledged $25 million to a Super PAC supporting Trump, according to The Guardian. In Israel, Adelson’s newspaper Israel Hayom provides favorable coverage of the Republican presidential candidate.

Trump, for his part, has held numerous positions on Israel during the campaign, not all of which have sat well with Adelson’s views, the most memorable of which was when he said Washington should be neutral toward Israel.

It is worth noting that Trump did not always think of Adelson as a “great guy.” When the casino mogul had pledged support for Republican rival Marco Rubio’s campaign in October 2015, Trump tweeted: “Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!”

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Israel's surefire way of keeping its citizens in the dark

The Israeli establishment used to rely on the IDF Censor to make sure the media didn’t ask questions. Nowadays it uses court-sanctioned gag orders.

By Shuki Tausig

Did you hear about…and about…or what about…how could you have missed that? After all, we are talking about newsworthy events, the kind that open the 8 o’clock news. So how come you didn’t hear about them?

You didn’t hear about them because the police/Shin Bet/some other body rushed to ask the court to issue a gag order on the attack/investigation/affair. The courts usually serve as a rubber stamp in these cases, especially in cases when security is somehow involved. A representative of the system comes in with “classified intelligence,” and the judge, usually of a lower court, makes the story disappear.

So how did you not hear about the gag order? Because the gag order, the Big Brother of the Israeli media, has a younger brother: a gag order on the existence of the gag order. Like the Cat in the Hat who pulls out endless cats from his top hat until the Cat himself is no longer visible, the institution of gag orders is built in such a way that leaves the public with nothing.

Once upon a time we used to have the IDF Censor. Well, we still do, but they no longer act like tyrants. The court system — the same one that rushes to issue scandalous gag orders — has restrained the court system and forced it into leniency. If in the past the censor could redact to its heart’s content, the high-profile case Schnitzer v. Chief Military Censor, which reached the High Court in 1989, compelled the military to explicitly state that there is a “near certainty that the publication will cause substantial and grave harm to security.”

It is true that this is both convenient and flexible, and the the IDF Censor still redacts, whether entirely or partially, thousands of articles a year. But this is not enough for the various arms of the establishment. They do not want to debate with media outlets, explain themselves to journalists, or start to compromise over partial censorship. They want radio silence, and immediately. With time they learned to use not only the IDF Censor but also, and perhaps mainly, gag orders.

Read: IDF Censor redacts 1 in 5 articles it reviews

It is true that many times there...

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'Thou shall not discriminate': New rules for Israeli journalists

The Israel Press Council approves a change to ethics rules that forbids journalists and media outlets from discriminating against and excluding certain populations from their coverage. Among those opposing the change: the editor of ‘Israel Hayom’ and the publisher of ‘Haaretz.’

By Oren Persico

The Israel Press Council last month approved a change to the Rules of Journalistic Ethics according to which media outlets should not discriminate against various population segments or exclude them from their coverage. The change, which was put forth by Union of Journalists in Israel chairman Yair Tarchitsky, was approved 14 to 4, with one abstention. Among those who opposed the measure were representatives of Israeli newspaper publishers — Aharon Lapidot of Israel Hayom and Amos Shoken of Haaretz.

Tarchitsky began pushing for the change at the beginning of 2016, and came in response to media-initiated public opinion polls that sampled only the Jewish population of Israel — a problem that has been covered here by The Seventh Eye — and the ongoing exclusion of news coverage concerning the Arab population of Israel, a phenomenon exposed and documented in recent months by the “Representation Index,” a project of Sikkuy, the Berl Katznelson Foundation, The Seventh Eye, and Yifat Media Research.

After a number of meetings and debates on the proposed change to the ethics rules, the matter was finally brought for a vote late last month. The final version adds four words (the Hebrew is shorter) to the Rules of Journalistic Ethics, so that it now reads (emphasis added):

The difference between the two versions is small but significant. The previous version, that which was in place until now, forbade publications that encouraged racism or unlawful discrimination. The new version forbids media outlets themselves from excluding or discriminating against various population segments.

Along with Tarchitsky, support for the new rule was led by new members of the Press Council — journalists Tal Schneider, Ilil Shahar, Danny Gutweind, and Elad Man (chairman of The Seventh Eye). Among the most prominent people opposing it was Aharon Lapidot, deputy editor of Israel Hayom, a newspaper that regularly publishes public opinion polls that sample only Jews.

According to Press Council members who were present for the vote, Lapidot claimed that the company that provides the newspaper with its public opinion polls, New Wave Research, cannot conduct overnight flash polls that include the entire Israeli population, and that it always includes a disclosure about the identity of...

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Palestinian journalist jailed by Israel was arrested for criticizing PA, lawyer says

Israel has been holding Palestinian journalist Omar Nazzal without charge or trial for over four months. In an interview, his attorney says that is because he criticized the PA over its handling of an assassination at its embassy in Bulgaria.

By Oren Persico and Nimrod Halberthal

This past April, Palestinian journalist Omar Nazzal set out to travel from his home in the West Bank to a conference of the European Federation of Journalists in Sarajevo. Until about a year ago, Nazzal, 53, was the head of the West Bank-based radio station “Palestine al-Youm,” but left a short while before the station was shut down by the Israeli army. Ever since, he has worked as a freelancer, writing and publishing with various platforms.

When Nazzal arrived at the Israeli-controlled Allenby Bridge border crossing from the West Bank into Jordan, however, the Israeli army arrested him. Ever since Israel has been holding him in administrative detention, which was recently extended until November. The Shin Bet claims the arrest is related to Nazzal being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and that his arrest is not related to his work as a journalist. Nazzal’s attorney, Mahmoud Hassan, believes the opposite is true.

“He’s a political journalist,” Atty. Hassan told journalists Oren Persico and Nimrod Halberthal on their radio show, Kol Ha’ayin. “He writes excellent articles and an audience that follows every word that he writes. Because it is an administrative detention arrest, we don’t know why he was arrested but we are of the opinion that he was arrested after writing an article about the case of Omar al-Naif.” Al-Naif was a PFLP member who was convicted in the 1986 murder of a Jewish man in Jerusalem, but who managed to escape from the country. In February of this year he was murdered on the grounds of the Palestinian embassy in Bulgaria, where he had been seeking refuge after Israel sought his extradition.

“Nazzal’s arrest at the Allenby border crossing took place after security coordination with the Palestinian Authority, which told him that a travel ban on him leaving the country had been lifted, that the path was clear and that he could travel. Therefore, we suspect his arrest was planned ahead of time by both Israel and the PA, because he caused a headache for the PA with the articles he wrote about al-Naif. Nazzal wrote articles...

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'Israel Hayom' fumes over U.S. money in Israeli politics

American-funded campaign to put Netanyahu into power complains that a campaign to remove Netanyahu from power received American funding.

By Shuki Tausig

Wednesday’s front page of Israel Hayom, the Netanyahu family mouthpiece owned and funded by American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, appeared seriously flustered by the news that a campaign to topple the prime minister enjoyed American resources.

According to the article in Israel Hayom, the U.S. State Department funded “One Voice” to the tune of $349,000 for politically neutral purposes, but that organization then made available the resources built with that money to another organization, V15, which used them for political purposes.

For comparison’s sake, Shlomo Ben-Zvi, Adelson’s former partner in establishing the free daily newspaper that preceded Israel Hayom, testified in a 2011 legal battle between the two men, that according to his calculations Israel Hayom loses roughly $3 million each month. (Hebrew) The newspaper has been in operation for nine years.

According to Haim Shine, the free-sheet’s resident political commentator, the fact that the U.S. government gave more than $300,000, which was indirectly used for a political campaign against Netanyahu, is proof that “President Obama used U.S.-government mechanisms against the election of Netanyahu and was neck-deep in an attempt to effect the results of an Israeli election?”. (Hebrew)

“The American administration treated Israel like a South American banana republic and thought it could use money to influence [Israeli] citizens’ opinions,” Shine continued.

I wonder what Shine would write if a Jewish American billionaire injected tens of millions of dollars into an Israeli political campaign to put Benjamin Netanyahu into power, tens of millions more to keep him there, and then distributed that campaign’s political materials to hundreds of thousands of Israelis every day.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated the amount of the State Department grant to One Voice in millions instead of thousands of dollars. The mistake was made in translation. We apologize for any confusion.

This article was first published in Hebron on The Seventh Eye.

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Is the Israeli media responding to pressure on underrepresentation of Arabs?

A new campaign is pushing major media outlets to invite Arab experts to speak on their area of expertise. It seems the media landscape is responding — for the better.

By Oren Persico

New data reveals that leading Israeli news stations are inviting more Arab experts on news programs, following growing pressure by leading Israeli NGOs.

According to The Seventh Eye website’s “Representation Index,” around 40 Arabs were invited to speak about their area of expertise on the five leading Israeli media outlets during the month of April. This was a decrease from March, yet an increase from January and February when the index was launched.

The Representation Index provides quantitative and qualitative analysis of Arab citizens of Israel who are interviewed on leading news and current affairs programs on three major Israeli television channels (1, 2 and 10), and on radio stations IDF Radio (Galei Tzahal) and Reshet Bet. Each week, The Seventh Eye publishes data about the number and ratio of Arab interviewees during the previous week on the five channels and the 19 main news programs broadcasted in Israel.

In addition The Seventh Eye publishes more in-depth findings once a month, assessing which of the interviewees were interviewed simply because they were Arabs and which were interviewed because their area of expertise was relevant to the issue at hand.

According to April’s statistics, 38 Arab experts took part in news programs on Channels 1, 2, and 10, along with Reshet Bet and Army Radio. For the third month running, Reshet Bet is at the top of the list with 15 different experts appearing on various programs. In second place is Channel 10 (11 experts), followed by Army Radio, Channel 1, and Channel 2 (6, 4, and 2 experts respectively).

The distinction between non-expert and expert is based on the idea that Arabs who are invited to speak on programs due to their expertise are viewed in a positive light. Those who are invited to speak solely because they are Arabs are usually covered in a negative light.

Arab politicians, who are the most commonly featured in the Israeli media, are not defined as experts. For example, in April MK Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Union) was interviewed 40 times due to controversial statements he made that month. This was higher than the total number of appearances by all the other Arab experts in the media.

The ratio...

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IDF spending millions on 'advertorial' content in Israeli media

The IDF has spent NIS 28 million on advertising in various media outlets, despite claims to the contrary.

By Itamar Bazz

The Israel Defense Forces purchased advertorial content in media outlets, according to an investigation by The Seventh Eye. In an interview to radio station “Kol Ha’ayin” last year, IDF Spokesperson Moti Almoz said the army is not involved in purchasing advertorial content and that media outlets that publish IDF content do so for their own editorial reasons and without receiving any compensation. But data obtained by The Seventh Eye and the organization “Hazlacha” indicate that in certain cases IDF messaging is planted in advertorial content in exchange for payment.

The data indicates that in the last four years, the IDF spent NIS 28 million on advertising – over NIS 7 million a year on average. In addition, the IDF Spokesperson allocates a large portion of its resources to documenting and distributing “news” items, photographs and videos passed on to Israeli media outlets for publication, without request for compensation.

For example, in the summer of 2015, the free daily Israel Hayom began publishing a regular IDF column in which commanders of various military divisions explained to readers why it is worthwhile to enlist into units under their command. Ma’ariv also publishes an IDF column, in which soldiers recommend their favorite nature hikes.

In an interview with The Seventh Eye, IDF Spokesperson Moti Almoz said the army did not pay for these columns and clarified: “I don’t even have the technical capacity to pay media outlets for publishing something very positive and moving about the IDF. Certainly not.” And yet The Seventh Eye’s investigation demonstrates not only that the technical ability to pay media outlets to promote IDF messaging exists, but that it has been used.

While the instances in which the IDF paid for advertorial content did not appear in leading media outlets, they reveal a lot about the phenomenon in which the IDF is permeating the subliminal advertising world, which has in recent years been increasingly drawing its budgets from governmental bodies and businesses. Those who operate in this field give these kinds of deals the code word “cooperation.” In cases in which the paying entity is a governmental body, the appropriate term for the phenomenon is “covert propaganda.”

A few months ago, the nonprofit organization “Hazlacha” submitted a freedom of information request together with the Seventh Eye to...

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Oops? Israeli news site reports ISIS 'threat' to win Eurovision

The song, ‘Death to the West,’ ‘sounds quite thematically heavy, but I’m sure audiences the world over will love the uplifting chorus,’ the all-too-serious report quotes an all-too-made-up Islamic State spokesperson saying.

By Oren Persico

Ahead of the Eurovision singing contest slated to take place in Sweden later this month, “NRG”, a major news outlets in Israel, published an article on “all of the fears” the popular televised event is raising in Israel, Europe and beyond.

Among a number of very real threats listed in the article was one allegedly posed by ISIS. Not a threat to attack the singing contest with violence — a threat by the Islamic State to win the Eurovision.

“We checked to see how Israeli and Swedish security officials are preparing for the event and we found that ISIS is already prepared with a song of their own,” read the sub-headline of the article, authored by the website’s culture correspondent Edo Dagan.

The article, which discussed widespread anger over changes in the singing contest’s format this year, went on to say: “Even the Islamic State organization ISIS is fuming over the planned changes to the voting system in this year’s Eurovision.”

According to the report, a “propaganda official” in the Islamic State organization made an announcement about “the song that will represent it in the Eurovision.”

The song, Dagan reported, is called “Death to the West,” and is “a power ballad in the vein of Leona Lewis’s global hit Bleeding Love – although instead of lyrics about finding love again after a painful heartbreak, they deal with the establishment of a single, global state under a specific interpretation of Islamic rule.”

The article goes on to quote an ISIS spokesperson who notes that “the song itself sounds quite thematically heavy, but I’m sure audiences the world over will love the uplifting chorus. Either way, it still stands a much greater chance of winning than the British entry.”

Of course, as journalist Uriah Canaff quickly realized, the NRG report about the ISIS song is based on an article from the British satirical website “The Poke,” whose slogan is “time ell wasted.”

At the time of publication, NRG had not yet made a correction on its unwittingly spoofed article, which had been online for a full week.

This article was first published in Hebrew on The 7th...

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