Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 54 Number 2, February 10, 2024 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

On Disinformation

Aim of Official Disinformation about Hamas and its October 7 Operation

Pauline Easton

Youth on Israeli tank, October 7, 2023 - Photo: Shebab Agency

In the US, Britain, Canada and countries of the European Union, the political resistance movement Hamas is termed a terrorist organisation. All kinds of crimes are attributed to it and the claims repeated so that official circles and their media accustom the citizenry and their readers and listeners to associating the resistance movement with terrorism. There is no clearer case of this officially sanctioned disinformation than the narrative endlessly repeated according to which Hamas conducted a terrorist attack against civilians in southern Israel on October 7, 2023. According to this narrative, Hamas raped women, murdered babies, wantonly killed and decapitated civilians as well as taking civilian hostages. The number of victims given is commonly set at 1,200 people and this is quoted every time attempts are made by the media and official circles to justify the crimes Israel is committing against the Palestinian people in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the name of the need to eradicate Hamas.

Disinformation does not refer mainly to the spread and repetition of lies. It is neither the manipulation of lies per se, although it does that, nor is it a matter of attempting to manufacture consent although it does that also. Disinformation also uses methods such as decontextualization of facts to deprive them of sense and meaning, and the presenting of facts which are themselves random. This is also done to mislead. However, the essence of disinformation and the promotion of false narratives is to set up false alternatives. False alternatives keep the problem within the framework established by the official circles which are dead set against any discussion which they cannot control. In the case of the Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza, everything is done to wreck the ability of a polity to analyse developments by establishing their own vantage point so as to provide solutions to the matter at hand.

When dealing with the unfolding events in Palestine, the portrayal of Hamas as a terrorist organisation and the attribution of a litany of crimes to it and now cutting funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), on the basis of condemnation by association, are for purposes of denying the right of the Palestinian people to be, and their right of return. Providing these rights with a guarantee is the alternative to what is taking place. The resistance movement keeps its focus on providing these rights with a guarantee and, at every stage, its strategy and tactics are geared towards ensuring a way forward for these rights to be realised.

Despite all attempts to make Hamas the issue, the entire resistance movement worldwide has not permitted this. It has persisted in targeting the murderous campaign Israel is carrying out against the Palestinian people and upholding their right to be and right of return. It is not likely that the official circles will succeed in their aim to exhaust and smash the unified resistance of the Palestinian and world's people affirming the Palestinians' right to be and right of return.

It is crucial to make sure discussion amongst the people does not fall into the trap set by reactionary official circles and their media, pundits, academics and alleged experts. For instance, the claim that Hamas is terrorist extends to other similar claims such as saying that all the resistance forces are Iranian proxies, or that everything must be done to make sure Hamas cannot exist when a two-state solution is implemented, or the accusations that UNRWA is Hamas' civilian arm and thus must not be funded, and the like. Arguing con vis à vis the narrative which fills the print and social media of countries which support Israel's declared aims in its aggression against the Palestinian people plays the role of ratifying their premise. The only premise which should be ratified is the one which furthers the cause of upholding the Palestinian people's right to self-determination without conditions, based on the principles of guaranteeing their right to be and their right of return.

(TML Monthly Supplement, January 31, 2024)


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