Fake Facebook Pages About Feminism, Environment, Run By The Israel Project To Influence Views On Israel
The Israel Project, a major advocacy group based in Washington, is running a secret influence campaign on Facebook.
The video above, exclusive to The Electronic Intifada, shows the latest excerpts to leak from the documentary.
Earlier leaked footage published by The Electronic Intifada and the Grayzone Project has already revealed underhanded tactics by anti-Palestinian groups planned and executed in collusion with the Israeli government.
In the newest clips, David Hazony, the managing director of The Israel Project, is heard telling Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter: “There are also things that we do that are completely off the radar. We work together with a lot of other organizations.”
“We produce content that they then publish with their own name on it,” Hazony adds.
A major part of the operation is the creation of a network of Facebook “communities” focused on history, the environment, world affairs and feminism that appear to have no connection to pro-Israel advocacy, but are used by The Israel Project to spread pro-Israel messaging.
In a conversation also revealed in the leaked video excerpts, Jordan Schachtel, who worked for The Israel Project at the time, tells the undercover Al Jazeera reporter about the logic and extent of the covert Facebook operation.
The undercover reporter, known as “Tony,” was posing as an intern at The Israel Project.
“We’re putting together a lot of pro-Israel media through various social media channels that aren’t The Israel Project’s channels,” Schachtel states. “So we have a lot of side projects that we are trying to influence the public debate with.”
“That’s why it’s a secretive thing,” Schachtel adds. “Because we don’t want people to know that these side projects are associated with The Israel Project.”
Tony asks if the idea of “all the rest of the non-Israel stuff is to allow the Israel stuff to pass better.”
“It’s just that we want to like blend in everything,” Schachtel explains.
One of these Facebook pages, Cup of Jane, has almost half a million followers.
Cup of Jane’s “About” page describes it as being about “Sugar, spice and everything nice.”
But there is no disclosure that this is a page run for the purpose of promoting Israel.
The “About” page does identify Cup of Jane as being “a community launched by TIP’s Future Media Project in DC.”
There is however no direct and explicit mention of Israel or indication that “TIP” stands for The Israel Project.
The Electronic Intifada understands that even this vague acknowledgment of who is behind the page was only added after The Israel Project learned about the existence of the Al Jazeera undercover documentary and presumably anticipated being exposed.
The Israel Project also added an acknowledgment on its own website that it runs the Facebook pages. However its website is not linked from the Facebook pages themselves.
There is no evidence in the Internet Archive of the page existing before May 2017 – months after “Tony’s” cover was blown.
According to Schachtel, The Israel Project is putting considerable resources into producing Cup of Jane and a network of similar pages.
“We have a team of like 13 people. We are working on a lot of videos, explainers,” he tells Tony in Al Jazeera’s documentary. “A lot of it is just random topics and then maybe like 25 percent of it would be like Israel or Jewish-based.”
Al Jazeera states in the documentary that it “approached all those featured in this program. None of the pro-Israel advocacy organizations or individuals working for them responded to our allegations.”
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