HumairaaMayet |01 July 2019 | Image: Act.IL’s Israeli headquaters in Herzliya. (Act.IL/Facebook/Electronic Intifada)
The Electronic Intifada – ‘Palestine’s weapon of mass instruction’ – has recently released leaked documents tying the Israeli government to a troll army which had been allocated a budget of over $1 million.
Speaking to Inayet Wadee on News and Views, Professor Jeff Helper, a member of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD), analysed the involvement of the Israeli government in the troll army.
The Israeli Ministry of strategic Affairs, a branch of the government created specifically to combat BDS in an “underhanded manner,” works closely with Mossad and has spearheaded the troll army. Participation in the troll army is not limited to Israeli citizens, stated Helper. Thus the army has amassed thousands of online volunteers from 73 countries around the world. Volunteers run an application named ACT.il, which disguises itself as a grassroots movement, but is in fact backed by the Israeli government.
Why does Israel have to take such drastic measures? Israel is a settler colonial country, Helper declared, and must constantly justify its existence as a colonial adventure in the post-colonial era. Helper claimed that the South African government was clear about its motives and intentions under apartheid, and exposed itself to the world as blatantly racist. Israel, however, is not nearly as transparent. The state of Israel uses religion as a means of legitimisation, said Helper, and constantly draws upon religious texts which claim Israel to be the “god given land” of the Jewish people, and upon the legacy of the holocaust.
Helper stated that Israel is concerned with three countries: The UK, the US and Germany. The UK is a close ally of Israel, as is the US. However, “Israel is losing the young generation of Jews” due to the colonial, racist and discriminatory actions it undertakes in the dehumanisation and oppression of the Palestinian people. Germany supports Israel, and has gone as far as deeming BDS and the criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic. Helper claimed that this is largely due to guilt over the holocaust.
Ultimately, said Helper, Israel’s creation of a troll army is a sign of weakness, not strength.