Behind the anti-flotilla video: A confederacy of dunces?


The video was so obviously a fake. It purported to show an American gay activist denouncing the planned Gaza flotilla after being turned away over his sexual orientation.

But why would an American speak with such a thick Israeli accent? Why does the video begin with the subject setting up his own camera, home-video-style, and then later cut to b-roll? And who would really say that they expected the Gaza flotilla to be “a cross between Che Guevara and Mother Teresa with a kaffiyeh”? Seriously.

Pro-Palestinian bloggers saw the video for a fake right away. Just about the only people who seem to have taken it at face value were the folks at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Government Press Office who re-tweeted the video as if it were the real deal.

Some, however, saw something sinister in this Twitter tomfoolery: Fierce Israel critic Max Blumenthal wrote that “the video’s promotion by an exclusive cadre of official Israeli hasbara entities and figures suggest the hoax was part of a desperate government operation designed to discredit the Free Gaza flotilla.”

Any conspiracy though would have been a confederacy of utter dunces.


Clearly, the video’s goal was to highlight the obvious tension between the ideology of rulers of Gaza and the Islamist backers of the flotilla on the one hand, and leftist supporters of the Palestinian cause on the other. (Obvious at least to those leftists who don’t think that Hamas is a “progressive” social movement.)

It’s hard to believe that the video’s makers were seriously trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. As an Israeli Foreign Ministry official put it in hindsight, the video was ““revealed to be not a documentary but rather a mockumentary.” Rather than a failed attempt at fraud, it was more likely a failed attempt at satire that came across as a failed attempt at fraud.

And if it was intended as satire, and Israeli officials were in on the project, why would they try to pass the video off as real on Twitter?

At least one thing is clear: The State of Israel needs some smarter people manning its Twitter ramparts. (I hear one passionate supporter of Israel and avid Twitter user is now looking for a job.)

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