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Why Is Misinformation About Palestine Prevalent in India?

Misbar's Editorial Team Misbar's Editorial Team
28th November 2023
Why Is Misinformation About Palestine Prevalent in India?
Supporters of the ruling party in India demonstrate in support of Israel (Getty)

The Israeli war on the Palestinians is not limited to the ground but extends to media and social platforms. Intense propaganda efforts manipulate the narrative and global opinion through misleading misinformation.

In this context, a report by Euronews revealed that a significant amount of misleading information against Palestine originates from India.

Euronews report uncovers Indian accounts spreading biased info against Palestine
Euronews report uncovers Indian accounts spreading biased info against Palestine

The report highlights a video showing a man being carried on a stretcher and covered with a white blanket, before sirens suddenly go off and the men who were carrying him run away. A few moments later, the man gets out of the body bag he was in and also runs away.

An Indian account published the video and commented, “Look how the Islamists/terrorists weave their narratives. A corpse suddenly comes back to life! When the sirens went off, the fake corpse got up and ran away.” Indian accounts claimed that Gazans were faking their injuries and deaths in order to gain Western sympathy. Other social media accounts also shared the video and the accompanying comment thousands of times on social media platforms.

A reverse image search of frames from the same video shows that it was published for the first time in 2020. The original publishers stated that it was filmed in Jordan, depicting a fake funeral organized by a group of young men as a trick to help their friend get out of the house during Covid-19 curfews and quarantine.

a fake funeral organized by a group of young men as a trick to help their friend get out of the house during Covid-19 curfews and quarantine

According to Boom, an Indian fact-checking website, many Indian users on X platform are leading a propaganda campaign against Palestine, by attacking Palestinians and vocally supporting Israel.

To understand the motives behind this behavior of Indian accounts, Euronews interviewed India expert Nicolas Blarel. He explained, “We are about to enter the election season in India. Next year there will be national and local elections."

“These posts were used to mobilize public opinion. There are tensions in India between Hindus and Muslims that often become intense as elections get closer.” This was also confirmed by a report by Logically Facts, a disinformation monitoring organization, indicating that this disinformation campaign aligns with the Indian elections that will be held in the spring of 2024.

According to Euronews, anti-Muslim sentiments in India have increased since Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.

India's ruling party is frequently accused of being anti-Muslim and strongly opposes its pro-Palestinian counterpart, the Indian National Congress.

Euronews points to a report published last September by the Washington-based Hindutva Watch group, which monitors attacks against minorities, According to the group's report.

India recorded 255 documented incidents of hate speech against Muslims in the first half of 2023, with 80 percent of these incidents occurred in areas governed by the ruling Bharatiya Party.

Additionally, Nicolas Blarel observed a heightened inclination towards Israel in India over the past decade. He attributes this to Bharatiya supporters' perception of facing similar threats as Israel in combating terrorism.

India is facing attacks by what it says are armed groups supported by Pakistan. The two countries have engaged in several wars since 1947, most of them related to the dispute over the Kashmir region, which each party claims.

A previous Misbar investigation on Indian media bias toward Israel has shed light on the economic motives underlying India's pro-Israeli media narrative. This includes the hegemony of government-affiliated businessmen on the biggest channels and newspapers in the country, as well as the presence of nearly 18 thousand Indian nationals studying or working in Israel. Notably, India stands as the largest importer of Israeli weapons globally, with 2022 imports totaling $247 million.

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