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Israeli Media’s Psychological Tactics: Gaining Sympathy and Misleading Public Opinion

Misbar's Editorial Team Misbar's Editorial Team
4th June 2024
Israeli Media’s Psychological Tactics: Gaining Sympathy and Misleading Public Opinion
Israeli bombing of Gaza seen from Sderot, October 2023 (Getty)

The Israeli media have employed numerous cognitive, social, and emotional strategies to spread misleading news during the war on Gaza. Below are some examples of how Israeli media tools disseminated propaganda to support the Israeli narrative, highlighting their role in shaping public perception, misleading individuals, and garnering sympathy and support for Israeli military actions.

The Repetition of Israeli Allegations

During the ongoing Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, information warfare campaigns have deliberately involved the repeated and daily presentation of specific narratives about the events of the October 7 attack. This tactic aims to bolster the claim that Israel is facing a significant existential threat, thereby justifying the ongoing aggression and the war that has resulted in over 35,000 Palestinian deaths.

For instance, the official Instagram account of the State of Israel has repeatedly posted content related to the hostages of the October 7 attacks daily, using various methods. The systematic and daily repetition of this narrative appears to be aimed at promoting the idea that the hostage issue is an existential threat to Israel, justifying the war on the Gaza Strip and the large number of civilian casualties. This is despite the disproportionate nature of the October 7 attack compared to Israel's retaliatory actions in terms of human and material damage. Thus, Israeli propaganda has worked to implant the idea that the October 7 attack represents an existential threat to Israel, portraying it through constant repetition in a way that exaggerates its scale.

The images below provide examples of daily posts related to the hostage issue, some indicating the number of days spent in captivity, along with extended storytelling about each hostage's individual experience.

Israeli hostages in Gaza
Israeli hostages in Gaza
Israeli hostages in Gaza

Efforts to Garner Sympathy and Support for the Israeli Narrative

The Israeli media's daily repetition of content related to the hostage issue was coupled with emotional tactics aimed at swaying public opinion. By focusing on the October 7 attack and spreading numerous misleading or exaggerated claims, many of which have been debunked by Misbar, the media sought to garner support for the Israeli narrative. You can check Misbar's investigations on this matter through the provided link.

The goal of this propaganda was to evoke strong emotions in the audience, making it difficult for them to discern misinformation or exaggeration. This emotional manipulation makes it easier for the audience to believe false content without seeking evidence.

Additionally, Israeli media have drawn comparisons between any massacres they commit and the events of October 7, framing all atrocities and crimes as reactions to the Hamas attack.

For instance, the official State of Israel account recently posted an image on the X platform equating the Rafah massacre with the events of October 7. This was after the launch of the "All Eyes on Rafah" campaign following the Israeli attack on the southern Gaza Strip.

All Eyes on Rafah
All Eyes on Rafah

Misbar revealed that Israel used influential female soldiers as a means to gain sympathy and cover up the violence of the Israeli army.

Incitement Against Palestinians Through Dehumanization

Dehumanized perception refers to a cognitive bias that prevents individuals from seeing things from another person's human perspective, a form of distorted social cognition. Social cognition requires individuals to recognize others as humans deserving of ethical treatment. This distortion facilitates the perpetration and acceptance of inhumane acts such as torture and killing.

For example, Israeli and Western media have used language that dehumanizes Gaza residents, portraying them all as combatants threatening Israel by systematically blurring the distinction between Hamas fighters and innocent civilians.

This language has spilled over into social media, with Israelis calling for the destruction and leveling of Gaza. These expressions were used approximately 18,000 times in Hebrew posts on the X platform during the first month of the war, compared to an average of 16 times per month before the war, according to a report by Foreign Policy.

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