Wednesday, February 08, 2023

The EU is fighting disinformation. But not anti-Israel disinformation.

Yesterday, EU High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell spoke at the EEAS Conference on Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference about the dangers of Russian disinformation campaigns:

 Russia is using information manipulation and interference as a crucial instrument of this war. This war is not only [about] using explosives, bombs, bullets, killing people. It is about the mind of the people. It is about how to conquer the spirit, the intelligence, the understanding of the people. 

It is not new. It started with the [COVID-19] pandemic. When the pandemic came, we started speaking about “the battle of narratives”. This is a sentence as important as “the Geopolitical Europe”. The battle of narratives started with the pandemic at the latest. 

And, today, that is clear: this war is not only conducted on the battlefield by the soldiers. It is also waged in the information space, trying to win the hearts and minds of people.  

...This is a major threat for the liberal democracies, which are based on information. Democracy is a system that is based on the information that people have, because they made their choices – their political choices – according to their own perceptions and information that they receive about what is happening in the rest of the world. 

If the information is toxic, democracy cannot work. If information is manipulated, people don’t have a clear idea of what is going on. So, their choices are biased, and the information is the oil of the engine of democracy. We have to take care of the quality of information because is the sap, the blood, the oil, the thing that makes democracy work.  
The EU created an "EU vs. DisInfo" organization, with at least 16 full time staff, all to fight disinformation. Yet it begins and ends with Russian disinformation.

What about anti-Israel disinformation? Where is the EU on that?

The EUvsDisInfo report released yesterday shows a great graphic of how Russians are manipulating information. But it doesn't mention that anti-Israel forces use exactly the same methods.

Pallywood manipulation of photos and videos? Check. Overwhelming social media with anti-Israel memes? Check. Changing the context to not allow pro-Israel voices to make a point? Triple check. Using diplomatic methods to attack Israel? Not only the PA but many of its allies, check. 

But does the EU even notice anti-Israel propaganda techniques? No, they agree with their messages. And when they agree, they don't think they are being manipulated. For example, when Defence for Children Palestine says that Israel killed a child earlier this week, they won't bother to check whether the "child" was a member of a terror group.  (Yes, there are some that are too extreme for the EU, so they can pretend that they are discriminating between truth and lies.) 

 Anti-Israel lies - that Jews visiting the holiest Jewish space are a threat to peace, that illegal Palestinian outposts in Area C are legal while legal Jewish towns are illegal, that Palestinian NGOs have no terror links, that Israel is attacking civilians, that Palestinian attacks are all in response to Israeli "crimes" and wouldn't happen if they weren't "provoked"  - those lies are accepted by both official EU bodies and their media, and therefore the public.

The fact that they happen to align perfectly with traditional European antisemitism is just a coincidence, I'm sure.  

The fight against disinformation assumes that there is an objective truth. I agree. Yet the progressive crowd emphasizes that there is no truth, that narratives are the only acceptable form of reporting, and only certain narratives are acceptable. The EU vs. DisInfo site seems to state that there is objective truth when it comes to Russia, but it doesn't seem to have an issue when its own intelligentsia seems to embrace a post-truth worldview where narratives rule - especially when it comes to Israel. It would be interesting if they use their own methodology against the "progressive" narratives.

But they won't. 

(h/t Irene)

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