Photo Credit: Andrew Bernard
Pro-Hamas 'March for Gaza' in Washington DC, January 2024.

As a writer in the world of print and online media, it was a novelty to find myself at a Manhattan conference of social media connoisseurs last week. The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), in conjunction with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hosted a global influencer summit called Voices for Truth: Influencers United Against Antisemitism.

The audience was younger and trendier than the staid conferences I usually attend. It was the face of Tik Tok and Instagram – at least those who still manage to post pro-Israel content without being booted off their platforms or those who were cancelled and are aiming for a comeback.

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The conference’s takeaway was that Israel supporters and Jews in general are facing an impossible uphill battle in the online world of post-October 7th.

Speakers spoke of being marginalized for refuting the genocide claim or worse – for simply being Jewish. October 7th denial has spurred an unprecedented uptick in Holocaust denial. And pro-Israel echo chambers are dwarfed by a steady manipulation of the narrative by false data, bots, trolls, hate speech and all manners of misinformation and disinformation.

“We live in a world in which lies become truth, truth becomes a lie,” said Israeli Consul General in New York Ofir Akunis, one of the speakers.

Pro-Israel influencers are straining to dispel myths of apartheid and genocide against the Jewish state, a state that has taken more steps to avoid harming civilians than any other military in the history of urban combat.

The lies of the Free Palestine crowd have become so entangled within their own platforms that it is difficult to keep them straight. The fraudulent accusations that formed the basis of the ICC arrest warrants for Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Gallant – “causing starvation as a method of war….and deliberately targeting civilians” – have even been discredited by the United Nations.

A recent study by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification [IPC] organization, associated with the UN, debunked the starvation claim. And in May, the UN was forced to cut the Gaza death toll, inflated by the Hamas-controlled Government Media Office, by half. Incidentally, these are the same figures that the UN and the Biden administration tout as reasons to reign in Israel’s military efforts against the terrorists.

None of the above, however, is stopping online harassment of the “Zionist regime”, which is spurring on the ground assaults against Jews worldwide.

Simply put, the over 5 billion global users of social media are being fed a steady diet of antisemitic bilge that directs users to deny the evidence of their own eyes.

Many of the social media speakers were progressives or former progressives who were “shocked” by the cyber war against them. They consistently spoke of their disbelief at “being duped” by Globalize the Intifada haters who turned on them for being Jewish or pro-Israel. They were harassed, excluded and even violently threatened.

In another “shock” two weeks ago, the ADL described how it became the victim of “an alarming move” against it by Wikipedia. In an attack that stunned the left-leading organization that fights antisemitism, Wikipedia’s editors declared that the ADL cannot be trusted to give reliable information on the “Israel-Palestinian conflict”.

Wikipedia’s editors assert that the ADL should not be cited in articles on the Israel-Palestinian conflict “due to significant evidence that the ADL acts as a pro-Israeli advocacy group and has repeatedly published false and misleading statements as fact.”

The ADL, led by former Obama employee Jonathan Greenblatt, has for decades aligned itself with the same woke progressive agenda that Wikipedia promotes. These include DEI and critical race theory, which are used to rationalize anti-Zionism and antisemitism. The ADL now professes to be appalled that its former buddy would turn on it.

Perhaps the biggest pretense of astonishment in a summer of “shocks”, however, was the response to Biden’s disastrous debate performance by leftwing Democrats and the mainstream media. For the past three and a half years, these same politicians and pundits told us not to corroborate what we saw and heard. If someone dared to point out the obvious, he was cancelled and called a Trump enabler.

What’s most shocking is that people claim to be shocked. Never mind the president’s highly publicized missteps, slip-ups, and blunders, often on the world stage. Never mind that the rare interviews and press conferences he was forced to give broadcast his cognitive impairment. But it seems that there are none so blind as those who will not see.

The real emperor in the room is not Biden’s mental decline but the people who insisted it wasn’t so. Worse, the people who are still doubling down on assertions like Obama’s that “Bad debate nights happen”.

Have we become a nation of fools?

It was painful and even pitiful to watch Biden’s stuttering and stammering and observe the vacant look in his eyes – clear signs of dementia. But let’s call it what it is. Perpetuating a denigrating falsehood about aging by blaming his infirmities on being 81 insults senior citizens everywhere. Somehow, no one is doubting the mental capacity of Bernie Sander, who is a year older than Biden. The legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, who is interviewed almost daily for his legal and political insights, is 85.

Is it more palatable to accept that Americans fell for this charade out of gullibility than out of malice? Willful duplicity is far more sinister than willful ignorance. For American Jews, it is doubly so, knowing that this treachery is being committed by many of the same snake oil salesmen who push the genocide lie.

Defining a problem is the first step in problem-solving. Luckily, polls show that Americans are bestirring themselves to the damage that these same leftist policy makers have wrought on their country with a quack at the helm. For American Jews their wake up came fast and furious.

Those who heard the bugle call need to pass it along.


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Sara Lehmann is an award-winning New York based columnist and interviewer. Her writings can be seen at saralehmann.com.