Iran is attempting to exacerbate leftist demonstrations against planned Israeli government reforms by inciting violent protests in the Jewish State.
An apparent Iranian bot was discovered on the Twitter social networking site, written by “Itai Kaufman” and urging users in a Hebrew-language tweet to take to the streets.
“Leave the marks of your protest, write on the walls, burn cars and shops,” the post exhorts. “Break windows, attack government interests. Write slogans on the city signs and splash paint on them. This will make those who understand you notice your presence, and distinguish them from those who are indifferent to you. Kaplan, 7 pm, Saturday night.”
The tweets were picked up by Hebrew-language journalist Erel Segal, who works at Israel’s Channel 14 news station, 103FM and the Hebrew-language edition of Israel Hayom.
ככל הנראה מר קאופמן הוא בוט איראני שמנסה לעורר אלימות.
הוא נכנס לטוויטר בדצמבר 2022
הסגנון תרגום מכונה. pic.twitter.com/prDQBeBM29
— Erel Segal אראל סגל (@ErelSegal) January 25, 2023
“Apparently Mr. Kaufman is an Iranian bot trying to incite violence,” Segal wrote in a tweet warning about the posts. “He [Kaufman] joined Twitter in December 2022. The style is a machine translation.”
“Attack the government headquarters so that your protest will be heard and be effective. Small people have slogans and small goals and big people have big goals and ambitions,” another Iranian bot post read.
The phrase “Saturday night. 7 pm. Kaplan” – found on several inflammatory posts by apparent Iranian bots — is a reference to the time and place of massive demonstrations by leftist Israelis, led by former Israeli government officials, protesting plans by the new Israeli government to institute much-needed reforms in the judicial system and elsewhere.
“Instead of on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we write our wishes on the streets of the city so that you can be sure that we are not subject to censorship,” another Iranian bot post by the so-called “Itai Kaufman” reads.
Tellingly, the above incitement by “Itai Kaufman” had disappeared from the account by the time JewishPress.com attempted to track them down.
This is not the first time Iran has attempted to cause trouble in Israel using bots. A report by the Hebrew-language edition of Ynet in January 2019 warned, “The Iranian ‘bot’ army is trying to cause damage in the Israeli elections.
וזו כמובן לא הפעם הראשונה pic.twitter.com/BzYFtc8gFK
— ?????Ariel Iluz? (@Ariel_iluz) January 25, 2023
“Following social media posts by right-wingers and fake news Telegram groups, an email by the ‘vocativ’ company obtained by Ynet reveals that the Iranians are operating hundreds of fake accounts to stimulate discussion on divisive issues in Israel,” Ynet’s Roi Rubenstein wrote. “Since the announcement of new elections, there has allegedly been a slowdown in their activities.”
A separate post that appeared to be written by another Iranian bot this week said: “Saturday night. 7 pm, Kaplan. They angered the government and the police. This will reveal their true nature and hidden violence.”
The post, written in Hebrew by “@l_grwn” – an account that did not exist by the time JewishPress.com attempted to access it – showed an overlay of a person holding an Israeli flag with a sketch of a mosque behind on a hill.
The fake account was addressed to Calcalist writer Yuval Sade with the comment, “Saturday night, 19:00 (7 pm), Kaplan. They angered the government and the police. This will reveal their true nature and hidden violence.”
The bot warned Israeli protesters, “Always cover your face with a mask, put a hat on your head, and dress in several layers of clothing in order not to be recognized.”
In response, one user wrote, “Many Twitter users originating from Iran have been publishing in Hebrew in recent days to support the left-wing protest. Common interests. . . “