Western governments invest tremendous effort in exposing the funding routes that allow terrorist organisations to flourish and carry out deadly attacks. In a world where social media enables online radicalisation, it’s also vital to expose those who provide the content that engenders this hateful agenda.
This week I ran across yet another blog post by the Hamas terror group, on its active English-language Twitter feed. The piece was originally written by an anti-Israel activist and posted on Middle East Monitor (MEMO), a self-ascribed news site that has links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
MEMO is populated by bloggers and activists and directed by Daoud Abdullah, a senior researcher at the London-based Palestinian Return Centre – an organisation outlawed in Israel for its connections with Hamas and acting as the terror group’s de-facto arm across Europe.
When you read stories on the site directed by Mr Abdullah, you’re reading material edited by senior editor Ibrahim Hewitt, who is also director of Interpal, a British Muslim charity designated as a terror-supporting group in Israel. The charity is also a longstanding member of the United States Treasury’s list of specially designated terrorist organisations.
Interpal, the organisation Mr Hewitt directs, was embroiled in controversy recently for sponsoring a Gaza festival during which a little girl was filmed play-acting, pretending to stab two small boys dressed as Israeli policemen, and firing a mock semi-automatic rifle at child soldiers, to cheers from the crowd. Some $10,000 of the charity’s funds were invested in this festival.
In view of this sordid chain of connections, it should come as no surprise that Hamas unabashedly posts MEMO articles on its website, proudly attributing them to the website that seems to be representing its worldview in the UK. We must remember that Hamas is a radical Jihadi group, designated as a terror entity across the Western world – from the entire European Union to Australia to the U.S. Its anti-Semitic charter calls on killing all Jews and eliminating Israel.
The other, more recent media player in this dubious category is Middle East Eye (MEE), a UK-based news site set up in late 2013, producing similar material to MEMO. According to a 2014 news report, the man under whose name the web domain for MEE is registered is also the head of policy development at Interpal.
The material produced by MEMO and MEE is heavily shared on the official Hamas website and social media accounts. It is not merely copied but proudly displayed with the name of the UK site. In 2016 Hamas posted material from these two sources 51 times, making for an astounding 42% of all external tweets (that is to say, other than its own press releases). The second-favorite news source for Hamas is Palestine Chronicle, which consequently, is edited by MEE consultant Ramzy Baroud.
This chain of connections reminds me of an old Israeli Health Ministry TV spot from the 1980s, which warned against unprotected sex by showing the faces of young people, with an accompanying voiceover that ran something like this: “Do you know that every time you sleep with your girlfriend, you’re sleeping with her ex-boyfriend, and with the ex-boyfriend’s girlfriend, and with the girlfriend’s boyfriend…
And so, the next time you read an article on MEMO or MEE, written by a “senior editor”, “journalist ” or “Middle East expert”, don’t forget that you’re reading an article edited by the head of a charity with documented links to funding terror, including festivals of hatred showcasing children encouraged to murder.
You’re reading an article which is subsequently shared and reposted on the website of the terror group Hamas, voicing the worldview of a radical, anti-Semitic organisation which has caused immeasurable suffering to both Israelis and Palestinians, and is the single most significant obstacle to achieving peace in our region.