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‘Atrocity propaganda’ debunked following Israel’s war on Gaza

The Gaza Strip, Palestine – Thousands of innocent people are dead, wounded, and displaced from their homes in the wake of Operation Iron Swords, the latest Israeli military campaign seeking to destroy Hamas, the legitimate government in war-torn Gaza. But despite a near-constant stream of video evidence purporting to show dead Palestinian women, children, and other bloody casualties, it’s the cries of the Israelis—not the Palestinians—who have captured the world’s attention.

Dubbed “atrocity propaganda” by some, the Israeli government has flooded Western media with sensational stories of “40 beheaded babies” and violent rape-fueled “massacres” alleged to have taken place at the onset of a Palestinian strike on October 7th. As a result, multiple nations have reaffirmed their unwavering support of Israel, with some even donating funds and lethal munitions to a regime that has since obliterated large swaths of Northern Gaza with indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets.

Israel’s claims, however, have drawn a wide array of skepticism and controversy from across the political spectrum. Many of the supposed “atrocities” linked to Palestinian resistance fighters not only lack substantial evidence but have been swiftly discredited. This has led to widespread doubts about the legitimacy of Israel’s forceful actions against Hamas and has raised concerns about the role of Western media in what some have termed the “genocide” of the Palestinian people.

Take the story of Shani Louk, for instance. A German-Jewish tattoo artist who was allegedly kidnapped from an Israeli music festival and feared executed, Louk made headlines for days after dubious footage emerged on social media purporting to show her dead in the back of a pickup truck driven by Hamas fighters. While her plight was quickly spread all over mainstream news and social media, the story was debunked in short order after her own mother reported that she was fine and recovering in a hospital. Other attempts to paint the music festival as a ruthless massacre were also disproven after video evidence surfaced of armed Israelis taking cover inside crowds of civilian concertgoers during the attack.

Not to be deterred, the Israeli government and its supporters pushed other narratives, such as mass rapes and “ISIS-style beheadings” of Israeli settlers near Gaza. Television interviews with Jewish settlers handily debunked those claims as well, as first-hand accounts from these individuals painted Hamas as civilized. Some fighters even released women and children shortly after taking them captive. Official footage later released by Hamas revealed compassion for Jewish civilians and was allegedly recorded on the first day of hostilities.

The most outrageous narrative to emerge amid the conflict was the allegation that Hamas systematically beheaded 40 Jewish babies. The story began when, on October 7th, Hamas fighters used a wide array of tactics to break out from security cordons surrounding the Gaza Strip. Using paragliders, motorcycles, and other methods to elude security, the fighters staged a daring raid on Israeli military outposts and settlements. One such target was the settlement of Kfar Aza, a town of about 400 residents only 3 kilometers from Gaza.

During the Palestinian raid, soldiers from the elite “Al-Qassam Brigades” were believed to have eliminated Israeli settler militia and taken a number of captives. According to reports, the settlement was not recaptured by Israeli paratroopers until two and a half days later.

On October 10th, Nicole Zedek—a reporter working for the state-sponsored i24 news network—conducted an interview with David Ben Zion, a Deputy Commander of Unit 71 of the IDF who was allegedly tasked with the recapture of Kfar Aza, among others.

Jewish extremist David Ben Zion was outed as a “fanatical settler leader” who once incited violent riots by demanding an entire Palestinian town be “wiped out.” Photo: Grayzone

“We walked door to door, we killed a lot of terrorists. They are very bad,” he claimed. “They cut heads of children, they cut heads of women. But we are stronger than them. We know that they (Palestinians) are animals, but we found that they don’t have any heart.”

Ben Zion would prove to be a dubious source, however, as it was later revealed by Grayzone that Ben Zion is actually a leader in the Shomron Regional Council, a Jewish extremist movement that regularly calls for the genocide of Palestinian peoples and the erection of the so-called “3rd-temple” in Jerusalem. Earlier in the year, Ben Zion had called for Palestinians to be “wiped out” from a nearby village, motivated by a stark hatred of the Arab race and fueled by a set of beliefs wholly enshrined in Jewish supremacy.

Zedek would use claims made by the extremist. Ben Zion, to report that “about 40 babies” were alleged to have been “taken out on gurneys” and that cribs were “overturned” as Hamas carried out “ISIS-style beheadings.” Zedek’s report would quickly be viewed by millions worldwide, and her narrative was even promoted by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, according to Grayzone.

Soon, the wholly unverified story quickly became mainstream news. It was then uncritically parroted by pundits on both sides of the political spectrum, ranging from left-leaning CNN to conservative Fox News. Even global heads of state would affirm the narrative, like when a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office confidently stated that babies and toddlers had indeed been found with their “heads decapitated.”

The unverified accounts were lent international credence when United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Netanyahu during an official press conference. Blinken—who is Jewish—alluded to the beheaded babies story being true when he stated, “Prime Minister, I understand, on a personal level, the harrowing echoes that Hamas’s massacres carry for Israeli Jews…I also come before you as a husband and father of young children. It’s impossible for me to look at the photos of families killed and not think of my own children,” he continued. “This was just one of Hamas’s countless acts of terror.”

US President Joe Biden claims to have seen pictures of “beheaded babies”

Even US President Joe Biden himself referred to “stomach-churning reports of babies being killed” during an address to the nation days after the war began. “I never really thought that I would see confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children,” said Biden, who would describe the attack as the “deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.”

A White House spokesperson would later clarify that U.S. officials and the president had not actually seen any photos or confirmed such reports independently. “The President based his comments about the alleged atrocities on the claims from Netanyahu’s spokesman and media reports from Israel,” said the White House.

Blinken and Biden’s comments, of course, come on the heels of a full spectrum blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has cut food, water, power, and safe passage to millions of Palestinians now trapped inside the densely populated partition zone. To make matters worse, a ruthless bombing campaign conducted by Israeli warplanes has only exacerbated civilian woes, made possible by advanced munitions bought and paid for by the US taxpayer.

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The “40 beheaded babies” story and others like it appeared too good to be true for an embattled Israel, who seemed eager to rally public support in the wake of a slew of extrajudicial killings of civilian targets in Gaza. Unfortunately for Israel, it was too good to be true. Not long after the IDF officially confirmed the decapitated babies narrative, they were forced to change course and walked back the initial story after being asked by journalists to qualify the claims.

According to an official IDF spokesperson, the IDF had no information confirming allegations that Hamas beheaded babies. “We have seen the news, but we do not have any details or confirmation about that,” Anadolu Agency confirmed with the IDF.

Journalists were also forced to qualify their early reports after the public began probing for more information. Bel Trew, the Independent’s Chief International Correspondent, stated on Twitter/X, “I just wanted to clarify that I did not tweet 40 babies had been beheaded. I tweeted that foreign media had been told women and children had been decapitated but we had not been shown bodies – which was my response to reports that had gone viral about the 40 babies. I realized the way my tweet was written was too short to explain the full context, so I deleted it.”

One reporter from CNN even made a public apology for her reports on the beheaded baby story, fearing that the Israeli government could not verify Ben Zion’s sensationalist claims. “I needed to be more careful with my words and I am sorry,” said CNN reporter Sara Sidner via Twitter/X.

Journalists worldwide were spellbound by early narratives of “40 beheaded babies” found in the wake of a Hamas attack on largely military targets near the Gaza Strip, only to walk back claims or apologize after such claims became indefensible. Photo: Sara Sidner Twitter/X.

In some cases, even Israelis—when pressured—were forced to walk back the initial narrative. In a now-deleted post on Twitter/X, Oren Ziv, an Israeli reporter who attended an official tour of Kfar Aza, commented. “I’m getting a lot of question(s) about the reports of ‘Hamas beheaded babies’ that were published after the media tour in the village. During the tour, we didn’t see any evidence of this, and the army spokesperson or commanders also didn’t mention any such incidents,” he said.

The Israeli government would eventually release what they claimed was photo “evidence” of dead babies; however, none of them appear to show signs of having been beheaded. The photos were posted on an official X/Twitter account linked to the government and meant to lay the issue to rest.

https://twitter.com/Israel/status/1712500162864480490
Israeli-State Media producing “evidence” of beheaded babies. At least one of these images could have be generated by artificial intelligence. Photos: Israel Twitter/X.

Jewish conservative influencer Ben Shapiro—who flew into several rants whenever atrocity claims were met with even mild critique—would go on to share one of these photos, depicting what appeared to be the corpse of a burnt baby. This picture would do more harm than good, however, when internet sleuths deduced that the image shared by Shapiro and the Israeli government may have been generated by artificial intelligence, casting major doubts on the story writ large. Shapiro would later delete the post.

A now-deleted Tweet by Jewish conservative Ben Shapiro allegedly shows a baby burned to death. Sceptics would later confirm that the image may have been generated using artificial intelligence through AI or Not, a research tool boasting a 95% accuracy rate. Collage: Ben Shapiro Twitter/X, Ai or Not.

At the time of publication, no factual evidence has surfaced that unequivocally proves the haughty claim that Hamas beheaded 40 Jewish babies in Kfar Aza or deliberately killed any others. No families of the victims have come out to tell their stories. No names, photos, or testimony has been produced to suggest they ever even existed. Despite this, Israel and its supporters have accepted the story whole-cloth, leaving many to question the regime’s motives and, instead, point to a trend of hypocrisy as the Jewish state currently decimates Gaza with objective proof of the carnage emerging daily.

“Israel’s massive bombing campaign has killed thousands of civilians and injured thousands more. There is absolutely no military objective to the bombing. Its only objective is terror and slaughter…” read a statement from the U.S. White civil rights organization, the National Justice Party. “The bombing campaign has been backed by an all-out propaganda assault on the American psyche from the Jewish media and political establishment. Unproven claims of Palestinian atrocities, deranged incitement, witch hunts, and black lists against any dissenters are the tools the Jews are using to bully the American people into a fake consensus on entering the war.”

Official promotional material issued by the National Justice Party featuring Chairman Mike Peinovich. The NJP has long held anti-Zionist sentiment and considers Israel to be a terrorist state. Photo: National Justice Party Telegram.

Support for the Palestinian people has resounded worldwide, with some applauding their desire for national sovereignty. “Self-defense is an inalienable right…” said the White Nationalist organization, the Nordic Resistance Movement, in an official statement on its website. “(We) stand wholeheartedly behind the Palestinian offensive and for the Palestinian people’s right to a sovereign nation.”

“Can you remember that time the IRA detonated bombs in pubs in Birmingham, and the British government responded by cutting off all water and electricity to Irish Catholic estates in Northern Ireland?” Said British pro-White advocate and founding member of Patriotic Alternative, Mark Colette, on Telegram. “…before giving the residents of those estates less than 24 hours to take their families and all their possessions and move out before indiscriminately shelling the whole area and razing it to the ground? No one in the world other than Zionists would be able to get away with the genocide taking place in Gaza.”

While skepticism, critique, and simple questions have only multiplied in the wake of outrageous Zionist atrocity propaganda, one thing appears certain: that the Holocaust—which some believe has been used dishonestly as a “warning” to prevent so-called genocide for years—was now being evoked as a justification to conduct actual genocide on a race of people trapped within the Gaza Strip.

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