In the last 12 years alone, we’ve seen misinformation around the Al-Dura case, the so-called Jenin Massacre, the Gaza Beach incident, and photoshopped images from the Lebanon War. There have also been distorted images from the raid on the Flotilla to Gaza in 2010, along with numerous mischaracterizations of Israel in the media.
Just this week, in a sign that the misinformation had seeped into mainstream discourse in Europe, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton appeared to equate the shooting at the Jewish school in France with the deaths of children in Gaza, as though Israeli troops callously opened fire on Gaza children.
The situation is even worse on the Internet.
People assume anonymous identities and express all manner of hate for Israel. You can see it in the comments people leave below articles or videos related to Israel. People post material without regard for truth on Facebook and Twitter with the intention of generating hate for Israel.
While there is rarely outright incitement to violence against Israel, there is a great deal of misinformation. And the misinformation can easily slip to incitement if left unchecked. And that can turn to violence.
So as we recover from the shock of the massacre in Toulouse, we need to ensure that there are no more victims of incitement. Take action by making governments and the media aware of the direct link between incitement and the potential for violent acts of hatred. Campaign to ensure that hate speech is recognized and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Educate so that it never takes another horrific act such as in Toulouse to show the correlation between what people see, read, hear and what, ultimately, they may do.