Indeed prior to the release of the video there was talk about Iran in the usual Anonymous discussion spaces, but none about Israel. Most discussion continues to center around Internet freedom and the campaign against ACTA, a multinational treaty to strengthen copyright and intellectual property laws and the way they are applied to the Internet. Also being discussed was the latest release of data from “Operation Blitzkrieg” an Anonymous operation which has been targeting neo-Nazi groups over the last seven months and recently led to the release of personal information, usernames and passwords of users on neo-Nazi websites. A 2011 video directed to neo-Nazis claimed they “took over a plague, known as anti-Semitism” and through intimidation and violence threaten the free speech. The militancy of “Operation Blitzkrieg” led to internal debate and criticism within Anonymous.
Despite media attention on hacktivism, Anonymous as a whole is more about initiating active civil disobedience than cyber attacks. Perhaps the best explanation was given in 2010 following “Operation Payback” (in support of Wikileaks). “Anonymous is not a group of hackers. We are average Internet Citizens ourselves and our motivation is a collective sense of being fed up with all the minor and major injustices we witness every day.” The press release speaks about a motivation for symbolism and drawing attention to issues rather than the threat of a violent mob. It was the discipline of the legions that made them legendary.
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The threat of an all out cyber attack on Israel resembles not the methods of Anonymous, but rather the threats of Hamas, an Iranian proxy. In mid-January Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told journalists, “Penetrating Israeli websites means opening a new field of resistance and the beginning of an electronic war against Israeli occupation”. The current video claiming Anonymous is targeting Israel is not supported by discussion within the Anonymous collective. More damaging still, is that the video was not originally posted by TheAnonPress. Their copy (9th of February) was a repost of a copy posted earlier that day by the account “AnonSolutions”. TheAnonSolutions copy linked to TheAnonPress Facebook, a clear invitation for TheAnonPress to repost and claim the credit. The previous attempt by “AnonSolutions” to put the video into circulation, on February 4th, the same day the AnonSolutions account was registered on YouTube, was a dismal failure attracting almost zero traffic.