United Kingdom (QNN)- The Arab Organisation for Human Rights AOHR in the UK published a statement Wednesday, condemning an Israeli intelligence-linked App, which targets Jewish people all around the world to turn them into online soldiers.
The NGO stated that the App aims at narrowing the freedom of speech and spread pro Israel propaganda.
“The App Act.IL was designed to fight what Israel see’s as an online “war” against pro-Palestinian opinion and information, particularly attacking activists and groups linked to the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement.”
The statement added that the app “is a joint project of the private Israeli university IDC Herzliya, which has links with the Intelligence agency, and the US-based Israeli-American Council. Act.IL is headed by Chief Executive, Yarden Ben Yosef, himself a former Israeli Spy, who admitted that the company is largely staffed by former intelligence agency staff.”
The Israeli propaganda project is funded by the occupation state and also receives large donations from American right-wing Israeli lobbyists like Sheldon Adelson, who was the largest donor of Trumps campaign for Presidency.
AOHR said that the app works by monitoring online activity , in particular public opinion surrounding news and social media, using highly sophisticated monitoring software.
“The App is designed to appear as a grassroots platform for activists, but in reality it is a state backed, designed and funded platform with the sole intention of spreading pro-Israeli propaganda to sway international public opinion against Palestinian rights, and attempts to distract attention from the vast violations of human rights that the occupation state inflicts on the people of Palestine.”
The app works by assessing missions to its followers across the world, many of which are American students, in exchange for points and prizes.
“The App directs thousands of trolls across various social media and news platforms, with a focus on Twitter. The App seeks to get pro-Palestinian content blocked, banned or removed by spamming and mass-targeting. Furthermore trolls using the App have targeted online petitions, as well as running campaigns directly designed to smear international pro-Palestinian politicians such as leader of the UK labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, and US Law maker Ilhan Omar”, stated the statement.
Ben Yosef, an eight-year veteran of Israeli army intelligence, initially told the Forward that Israel’s military and its domestic intelligence service, the Shin Bet, “request” Act.il’s help in getting services like Facebook to remove specific videos that call for violence against Jews or Israelis.
Later, Ben Yosef walked back that statement, saying that the Shin Bet and the army don’t request help on specific videos but are in regular informal contact with Act.il. He said that Act.il’s staff is largely made up of former Israeli intelligence officers.
“We know each other,” he said of his group’s relationship with members of Israel’s intelligence community. “You don’t get [sent] a link to [a specific video]. We talk with each other. We work together.”
AOHR called on the world’s decision makers to do more to legislate against state funded and orchestrated online propaganda platforms. It also called on Apple and Android to disable the App Act.IL and social media platforms to do more to shut down fake troll accounts that are used for the spread of propaganda and hate speech.