Israel Allegedly Secretly Influenced US Lawmakers on Gaza War 

A New York Times story reported that Israel organized and then paid for a 2023 influence campaign that targeted lawmakers in the U.S. as well as the American public with messaging that was pro-Israel. 

Officials who were involved in the operation’s effort reported that it was done to drum up support for Israel’s impending war efforts in Gaza. 

The campaign, which was very covert in nature, was commissioned by the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs in Israel. That agency is part of the government that connects Jews from across the globe with the State of Israel, according to four different Israeli officials.

According to documents and other officials, the ministry spent roughly $2 million on the operation, hiring Tel Aviv-based political marketing firm Stoic to carry out the plans.

The campaign started back in October, and is still very active on the social media platform X.

At the peak of its activity, they used hundreds of fake social media accounts that ultimately posed as Americans on the X platform, Instagram and Facebook. They posted information that was pro-Israeli on all the forums.

Those accounts focused on lawmakers in America, especially those who are Democrats and Blacks.

Some targets of the posts were House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock. The posts urged those two officials to continue funding the military in Israel.

A large number of the posts were generated using ChatGPT, an AI chatbot that’s available to all to use. 

In addition, the campaign created three different fake English-language news sites that featured many articles that were pro-Israel.

Before now, it was not known that the Israeli government had direct ties to the operation. 

The effort was first identified back in march by FakeReporter, a misinformation watchdog group based in Israel. 

Officials from OpenAI – the creator of ChatGPT — as well as Meta — the parent company of Instagram and Facebook — confirmed last week that they found instances of the operation and disrupted it.

The campaign shows just how far Israel will go to sway opinion in the U.S. about its ongoing war efforts in Gaza. 

The U.S. has been a staunch ally of Israel for years now, with President Joe Biden emphasizing just how significant it continues to be. Recently, the president signed a military aid package for the country that totaled $15 million.

At the same time, the ongoing conflict is getting increasingly unpopular with Americans, many of whom have called on Biden to stop supporting Israel with weapons and money.

Media experts have said that this is the first time that it’s been documented that the government in Israel has organized an influence campaign targeting the U.S. government. Such campaigns aren’t uncommon in the world, though it’s usually difficult to provide proof of who’s behind it.

It’s believed that countries such as Russia, North Korea, China, Iran and even the U.S. has carried out efforts very similar to these around the world.