By Rebekah Jones
After this, I'm done fact-checking the disinformation coming out of the Middle East.
No one is interested in truth.
Everyone seems out for blood, and even truth is being weaponized to justify atrocities. There is so much pain from what happened Saturday, and so much hatred around that it's blinding even the most reasonable people I know.
There is one particularly disgusting lie coming from Hamas/Iran/Russia right now that it makes me physically ill, and it's made its way into X/Twitter’s community notes.
And because my own fact check is being used to support this depravity, I have a responsibility to call it out.
After I posted an article here on Substack and on X/Twitter that proved there is no evidence to substantiate Hamas targeting infants for beheading, that provided cover for terrorists to falsely claim that they didn't kill any babies at all, which is a disgusting and flagrant lie, and a lie one of my best friends correctly anticipated coming out of questioning any information coming from Netanyahu's office.
When community notes were added to photos and stories about dead children claiming the photos of dead babies - which I carefully looked at in the process of fact checking the other claim - were AI generated, I felt like I had in some small way given credence to this.
They were not AI generated photos. Hamas killed babies. Those photos are real. If you are not in the field of viewing dead and mutilated bodies, those photos will likely haunt you. Hell, I AM in the profession of counting and finding the dead, and it made me sick.
This false community note first appeared on the account of far-right extremist Ben Shapiro. Shapiro has personally attacked me and lied about me numerous times. He’s said horrible things about me that are false. Shapiro has been indoctrinating young men into his far-right terrorist cult for years. I loathe the man.
I have every reason not to be on this guy’s side or defend him.
But if I only call out lies when it benefits the people I like or agree with, then I’m no better than them.
I’m blocking out what the photo in the tweet below shows out of sensitivity to my readers, but this screenshot is otherwise unaltered.
Shapiro’s tweet was targeted because he’s Jewish with a large audience. This note seemingly only appeared on posts by accounts with large followings who were Jewish. This is another form of a hate crime, in my opinion. And until a group of us had the note removed, it caused great harm to those still grieving Saturday’s attack and a century of persecution and murder.
How we went from “babies were not intentionally targeted for beheadings” to “no babies died” is a lesson in the progression of disinformation warfare.
I know a lot of people don't agree that there's a difference between dying during an attack and targeting infants for beheading.
Dead is dead, as one friend told me, and I agree with him. He's right. But so am I.
But to use that and twist it to create such a disgusting lie is categorically cruel and one of the most abhorrent lies I've ever fact checked.
Social media can be a tool used for good or for evil, and right now Xitter is being used for evil, and with a known antisemite running the show, I'm not in the last bit surprised.
People are being murdered. Children are being slaughtered.
CHILDREN HAVE BEEN AND CONTINUE TO BE MURDERED.
Anyone lying about it is a monster.