(JNS) Hundreds of fake and bot accounts have been promoting a Twitter campaign calling on artists and others to boycott this month’s Eurovision song contest in Israel, according to a report by the country’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs. The report revealed data indicating the use of a number of fraudulent methods, including bots and fake accounts using “Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior” to create the appearance of an authentic and widespread campaign, while hoping to manipulate public opinion against artists performing at this year’s Eurovision. Performers targeted included Madonna, Bilal Hassani, Alessandro Mahmoud, Michael Rice and Sarah McTernan, as well as participating countries’ broadcast authorities. It is estimated that the tweets had a potential reach of 9.7 million users.
The campaign was originally begun under the hashtag #BoycottEurovision2019 by the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, an organization operating from Ramallah with close ties with the Palestinian National Islamic Forces, comprised of five terror groups including Hamas, the PFLP and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Two #BoycottEurovision2019 Twitter storms were also discovered to have been organized by an organization called #GroupPalestine. The report revealed 191 fake accounts took part in the #GroupPalestine Eurovision boycott campaign, 157 of them bots. It also exposed that the current boycott Eurovision campaign was carried out with the support of Bassem Na’im, a senior official in the terrorist group Hamas who participated in two “Twitter storms” – one in February and another in March – targeting artists participating in Eurovision, which will take place from May 14 to May 18 in Tel Aviv.
“BDS activists are trying every deceptive method to attack Israel, even when dealing with a contest that is supposed to unite people and cultures,” said Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan.