Welcome to ‘Pallywood,’ Where Crisis Actors, Fake News, and Media Lie About the Israel/Hamas War

News & Politics

Welcome to Pallywood. Since October 7, when Hamas killers paraglided into Israel to murder innocents and commit unspeakable atrocities, there’s been a secondary war over the narrative of who the victims and victimizers are. There really isn’t any question about who are the victim is in this case, but the truth, they say, is the first victim of war. Professional propagandists, including the news media, wage this secondary war. The people who call themselves Palestinians have “Pallywood.” Pallywood is now playing everywhere.

Boston University Professor Richard Landes coined the term Pallywood during the second Intifada, which started in 2000. He remembers how he kept seeing what he believed were staged photos and videos on the news. When he got a look at the raw coverage, he saw Hollywood-like scenes of fake funerals with live corpses, fake shooting victims, and propagandistic hero shots of Palestinian militia shooting into a hole in a wall, which turned out to be an empty room.  As he put it in his documentary called “Pallywood, According to Palestinian Sources,” “Pallywood is a bustling industry of alfresco cinema, staged news in real-time, against a backdrop of a complex conflict we all think we know.”

And it’s going on right now.

Well before Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential camp coined the term “fake news,” Landes exposed the fake news, fake narratives, fake crisis actors, and the media’s complicity in these whoppers using Hollywood-worthy video vignettes to make the Palestinians look like downtrodden victims while creating Israeli war crimes. This is not to say Israeli soldiers always acted like angels, but if they acted with the unrelenting viciousness Pallywood alleges, then why the need to make it up?

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The fakery is out there for all to see. Israelis are keeping track of it.

In the same way Hillary Clinton attempted to use “fake news” as an albatross around Donald Trump’s neck, Landes, like Trump, turned the narrative around on the Palestinians and exposed the lies. Though Hillary may have regretted that she’d ever uttered the words, the Palestinians keep up the grift and the news media keep helping.

In his documentary, Landes says Pallywood “has directors, makeup men, sets, extras—often playing dead or injured—props, especially ambulances, plenty of cameramen, and sometimes large audiences.” And if you don’t think they are using these props and vignettes now, you haven’t been paying attention.

This week, Landes noticed something oddly familiar about the scene of chaos, make-shift ambulances, a victim, and a scene somehow happening in front of a professional photographer in Gaza. The vignette was touted on X/Twitter, and Landes admonished the person, sending the message that they’re “playing [Hamas’s] game.” Note the two men strolling nearby while the “chaos” ensues.

Recently, Hamas convinced the mainstream media that the Israelis had shot a missile into the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza. First of all, the Palestinians use hospitals, schools, and other public buildings filled with women and children to stockpile their weapons. Video appears to show the rocket coming from Gaza, reversing course, and hitting the hospital.

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The New York Times and Washington Post bought the Pallywood narrative that the Israelis did it. Neither media outlet has retracted its story blaming Israel for the rocket attack, although the Times wrote an article about how “Headlines Shift With Changing Claims,” which should be a lesson to them. It turns out that even the Israel-dismissing Biden administration said the Israelis didn’t do it.

Senator Ted Cruz noticed the misinformation.

The very chants used by Hamas-supporting Muslims and others around the world are calling for literal genocide of the Jews, a point seldom, if ever, pointed out by the mainstream media.

Israel has cranked up its propaganda machine as well, featuring vignettes of the murdered victims, photos of bloody carnage, and stories of beheaded babies. While the veracity of the story about beheaded babies, which the media also readily reported, is still in question, Hamas supporters hope the confusion over it will call into question all of its verifiable atrocities.

Landes recently wrote a book about the media’s complicity in misinformation. It’s called “Can ‘The Whole World’ Be Wrong?: Lethal Journalism, Antisemitism, and Global Jihad (Antisemitism in America),” which seems well-timed. The book covers the fundamental misunderstanding of global jihad and the subsequent war coverage. “[W]hile journalists reported Palestinian war propaganda as news (lethal journalism), they were also reporting Jihadi war propaganda as news (own-goal war journalism),” he writes in the summary of his book. He calls the disconnection between these two “radical disorientations” that have “created our current dilemma of pervasive information distrust,” which he says causes “deep splits within the voting public in most democracies, the politicization of science, and the inability of Western elites to defend their civilization, and instead, to stand down before an invasion.”

Shortly after Hamas’s attack, I discussed with retired Army General Paul E. Vallely what it meant geopolitically. I discussed with the security expert how to react in America since we know bad actors have been allowed to cross America’s southern border freely. We also discussed the inevitable misinformation—Pallywood propaganda—we’d expect to see. We were right.

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