AU.S.-based news outlet The Washington Post reported Sunday on a disturbing phenomenon that is gaining momentum: the denial of the massacre carried out by Hamas on October 7. The newspaper said despite numerous pieces of evidence indicating that Hamas committed these horrible acts, including footage captured by the terrorists themselves, denial continues to spread.
According to The Washington Post, the number of massacre deniers in the United States is currently small, but growing. Some claim the IDF carried out the massacre to "justify genocide in Gaza," while others believe some hostages were kidnapped by Israel. Some are even confident that the United States is behind the attack.
These false narratives have circulated on social media, and users on platforms like TikTok and Reddit are already blaming Israel for a "false flag" attack – a staged attack designed to justify a harsh retaliatory action.
This phenomenon is troubling Jewish leaders and researchers who see a connection between it and Holocaust denial. They also identify similarities between the denial of the massacre and conspiracy theories with antisemitic foundations, including supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
In The Washington Post article, the news outlet shared the story of Mirela Monte, a real estate agent and holistic healer from South Carolina, who was shocked when she first heard about the October 7 massacre.
She continued to read more about it on Uncensored Truths, a Telegram group with 2,958 members focusing on international news and "supposed perils" related to vaccinations. According to posts in the group, Israel stood behind the attack.
Now, Monte is convinced that the massacre is a "false flag" attack by Israel – carried out with American assistance – to justify "genocide" in Gaza. Monte called Israel "pure evil."
The false narrative according to which "Israel murdered their own people on October 7," isn’t only growing online but is also present in anti-Israel demonstrations and protests where posters of Israeli hostages were hung in London, Chicago and other cities.
Following Hamas’ attack, Basem Naim, a senior Hamas official, claimed the terrorist organization didn’t kill Israeli civilians, saying it was "Israeli propaganda." Some Reddit users are convinced he’s telling the truth.
"So basically the Hamas attack was a false flag for Israel to occupy Gaza and kill Palestinians. Expected behavior from Nazi wannabes.'" wrote one user in r/LateStageCapitalism, a left-wing forum on Reddit.
This claim can also be seen on extreme news websites like Electronic Intifada and GrayZone, where it was written that most Israeli victims were killed by operations carried out by the IDF, and not Hamas. According to The Washington Post, it’s not only extreme left-leaning individuals who blame Israel for killing its civilians, but also extreme right-wingers and Holocaust deniers.
Holocaust denial, the American newspaper wrote, is gaining momentum among American youths. According to a survey by The Economist and YouGov conducted in early December 2023, one in five Americans under the age of 30 agrees with the statement that the “Holocaust is a myth." More than a fifth of respondents in the survey believe the data published about the Holocaust are exaggerated.