The Israeli Embassy in Ireland is battling a new threat these days – fake Tweets. Unknown perpetrators attempted to discredit the embassy by uploading a screenshot of fake Tweets to Reddit Ireland, purporting to come from the Israeli Embassy's official account, which taunted the Irish government and people.
A few weeks later, a popular Irish student website, oxygen.ie, mocked the scandal by putting up its own version of fake Israeli embassy Tweets, which were posted on the sattire section of the site.
The satirical Tweets were later spread across the internet and mistaken for official Tweets by the Israel Embassy in Ireland - prompting threats of legal action by the embassy against the student website.
"Ireland, your foreign policies are almost as ugly as your mother," read a fake Tweet published by the student website, which when spread on the internet alongside fabricated Tweets intentionally created as an anti-Israel acts protest. The latter group includes "Tweets" such as, "The spineless Irish Gov moves on step closer to recognizing the terrosist 'state' of Palestine."
The Irish student website also uploaded mock articles claiming that the Israeli embassy in Dublin had slandered the Irish government and "is once again offending the Irish nation and its government."
The Israeli embassy rushed to send a message to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs explaining the Tweets were forged. The mission also published an official message denying any connection to the false Tweets and threatened to take legal measures against the culprits.
"These were fabricated Tweets and false reports. We demanded the sites remove the reports otherwise we will take legal action," said a letter published by the embassy.
After threats to take legal action, the central news websites in Ireland removed the reports of the fake Tweets. The embassy also threatened to take legal steps against the student website, hoping that it would lead to the end of these types of scandals.
The student website responded to the threats in an article published on their site and said the fake Tweets were "published in our Spanner section, the award-winning satirical aspect of our website. This went over the heads of the spokespeople for the Israeli Embassy in Dublin as legal action was threatened against Oxygen.ie if we did not remove the article."
Some in Israel perceive there to be an anti-Israel atmosphere in Ireland among the media, politicians, and lobby groups.
Recently, the Irish senate voted to recognize the Palestinian state. Calls for boycotting Israel, protests outside of the Israeli embassy, and hostile public atmosphere have become common in Ireland.
Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Boaz Modai, along with his wife Norit Tinri, have employed a provocative use of social media to combat anti-Israel sentiment in Ireland and directly reach out to the Irish people, increasing the embassy's friend list on Facebook from a couple of hundred to more than 8,000.
The Israeli Embassy in Ireland was given an honorable mention by the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem for the work it has done to promote Israel in Ireland.
The Foreign Ministry said the success of the embassy to penetrate hostile public opinion in Ireland through social networking motivated Israel's adversaries to pursue a smear campaign and forge tweets in an attempt to sour relations between the two countries.
"This is an ugly and very dangerous act," that is likely to put the Israeli embassy in a difficult position, Foreign Ministry officials said.