Malaysia Dateline

Malaysian cytros use Israeli attacks to spread fake news about DAP

As Palestinians fight for their lives in Gaza, political cybertroopers use human tragedy to fuel fear and anger towards a leading political party in Malaysia, the Democratic Action Party (DAP)

Rumours regarding DAP’s supposed funding from Israel have resurfaced on social media and through Whatsapp groups, forcing the party to address the issue on their official Facebook and Twitter accounts.

DAP urged the public to see through the lies for what they are, political propaganda by means of fear-mongering.

The unfounded attacks against DAP are particularly cruel because the party has been unflinching in their support of the Palestinian people over the years.

Even a quick google search will show that the party has condemned the attacks against Palestine and was strongly critical of the Israeli government since 2002.

Yet none of it has stopped political opportunists from using this tragedy for their own political gain.

Attempting to link DAP to Israel was a heavily used tactic in the last general election. The types of fake news range from run-of-the-mill to downright bizarre.

In 2016, Member of Parliament for Damansara Tony Pua recalled ridiculous accusations of him being the leader of G17 – an elite DAP team sent to Israel to be trained by the Mossad.

Surprisingly enough, no evidence has ever been brought forth to show DAP’s ties to Israel, even from the supposed RM 1.2b donation for election activities.

Former home minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi even referred the matter to the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) with PAS Youth claiming that they have lodged police reports on the ‘funding’.

More than five years down the road and not an iota of evidence has turned up to support these claims.

However with the recent attacks on Al-Aqsa which left hundreds of people injured and led to a series of deadly rocket exchanges between the Israel military and Hamas in Gaza, these old rumours were brought back to life.

In a now deleted tweet, Major Subash Chandrabose, a self-described special duties officer from the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), claimed the former Pakatan Harapan (PH) government was given money by Israel to fund their political activities in the 14th general election.

It’s ludicrous to imagine that Israel would fund a coalition led by former prime minister Tun Mahathir, who was described by Israeli journalists as “virulently anti-semitic”.

In fact, major Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, condemned Columbia University for allowing Mahathir to speak at their university and giving an exalted platform to someone who has called Jews “hook-nosed,” and questioned the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

There is simply no sense for Israel to take such a special liking and to give billions to PH and DAP. Records show that DAP has never even met leaders of the Israeli government.

In fact, it was former prime minister Najib Razak who met and shook hands with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly in 2015.

It was also Najib who got chummy with former US president Donald Trump who was a staunch defender of Israel’s policies and even officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital which sparked protests from all over the world.

However, it isn’t Najib who has to deal with these bad faith attacks from cybertroopers.

Trying to associate DAP with Israel is part of a much deeper and larger narrative of painting DAP as anti-Islam, a political strategy which has been used for decades in Malaysia.

Lawyer Syahredzan Johan believes that parties like Umno need a bogeyman to scare people into voting for them.

“To be a ‘defender’, one needs to have an enemy to ‘defend’ against and because of the ethnic make-up of the DAP, the party became the easiest target for the attacks by parties like Umno,” he explained.