Marking a major win for Palestine, South Africa was able to take Israel to court during the ICJ hearings that were held last Thursday and Friday. Knowing how this places a major critical lens on Israel and its ongoing genocide and injustice, Israel decided to take matters into its own hands and attempt to change public view toward its case.
How did it do so? Through paid ads on Google.
On January 11, whenever anyone attempted to search for information on the hearing by typing “ICJ Hearing” on Google, the first result that would pop up was a paid ad sponsored by the Israeli government advertising agency that accused South Africa of blood libel.
Even on January 12, when people googled “ICJ Hearing,” they’d find an ad by the same agency popping up at the top of the results page. When you click the link, a video starts playing automatically, and the first thing you’ll see is a woman narrating the video and saying, “Israel is doing everything in its power to prevent harm to innocent civilians in Gaza and is acting according to international humanitarian law.”
The video continued by placing all the blame for the current demise of Gazans onto Hamas, stating that Hamas is the one blocking the roads, shooting humanitarian aid sent over by “Israel,” and disallowing Gazans from evacuating to safety.
If you scroll down this website, you’ll also find unverified links to other websites containing information on the October 7 attacks, including allegations of the killing of babies. However, all these claims were refuted through evidence.
The world wasn’t silent toward Israel’s attempts at discrediting the South African court case through misinformation and lies and took to social media to attack the ads.
One user said, “Imagine being so shameless you have to pay for falsified advertisement because your truths keep getting exposed,” while another user commented, “Why do they keep trying to gaslight the public we know they’re lying! This is so embarrassing 😭.”
For many people, Israel’s attempts merely backfired and made everyone question Google’s role as well.