A woman walks through the ruins of Gaza

A woman walks through Gaza's ruins.

(Photo: Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Come Visit Beautiful Gaza!

Putting a grotesquely duplicitous spin on already shady propaganda, Israel has released a sick faux tourist ad awash in glossy AI images inviting vacationers to come enjoy Gaza's "stunning beaches and charming boardwalks," swank hotels and vibrant night life - only to abruptly pivot and darkly note this would beGaza, if not for Hamas. WTF. So blame Hamas for blockades, checkpoints, apartheid and collective punishment in a now-razed concentration camp? Hey Israel, you must mean, "This would be Gaza without Zionism."

Israel's latest offense against probity comes as a relentlessly rapacious Netanyahu continues burrowing into "the black hole of the messianic right," rejecting the latest ceasefire proposal and raving, "We are on the way to an absolute victory" despite having destroyed less than a third of Hamas’ operations while killing, injuring or burying in rubble at least 100,000 Gazan civilians, most women and children. Now he's reportedly planning to "evacuate" over 1.4 million hungry, thirsty, homeless, multiply-displaced, traumatized and increasingly ill Gazans packed into Rafah - a move beleaguered aid workers say would "exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare." Panic is said to be growing among Palestinians trapped in Rafah's tent cities with "nowhere left to flee"; says one, "We are waiting to be martyred." For many, their anguish is exacerbated by the fact that Israel has continued their carnage despite the Hague ruling finding them complicit in genocide. "I don't know who can help us," says Fahmi Al-Rubai. "If (the ICJ) fails, we have no one but God."

Still, Israel's savagery - the devastation, civilian deaths, unending images of mangled children - has left them "in a losing battle for hearts and minds." Most of the world wants a ceasefire, and many thousands have marched to demand it. Despite or thanks to Biden's complicity, so do a majority of U.S. voters; activists remain camped outside Antony Blinken's house, live-streaming each morning: "Wakey, wakey war criminal - how many kids did you kill while you were sleeping?" Faced with such rage, Israel's hasbara, or propaganda machine, is flailing. Historically, it's tended to praise Israel - moral army, blooming desert, civilized society - and paint Palestinians as the barbaric enemy. Since Oct. 7, the message has become: "All Palestinians are Hamas, Hamas commits atrocities, we must defend ourselves." In an animated ad, Hamas are wolves attacking Goldilocks' house; at Christmas, a child tells Santa, "Bad people came into our house." But "bad" and "good" gets murky when you're murdering, disfiguring, traumatizing children. In a classic deflection, enter the new "good" guys in, "Come Visit Beautiful Gaza!"

Come Visit Gaza!www.youtube.com

Come Visit Gaza!www.youtube.com

In their reality-free new ad, Israel has transformed itself from genocidal assailant into humanitarian savior. See what Gaza could be! See what evil Hamas has wrought for its people! See how we can help you "Free Gaza From Hamas"! The 30-second ad slickly moves from A1-generated images of laughing children on beaches, opulent spreads of "the best in Middle Eastern food" and "a culture rich in tradition" to ominous scenes of war-scarred landscapes, armed Hamas militants, sinister tunnels. Isn't it terrible, the narrative suggests, what Hamas has done to once-stunning beaches and once-charming boardwalks? None of this is our fault, of course; we just want Gazans to enjoy their 5-star tropical paradise again (albeit maybe from Egypt)! The stunning lie turns the moral, political, economic and military tables to make Palestinian suffering the result of Palestinian crimes. In this fairytale, there is no Occupation, apartheid, blockade, open air prison. No ethnic cleansing, mass detention, ceaseless military raids. No denial of water, food, health care, safety, dignity - all at Zionist hands.

Flattening decades of bitter conflict between Israelis and Palestinians - and centuries of regional war - into a dazzling, deepfake, multi-hued fable, the ad seeks to assuage global censure by rewriting history: "This is what Gaza could have been like without Hamas." In its shiny new narrative, Israel was minding its own lofty business Oct. 7, Gaza was a free, thriving state - no Occupation here - Hamas suddenly decided to attack, ruining all those nice beaches, and now kindhearted Zionists want to fix them for the good of all. The chutzpah astonishes; so does the fact that Israeli leaders seem to think we're stupid and forgetful enough to buy it. Retired diplomat Charles Freeman quotes Lincoln's "you can't fool all of the people all of the time" adage to suggest that Netanyahu, like all authoritarian leaders, has been lulled by his own hubris and isolation into believing his own bullshit. "I think Israel has inhaled its own propaganda," he says. "It has lost touch with the external realities that people outside its circle see" - and fiercely, righteously condemn.

Weirdly, they're now seeing Israel's delusional version on Hulu, which critics have excoriated for circulating what they call gross, vile, disgusting, inflammatory, dehumanizing and factually incorrect Zionist propaganda. "Why do you have ads promoting genocide?" asked one. "Do you often take money from governments that have killed 11,000 children in 4 months?" "Shame on Hulu," wrote Khalil Sayegh, noting that despite years of siege and decades of occupation, Gaza remained "filled with life, beauty, and culture" until Oct. 7. "Israel, building settlements on land that doesn't belong to it and engaging in systemic apartheid (and) ethnic cleansing is a nation well-known for not spreading terror," wrote another. "Thanks for clarifying this." And still it goes on. On reports Israel has approved a ground operation in Rafah, Norway said, "We fear a bloodbath." Video surfaced of Israeli soldiers shooting at horses with tank fire and Palestinian doctors shot by Israeli snipers, one critically, as they were treating patients. The body of a six-year-old girl was found, with her murdered family and medics who tried to reach her, days after she'd called the Red Cross in terror pleading, "Please come get me." No, it's not Hamas who have decimated beautiful Gaza.

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