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How Israel Used Fake Social Media Accounts to Target Black Democrats

A new report exposes how Israel secretly targeted U.S. lawmakers—and Black Democrats in particular—to gain support for its deadly war on Gaza.

splitscreen of Representatives Hakeem Jeffries and Ritchie Torres
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Israel paid for a foreign influence campaign to disseminate pro-Israel propaganda and disinformation to U.S. lawmakers, The New York Times confirmed on Wednesday. The campaign had been flagged and reported on for months across numerous social media platforms, but it was unclear the extent to which the Israeli government was involved in the operation. Turns out, the Israeli government directly commissioned the whole thing—and it was targeting Black Democratic lawmakers in particular.

The influence operation—which seeks to sow criticism of pro-Palestine and campus protests and to bolster support for Israel’s attacks on Gaza—began in October, according to the Times. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, identified the operation last week. Meta described the campaign as “likely AI-generated” with ChatGPT posts from accounts posing as Jewish students, Black Americans, and “concerned citizens,” according to Reuters, and a focus on audiences in the United States and Canada.

The Times reports the campaign is still active on X (formerly Twitter), where fake accounts posing as real Americans spammed pro-Israel propaganda in reply to predominantly Black U.S. lawmakers. The campaign targeted Ritchie Torres, a Democratic representative from New York well known for routinely espousing pro-Israel propaganda, as well as House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Both, coincidentally, are two of AIPAC’s largest donation recipients: Both Torres’s and Jeffries’s largest donor is AIPAC, while Jeffries is AIPAC’s top recipient.

Israeli-based newspaper Haaretz also reported numerous examples of the fake accounts and included one reply from a ChatGPT-fueled fake account posing as a Black woman in response to U.S. Representative Sydney Kamlager-Dove, who represents California.

“Israel’s role in this is reckless and probably ineffective,” Achiya Schatz, the executive director of Israeli disinformation watchdog FakeReporter, told The New York Times. That Israel “ran an operation that interferes in U.S. politics is extremely irresponsible.”

According to sources involved in the campaign who provided documented evidence to The New York Times, the campaign was commissioned by Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs—a government body largely focused on pushing pro-Israel and pro-Netanyahu talking points to U.S. Jews and advocating for a highly controversial proposed definition of antisemitism. The ministry paid $2 million for the campaign, tapping Israeli political marketing firm Stoic.

The exposure of the government agency behind the influence campaign is almost entirely too convenient: In January, a Tel Aviv University report called to shutter the ministry and fold its initiatives into the offices of the prime minister and the foreign ministry, consolidating power around far-right figureheads Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Affairs Minister Israel Katz.

Judge Cannon Hands Trump Another Massive Win—This Time, on Jack Smith

Judge Aileen Cannon just won’t stop giving Donald Trump huge wins in his classified documents case.

Donald Trump smiles and waves
James Devaney/GC Images

Judge Aileen Cannon has agreed to Donald Trump’s request for a hearing on whether Jack Smith’s appointment as special counsel in his classified documents case is legal, and she’s allowing parties not involved in the case to take part.

On Tuesday, Cannon granted motions from Trump’s legal team for parties not involved in his classified documents case to participate in an expanded hearing on the legality of Smith’s appointment.

Tweet screenshot Anna Bower

These parties include conservative lawyers Josh Blackman from the Landmark Legal Foundation and Gene Schaerr from Citizens United. The other side will include Matthew Seligman, a legal scholar who thinks that Trump’s motion is “meritless.” None of these parties are otherwise involved in the case. Oral arguments on Smith’s appointment will begin June 21.

It’s an odd long-shot strategy in the case that probably would have been shot down by any other judge, but the Trump-appointed Cannon has made several questionable decisions in the classified documents case that favor the convicted felon and Republican presidential nominee.

Cannon has also agreed to hear Trump’s arguments that the FBI plotted to assassinate him—a completely made-up conspiracy theory. Last week, she blocked a gag order request from special counsel Jack Smith because it was “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy.” Last month, she effectively delayed Trump’s case indefinitely to resolve pretrial motions. Even one of Trump’s former lawyers, Ty Cobb, thinks that Cannon is doing a terrible job with the case.

The frequently delayed case has not reflected well on Cannon, a former federal prosecutor and University of Michigan law school graduate. One hearing with a Trump co-defendant devolved into a shouting match, and Cannon seems to misunderstand basic legal proceedings and principles in court, forcing legal counsel to explain them to her as the trial proceeds. Whether her actions are due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to help Trump, he has made no secret of his appreciation.

Trump Jr. Hits Disgusting New Low as He Sucks Up to His Convicted Dad

The younger Trump mocked Democrats calling out Republican support for his dad.

Donald Trump Jr. looks up
Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Conservatives, those supposed defenders of law and order, are struggling to spin Donald Trump’s felony conviction on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election. As a result, they’re resorting to a well-practiced reflex: gutter racism.

Donald Trump Jr., the 46-year-old self-proclaimed “Meme Wars General” and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, on Monday posted an image of George Floyd on his Instagram.

“Democrats: ‘I don’t know how you can support a felon,’” he wrote on the photo.

“The mental gymnastics here are staggering!!!” Trump Jr. captioned the image. He also posted a version of the photo to his Instagram story.

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Trump Jr.’s post, which at the time of writing has been liked more than 240,000 times, seems indicative of a broader conservative talking point in the making. When asked earlier this week about Trump being a convicted felon, Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene responded, “Yeah, so was George Floyd, and everybody—and you all too, the media—worship George Floyd. Democrats worship George Floyd. There were riots burning down the f—ng country over George Floyd.”

It’s unclear whether the disingenuous attempt to compare Floyd, an unarmed Black man murdered by police officers in 2020, to Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is a coordinated strategic effort by conservatives, but it tracks with the right-wing embrace of racist conspiracy about Floyd’s death and celebration of vigilante violence during the 2020 protests. Conservative abuse of Floyd’s image is by now a yearslong phenomenon. But that doesn’t make Trump Jr.’s post any less shameless or disgusting.

Trump Doubles Down on Fascism with New Campaign Partner

Meet Charlie Kirk, the campaign’s new fascist twerp.

Charlie Kirk speaks into a microphone
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The GOP’s junior ranks are increasingly being staffed by open racists, in what some commentators have called the “groyperfication” of the party. And Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is no exception.

Last week, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk announced that his organization would be officially partnering with the campaign to get out the vote.

“Breaking right here on this show: Turning Point Action’s ballot chase initiative, and remind you, we are working directly in coordination with the Trump campaign, that’s the new FEC rule and regulation. Charlie, I don’t want to get over my skis there,” Kirk’s podcast co-host, Andrew Kolvet, announced.

“We’re allowed to work in harmony on doors and canvassing, that’s what the law says,” Kirk said.

Turning Point USA has been a force in right-wing media and campus conservative organizing, and has held events at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound. But the organization has previously been mostly limited to maintaining a watch list of supposedly subversive leftist professors, encouraging followers to violate Covid-19 masking regulations, and enriching its brass, and has never officially partnered with a campaign.

Kirk, the group’s founder and apparently the Trump campaign’s newest canvasser, is a model of the new student conservativism: He has impugned the character of Martin Luther King Jr. and questioned whether MLK Day should be a federal holiday, implied that affirmative action is allowing unqualified Black pilots to fly planes, and expressed “impatience for American Jews that have put up with the anti-white sentiments the last decade.”

Turning Point USA’s national field director was fired after texting another TPUSA employee, “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all.… I hate blacks. End of story.” The organization also has been accused of organizing bus trips to the Capitol on January 6.

The Trump campaign has already proven it will go to any lengths and partner with any group, no matter how unsavory, to gain an edge against Joe Biden. That it’s partnering with bigots such as Kirk, then, isn’t surprising, but it provides a harrowing preview of the future of Republican Party organizing. The fever doesn’t appear to be breaking anytime soon.

Trump Stooge’s Attempt to Troll Democrats Hilariously Backfires

Byron Donalds told voters to defeat people who “gaslight” you about their lies.

Byron Donalds speaks into microphones
Alex Kent/AFP/Getty Images

Representative Byron Donalds attempted to skewer Democrats, but his tirade dipped into the uncanny valley and ended up looking a lot more like his own party.

During an interview Tuesday on Newsmax, Donalds lamented Dr. Anthony Fauci’s testimony earlier this week in front of a GOP-led subcommittee on the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only did the hearing quickly go off the rails, but Fauci made it through without validating any of the bonkers Republican claims about him. Donalds seemed incensed, but his argument sounded all too familiar.

“We have people in this government, Tony Fauci is a part of that ilk, that truly believe that they are omnipotent, that they are never wrong,” the Florida Republican said. “And when you catch them in their lies, then they try to gaslight you, gaslight the American people, and say, ‘No, no, no, we agreed with you the entire time,’ or, ‘There simply is no evidence to support your conspiratorial claims.’

“These people are gone, they have lost it, so there is no reasoning with them, they simply have to be defeated,” said Donalds, who is reportedly on Donald Trump’s short list of vice presidential contenders.

The inconsistent but dogmatic attitude to which Donalds alluded sounds all too akin to his Republican counterparts, who break their backs daily to stay in Trump’s good graces as he flits between different stances on a number of issues, including immigration, abortion, and of course, criminal justice.

Increasingly, it appears that Republicans are disappointed with the outcome of Fauci’s hearing, as they were pitifully unable to pin their grievances on one man. In front of Congress, Fauci has called the GOP conspiracies about his leadership of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases “seriously distorted.”

More about Republican attacks on Fauci:

Trump and Biden Both Suffer Huge Hits With Protest Vote in New Mexico

Tuesday’s primary election in New Mexico delivered a serious warning sign to both Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden splitscreen (both are speaking in front of mics)
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Protest votes have continued to dog Biden and Trump, both presumptive nominees, eating a chunk of their leads in New Mexico in Tuesday night’s primary results.

Trump saw yuge losses in the New Mexico Republican primary, with nearly 12 percent of votes going to anyone but him. Nikki Haley’s zombie campaign pulled 8.6 percent of Republican primary voters, and uncommitted votes took another 3.3 percent. In total, he pulled just 78,716 votes in the state—84.5 percent.

In 2016, Trump faced off in a much more crowded field of dead campaigns in New Mexico, collecting just over 70 percent of the vote against five other zombie candidates. Trump lost the battleground state in that year’s general election to Hillary Clinton and again to Joe Biden in 2020. Tuesday night’s showing suggests Trump may lose the state’s general election again, as Biden picked up over 31,000 votes more than Trump.

Turnout was sluggish overall in the land of enchantment for the newly convicted Trump: New Mexico’s Republican primary on Tuesday turned out nearly half as many votes for Trump as he received in the 2020 primary—78,716 down from 144,067.

Meanwhile, an ongoing primary protest against Biden’s support of Israel and handling of Israel’s unconstrained devastation of Gaza continues to sink its teeth into Biden’s primary numbers.

In New Mexico, the uncommitted campaign pulled over 12,000 votes—taking nearly a tenth of the vote from Biden. The protest vote was aided by another 6.7 percent of voters choosing Marianne Williamson, for a whopping 16.4 percent of votes yanked from Biden.

In New Jersey, uncommitted protest votes pulled an astonishing 41,415 votes from Biden, or 8.7 percent. The gimmick campaign of an anti-abortion extremist also took votes away from Biden, bringing in just 2.8 percent but pulling Biden’s overall vote tally down to 88.5 percent. In 2020, protest votes for Bernie Sanders’s dead campaign stole 14.6 percent from Biden who, in total, collected 814,188 votes. This year’s New Jersey primary, Biden collected half that—just 419,020 votes in total.

Trump Openly Threatens to Imprison Political Enemies

Donald Trump is promising to take revenge on his political enemies if he returns to the White House. Take his word for it.

Donald Trump is yelling inside Trump tower. A crowd (dark, out of focus) is behind him as well as a U.S. flag draped from the ceiling in front of the window.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Upset over being convicted on 34 felony counts in his hush-money trial, Donald Trump is floating the idea of imprisoning his enemies if he’s elected to the White House.

The Republican presidential nominee brought up the idea during a rambling phone interview with Newsmax on Tuesday. Host Greg Kelly asked whether the trial and guilty verdict were a net positive for Trump, who didn’t even answer the question.

“Does that mean the next president does it to them? That’s really the question,” Trump replied. He went off on a tangent, discussing the “Lock her up” chants against Hillary Clinton in 2016 and how terrible it would be to put her in jail.

“I thought it would be a terrible precedent for our country,” Trump said about locking up Clinton. “And now, whoever it may be, you’re gonna have to view it very much differently. This is a bad, bad road that they’re leading us down to as a country.

“And it’s very possible that it’s gonna have to happen to them,” Trump added.

The former president’s allies have regularly mentioned jailing their opponents. Steve Bannon, Trump’s former adviser, recently told Axios that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who led the prosecution of Trump’s hush-money trial, “should be—and will be—jailed.”

Bannon added that he wants “investigations to include [Democrats’] media allies.”

If elected president, Trump will have the full force of the Justice Department to use at his disposal, and could put a more dangerous attorney general than the likes of Jeff Sessions or Bill Barr in power, who acts on Trump’s election conspiracies and prosecutes his enemies. Trump could also have the federal cases against him dismissed, whether they’re about his mishandling of classified documents or his role in the January 6 insurrection. With these cases currently stalled, the only way to keep Trump from carrying out his plans may be to defeat him in November.

Biden Brags Immigration Policy Isn’t as Bad as Trump’s—It’s Worse

The new ban could make it harder for asylum-seekers.

Joe Biden speaks at a podium
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

President Joe Biden just made it a little easier to deport migrants from custody—and he’s proud of it.

The president’s new immigration policy changed critical language that was introduced during the Trump administration, swapping the “reasonable possibility” standard for deportation to an even higher “reasonable probability” standard, according to a Department of Homeland Security asylum fact sheet released Tuesday.

It also changed other processing standards in Title 8 immigration procedures, including making those who illegally crossed the border no longer eligible for asylum (except in the event of “exceptionally compelling” circumstances) and further tightening the eligibility guidelines for deportees who fear returning to their home countries.

The reasoning behind the timing of the change is a little transparent. Although poll predictions so far away from Election Day have proven to be historically unreliable, Biden has trailed behind Trump, despite the presumptive GOP presidential nominee being a convicted felon. On top of that, voters have resoundingly picked immigration as the number one issue fueling their decisions this election cycle.

“I would have preferred to address our issues at the border through bipartisan legislation because that’s the only way to actually fix our broken system,” Biden wrote in a statement. “But Republicans in Congress have left me no choice. So today, I’m announcing actions that bar migrants who cross our southern border unlawfully from receiving asylum—unless they seek it after entering through established lawful processes.”

As shocking as Biden’s change is, Donald Trump could make things even worse if he is elected in November. Trump has promised to bring back President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback,” which used military tactics to conduct massive roundups of some 1.3 million immigrants, legal or otherwise, across the country, packing them into trucks and shipping them to locations without food or water, resulting in tragic and unnecessary deaths.

Trump is also expected to bring his former adviser Stephen Miller back to the West Wing as the leading expert on “America First” immigration policy. Miller has been vocal about a forthcoming reality of “large-scale raids” and “throughput facilities.”

Behind the scenes, Trump has played a big part in why immigration has become a focal point in the first place. He strong-armed Republican lawmakers into refusing bipartisan border deals to avoid giving Biden a win on the issue. He also stoked the flames of a standoff between Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the federal government over lengths of concertina wire erected by the state that have prevented federal border agents from doing their jobs along the Rio Grande section of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Furious Marjorie Taylor Greene Admits Republicans Are Totally Useless

The far-right representative is finally admitting the truth about Republicans once and for all.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks while pointing a finger angrily. Two reporters are in the background.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene seems to have grasped the obvious: The Republican Party is going nowhere.

The far-right congresswoman complained to Steve Bannon on Real America’s Voice that her colleagues wouldn’t support her quest to impeach Joe Biden.

“Republicans continually have their head up their ass and can’t figure out how to actually use the power that the people gave us,” Greene ranted.

“People are sick and tired of a feckless and useless Republican Party that never does a damn thing to stop any of this,” the far-right congresswoman added, referring to mass immigration from the southern U.S. border.

While Democrats would agree with the wording of her criticisms of the GOP, if not the substance, Greene still doesn’t realize that she is as much responsible for her party’s dysfunction as anyone. She tried and failed to oust Speaker Mike Johnson over Ukraine aid funding, earning her several enemies among her fellow Republicans in Congress. She hijacked a hearing about the Justice Department to insult Representative Jasmine Crockett, only to be turned into a trademarked meme for her efforts.

Instead of proposing any meaningful legislation herself, she is now working to defund the state of New York after Donald Trump’s felony conviction in his hush-money trial.

Green also tried to grandstand by attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci in a subcommittee hearing on Monday, only to be reprimanded by the Republican chair and thoroughly discredited by Fauci. Even her criticisms of Biden’s immigration policy may be unfounded: His latest executive order restricting asylum has been criticized as a Trump-like policy by Democrats.

Maybe one day it will dawn on Greene that she contributes to the many problems with the Republican Party. Or she’ll face electoral consequences from her fed-up constituents. But, in a district as red as the Georgia 14th, that’s not likely this November.

Colorado Republicans Send Horrific Message to Followers on Pride Month

There’s no other way to say this: The Colorado Republican Party is led by a bunch of bigots.

Karl Gehring/The Denver Post/Getty Images
Colorado Republican Party Chair Dave Williams

The Colorado Republican Party rang in the start of Pride month in ultra-fascist fashion, invoking a hateful slur used by the extremist Westboro Baptist Church and calling for people to burn all Pride flags.

In addition to the post on X (formerly Twitter), the Colorado Republican Party sent an email blast to its followers, heinously—and falsely—accusing queer people of being “godless groomers,” a bigoted conspiracy popularized by far-right extremists in recent years.

The email blast incomprehensibly claims “progressivism is a demonic lie” and links to a YouTube video from disgraced megachurch leader Mark Driscoll, who espouses homophobic propaganda in line with Christian extremists and has been repeatedly accused of “cultlike” abusive behavior toward other church leaders.

As Colorado’s 9News notes, the email also included a direct reference to 9News reporter Kyle Clark, who first reported news of the email and is frequently harassed by far-right extremists for his tireless work disassembling and rebutting far-right propaganda.

As Clark notes, “The [Colorado Republican Party]’s call to burn all Pride Flags reflects that the state party’s allegiance is to the values of state chairman Dave Williams, even more so than those of Donald Trump.” Williams, like Colorado Republican Representative Lauren Boebert, is a far-right politician who’s taken to inflammatory rhetoric to make a name for himself.

“In 2020, Williams proposed a same-sex marriage ban that the [Colorado Republican Party] and [Republican] legislative leaders wouldn’t back,” Clark added, citing the failed legislation.

In November 2022, an anti-LGBTQ extremist opened fire on patrons of a queer nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and wounding 25 others. The Club Q shooting marked a peak in anti-LGBTQ hate that had begun ramping up in mid-2022 after Proud Boys attacked a children’s literacy event in California, inspired by the bigoted conspiracy that drag performers are “groomers.”

Extremist harassment and violence toward LGBTQ people exploded in 2023, fueled by far-right propagandists launching inflammatory accusations toward queer educators, Drag Story Hour events, internet darling Dylan Mulvaney, and corporations like Target for carrying Pride merchandise. The far-right outrage manifested in widespread legislative attacks on gender-affirming health care and violently harmful disinformation.