The battle for Gaza is as much a propaganda war as it is a military campaign. I interviewed tech millionaire, Paul Biggar, who told me that it is, “a coordinated military operation, a true propaganda and misinformation war and a war that’s being waged through tech.”

Dublin-born Biggar was recently ousted from the board of the Silicon Valley company he set up, CircleCI, following a post in which he called on tech companies to boycott Israel. CIrcleCI CEO, Jim Rose quickly repudiated Biggar’s stance and reiterated the company’s support for their Israeli customers.

In response, Biggar set up Tech for Palestine (TFP), which he describes as “attempting to create a framework that we hope will spread, grow, and build new ideas in the future that can make a meaningful difference.”

One of the initiatives is called ‘October 7th Factcheck’ a fantastic resource for those wanting to know whether stories emerging from Gaza are reliable. For example, the story that Hamas beheaded babies was published in almost every British newspaper, originally with no suggestion that they were untrue. The Fact-check website gives not only a rebuttal of the story, but a forensic analysis. 

Biggar says: “They have found Israeli, American and British politicians lying, and US media companies that are either plagiarising each other or copying and pasting from the Israeli hasbara (Israeli term meaning public diplomacy) fact sheets and misrepresenting these as facts.”

Although the work being done by TFP is to be welcomed, there is a clear sense that in trying to appeal to the widest section of tech workers certain terms are being avoided. Biggar explains: “We don’t use the word Zionism specifically because to the middle it sounds antisemitic or one-sided.”

Similarly, although there are clearly tech workers who are anti-capitalist, Biggar says they avoid the term because, “we want to be a place where people who hate capitalism and love capitalism can work together.” Although he prefaces that remark by noting, “we are not in the business of ending capitalism, but not because we don’t believe that that would be a good thing.” Rather it is because, “I don’t have a clear path from where we are to something better.”

Tech For Palestine has a view that those tech workers who support the struggle for Palestinian rights should make themselves available via their hub. Biggar describes it as, “taking all of the mostly tech, but not entirely tech, volunteers who have come to our Discord and connecting them with projects that need tech people.”

Biggar is aware that tech “can be very exclusionary and elitist. I would say that we are trying not to be that.”

The full interview can be read here.

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