Pro-Palestinian hackers engaged in a delicious round of one-upsmanship when they hacked the Israel Defense Magazine’s subscriber e mail list. They used it to send mass cell phone messages to Israelis throughout the country on the 10th anniversary of the IDF assassination of Hamas’s paraplegic founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassine. Ynet published some of the messages, which were written in English and garbled, but clearly understood Hebrew:
The Sheikh Will Pursue the Zionist Rapists into Hell
Ten years ago, you murdered our Sheikh with three missiles as he left his mosque after prayers. This is our remembrance for you to show we will never forget him. We swear one more time vengeance. This time to cut off the heads of your commanders. You murdered our Sheikh with your missiles and now our missiles can reach everywhere in your country. You must know that the next war will be the end of your state.
–Disciples of al-Yassine
Another message in Hebrew said:
Israel was founded on injustice and Occupation and that very essence of injustice and Occupation is destined for destruction.
I couldn’t help but laugh at the magazine’s editor who said with utmost gravity that the hack had been reported to the authorities:
“We want to make it clear that the issue is being investigated by the authorities…”
When IBM Israel employee, Semion Kras vandalized my website, I decided it wasn’t even worth reporting it to the authorities since they might’ve been the ones helping him (if he needed any help). The notion that Palestinian hackers get investigated while Israeli hackers doing practically the same thing probably get medals pinned on them, is revolting. Since we’re giving credit where it’s due, we should also acknowledge all the websites that refused to publish an account of the hacking including Alex Kane of Alternet (who recently called me a racist), Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada, and Jeffrey St. Clair of Counterpunch, who accepted the article for publication and then, on advice of counsel, refused to publish it. Profiles in lefty courage all. Not to mention exemplars of solidarity.
The alarm expressed by some of the Israelis who received the text messages was suitably over the top:
“I opened my phone and I saw the message with spelling mistakes. At first I thought someone was trying to prank me, that this was a joke. I tried to call that number back but it made weird noises,” a woman who lives in a kibbutz near the Gaza border said. “…This is really scary, crazy.”
“How did they even get my phone number? How is it possible that a terror organization, that keeps firing Qassam rockets at us for years as it is, can now obtain such information?” she continued. “I am really at unease about this, and someone better investigate this. There was a serious error here, someone messed up big time. I’m now considering changing my phone number, because I don’t know what else they might do. Tomorrow they can hack my phone line.”
She’s spooked that Hamas may’ve hacked her cell phone when Unit 8200 probably knows everything she’s ever said or written on her cell phone and computer. Not to mention that the IDF assassinated Hamas’ wheelchair-bound leader ten years ago and this woman expects there will be no price paid–ever. Israel has, aside from the NSA, one of the most advanced cyber-warfare capabilities in the world. Do its citizens expect to get a pass? That they have no culpability for what their intelligence apparatus does? What goes around, as far as Israelis are concerned, doesn’t come around.