Pallywood is the cottage industry of Palestinians and Palestinian supporters who concoct facts in order to start viral anti-Israel narratives, such as the false claim that Israel opened dam gates to flood Gaza, and a myriad of other false claims. Pallywood is an important part of the propaganda war on Israel.

Recently, there were claims and internet fury that Google had “removed Palestine” from the map.

The claim started at least as far back as January 2016, but didn’t pick up steam until recently, when the accusation was spread far and wide.

It appears to have started with the Palestine Journalists Forum, as reported by Middle East Monitor, in a column shared over 25,000 times on Facebook, Google slammed for removing Palestine from its maps:

The Palestinian Journalists’ Forum has denounced Google for deleting the name of Palestine from its maps and replacing it with Israel.

In a statement released yesterday, the forum said Google’s decision to remove Palestine from its maps on 25 July “is part of the Israeli scheme to establish its name as a legitimate state for generations to come and abolish Palestine once and for all.”

“The move is also designed to falsify history, geography as well as the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland, and a failed attempt to tamper with the memory of Palestinians and Arabs as well as the world.”

The forum said the move was “contrary to all international norms and conventions”, stressing that Google should back track on its actions.

AJ+, an affiliate of Al Jazeera which produces slick anti-Israel video focused on western progressives, produced a viral video that had over 6.6 million views on Facebook before it was taken down, for reasons explained below. Here’s the video, which was preserved through the miracle of the internet:

Iranian TV was on the case:

A Change.org Petition collected over 300,000 signatures.

https://www.change.org/p/google-inc-google-put-palestine-on-your-maps

A hastag was created, #PalestineIsHere, which generated tweets like these:

Carlos Latuff, whose cartoons have been included in our posts on when anti-Zionism crosses into anti-Semitism, and who was a prize winner at the Iranian Holocaust cartoon contest, created this image for the anti-Zionist Mondoweiss website:

http://mondoweiss.net/2016/08/blames-removing-israelpalestine/

But the outrage and fury over the removal of “Palestine” by Google was pure Pallywood. The Independent in Britain explains:

Over 150,000 people have criticised Google for removing Palestine from Google Maps. The problem is that it never happened.

Palestine, like other contested territories, has had a difficult time on the world’s most popular mapping tool. But it hasn’t just been removed – it never really existed on there in the first place.

The recent outrage was sparked by a petition and a hashtag – #PalestineIsHere – that said that Google was “making itself complicit in the Israeli government’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine” by removing it from the map.

But it is just another example of how the site attempts to manage areas that are disputed. The site treats those areas in specific ways, showing dotted lines to indicate problematic borders and displaying different maps to different people….

That appears to be what is happening in Palestine, and it has in different ways for a long time. What’s more, it isn’t unique to Palestine and Israel.

A site called Disputed Territories collects all of the various ways that Google shows places where boundaries are fought over.

Google further explained that it never had “Palestine” on the map, and the dotted areas reflecting contested territory in Gaza and the “West Bank” continued to be in place, but the name of the disputed territories was deleted by a technical glitch:

Much of the Middle-Eastern media, along with Twitter and Facebook users, are demanding that Google relabel the region, or even all of Israel, as “Palestine.” However, the Maps app never had that label in the first place, and Google tells Engadget that a glitch is to blame for the change. “There has never been a ‘Palestine’ label on Google Maps, however we discovered a bug that removed the labels for ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza Strip.’ We’re working quickly to bring these labels back to the area,” a spokesperson says.

Google shows a dashed border around West Bank and Gaza, and defines cities in those regions as Palestinian if you click on them. A Wikipedia knowledge box on Maps describes Palestine as a “de jure sovereign state,” a term selected by the United Nations in 2013.

Though Google never used (and therefore never removed) the “Palestine” label, many social media users and mainstream news sites believed that it did. That sparked a #PalestineIsHere hashtag, with many folks declaring that they’d deleted Google’s services.

AJ+ added a “correction” to it’s viral video entry in Facebook, though not to the video itself:

Correction: A March 2016 petition asked Google to “Put Palestine On Your Maps.” According to a Google spokesperson: “There has never been a ‘Palestine’ label on Google Maps, however we discovered a bug that removed the labels for ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza Strip.’ We’re working quickly to bring these labels back to the area.”

AJ-Plus-Palestine-disappeared-from-Google-Maps-Facebook-Post

AJ+ then took down that original video, and replace it with a video explaining the mistake but insisting that Palestine should be on the map.

In one sense, this is a teaching moment. “Palestine” never was a country, a fact that anti-Israel activists refuse to accept. There was the British Mandate for Palestine, but that was designated as a homeland for the Jews in their historical homeland.

There is, however, a method to this Pallywood madness. Now the demand is that even if “Palestine” never was on Google’s map, is should be. See that slight of hand?

Falsely claim that Google removed the “Palestine” designation, then use the publicity about the false accusation to try to get Google to change its policy on disputed territories but only as to “Palestine.” That’s why Pallywood is comedy, but not funny.