“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it,” the writer Upton Sinclair famously said.
And so it goes with people who continue to push the idea that Palestinian terror is funded by crypto donations.
Let’s just say it: They don’t accept the truth because the lie is more convenient.
This is an excerpt from The Node newsletter, a daily roundup of the most pivotal crypto news on CoinDesk and beyond. You can subscribe to get the full newsletter here.
The Wall Street Journal erroneously reported last week that Hamas, and associated terror groups, had received tens of millions of dollars in crypto and that the money was being used to back the current war in the Middle East.
Blockchain analytics firms, including Chainalysis and Elliptic, have since refuted the idea, saying the funding was likely in the range of a few thousand dollars. But those statements haven’t swayed the Wall Street Journal into making a correction and it hasn’t stopped prominent members of Congress, including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown, from continuing to push for a broad crypto crackdown.
Today, Brown, who heads the powerful Senate Banking Committee, called for additional action against financing of terrorism, including cryptocurrency, and it seems many members of Congress are now willing to believe that the mere existence of cryptocurrency is a boon to people who kill and maim. Last week, following the WSJ report, 102 lawmakers wrote to the U.S. Treasury Department, demanding information as to what is being done to prevent the use of crypto to finance terrorism.
Talk about “impact journalism.” The WSJ report has created a groundswell in Congress to crack down on crypto, even though the data behind its claims is clearly wrong.
Elliptic, whose data was misinterpreted in the WSJ report, says the “most prominent public crypto fundraising campaign has been operated by Gaza Now, a pro-Hamas news organization.” And that is only to the tune of $21,000 – money that has apparently been largely frozen by the authorities.
so just to recap
– WSJ journalists (Angus Berwick & Ian Talley) write a flurry of articles citing Elliptic data claiming that PIJ (Hamas affiliate) raised $93m in crypto (and cites BitOK claiming Hamas raised $41m)