A conspiracy theorist who claimed that "Israel murdered their own people on Oct. 7" at the Nov. 27 meeting of the Oakland City Council, as seen in a video of extreme comments from the meeting that went viral. (Screenshot/X-@SFJCRC)
A conspiracy theorist who claimed that "Israel murdered their own people on Oct. 7" at the Nov. 27 meeting of the Oakland City Council, as seen in a video of extreme comments from the meeting that went viral. (Screenshot/X-@SFJCRC)

Video of ‘disturbing comments’ at Oakland City Council meeting on Gaza goes viral

“The notion that this was a massacre of Jews is a fabricated narrative. Many of those killed on Oct. 7, including children, were killed by the IDF.”

This false statement from a UC Berkeley lecturer and activist with the anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace, made at an Oakland City Council meeting on Monday, is just one of many included in a minute-long video compilation that is exposing some of the most egregious comments made during the six-hour meeting, where the majority spoke in support of a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.

The video, which has gone viral, was put together by the Jewish Community Relations Council Bay Area. JCRC wanted to let people know “how disturbing some of the comments were,” spokesman Jeremy Russell told J. “We all collectively agreed these comments needed to be brought to the light,” he said.

The video has several hundred thousand views on JCRC’s Twitter/X account, but its profile was boosted when it was reposted by Twitter grandee and journalist Yashar Ali, garnering over 28 million views as of Thursday morning.

It also got nearly 500,000 views on the account of state Sen. Scott Wiener, and it was reposted by many others, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, who commented, “Hamas is a terrorist organization. They must be called out for what they are: evil.”

JCRC also posted a second video with some of the same content and some new content.

Videos have been a central part of the social media discourse since the Oct. 7 war was declared, as horrifying images from the Hamas attack on Israel and subsequent bombing of Gaza flooded Twitter and TikTok.

A recent op-ed in J. by Stanford education professor Sam Wineburg and University of Washington research scientist Michael Caulfield acknowledged that it’s hard for viewers to move past an emotional reaction to video. They offer advice on handling the visual information, and encourage viewers to use trusted sources and verify when possible to avoid, for instance, brutal videos that turn out to be from earlier conflicts.

After the meeting, councilmember Dan Kalb told J. that speakers who tried to legitimize the terrorist attack “should be embarrassed” and “that is just nuts.”

“What we voted on was not the rhetoric at the microphone,” said Kalb, who voted for the resolution but first proposed an amendment to include mention of Hamas and terrorism. “A substantial number of people were trying to justify or rationalize the Hamas mass murder on Oct. 7. To me, that is so fringe and unconscionable and ridiculous.”

The council passed the resolution by unanimous vote at the end of the comment period. The entire six-hour meeting can be viewed in full online.