London-born Catholic in Poland an unorthodox purveyor of pro-Israel material online

Social-media influencer Stefan Tompson (center; at right is the singer Matisyahu) is honored by Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs Amichai Chikli in Jerusalem on March 31, 2024. Credit: Courtesy.

by Etgar Lefkovits

(JNS) — Talk about an unorthodox voice for Israel at a time of global opprobrium.

He’s a 31-year-old London-born Roman Catholic of Polish and South African descent, who grew up in a conservative family, and who set up a PR firm in Warsaw that worked with Poland’s previous nationalistic government that clashed with Israel over the Holocaust.

He then created a “side project” to offer an alternative view of the news on social media for Central and Eastern European countries as opposed to the monopoly of the mainstream media.

Today, Stefan Tompson’s social-media platform, Visegrád 24, is one of the most popular X (Twitter) accounts on the Middle East with nearly 1 million followers. The account has grown so rapidly that it has hit 1 billion impressions a month, more than mainstream broadcasters, such as BBC World News on X.

At a time when world opinion is highly critical of Israel in the wake of the six-month-old war against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza strip, his platform is unabashedly pro-Israel. This has won him accolades from the State of Israel, where he was feted this week in Jerusalem.

“I didn’t expect that we would be such a lone voice in the non-Jewish world covering the conflict, and that so many European and American media outlets would either outright parrot Hamas propaganda or at least give them some form of legitimacy. So, once I started, I felt an obligation to stay on,” Tompson said on April 2 in an interview with JNS in Tel Aviv.

“It is absolutely shocking how the mainstream media has shaped the conflict and has given an unashamedly biased level of legitimacy to Hamas,” he said.

‘No one cares about facts’

Tompson’s first major clash with mainstream media in Europe was over their portrayal of the wave of migrants from Africa and the Middle East being stranded on the Polish and Lithuanian borders via Belarus as refugees.

He soon found himself immersed in the turmoil of Middle East politics after the Oct. 7 Hamas onslaught in southern Israel. He felt compelled to disseminate the story after watching gruesome videos of the attacks in which 1,200 people were slaughtered, thousands more wounded, and more than 250 men, women and children abducted by Hamas terrorists into Gaza. Some 134 are still languishing there, though not all are determined to still be alive.

A war he thought would last a week is now nearing a six-month milestone. “To the world, October 7 is already ancient history,” he said.  “The repeated use of words such as ‘genocide’ and ‘famine’ is keeping the lie simple.”

In the interview, Tompson said that it was not so much that Israeli PR is ineffective, but that the enemies’ PR — aided by state-run actors like the Qatari-based Al Jazeera network has been better.

“Israel brings facts to the table, but no one cares about facts,” he said.

In the last half year, he has worked with his small team of four full-time workers, as well as employees from his PR firm and a coterie of volunteers and friends to give Israel a face in his company’s videos. A whopping 60 percent of their content is now focused on the Israel-Hamas war.

“The assumption is that Israel is a Western country, but people in the West don’t get the reality of living in the Middle East surrounded by nations that seek your destruction,” he said.

“You have a young generation in the Western world that is being brainwashed and fundamentally misinformed in a very deliberate way by enemies of the West who would like to see the West fail,” he added.

Tompson said that it was critical to provide alternate content to viewers in what he views as a war against an Iranian, Chinese, Russian and Qatari axis of evil.

“You have already been attacked but we are next,” he said. “Global jihad is a real thing. This is not a conflict about land, but a conflict of ideology, culture, civilization and religion.”