In the past few days, a fabricated photo depicting an Israeli soldier stomping on a Palestinian girl has spread across the Internet, receiving much attention, especially on Facebook. The photo first appeared in early 2011, but received little attention back then from the official media in Israel. Tazpit News Agency became aware of the fabrication when it was first published, and exposed the lie in a news article. The article confirmed that a Facebook group called “Freedom Will come to Palestine” published the picture, showing the lower body of a soldier holding a weapon, aiming it at the face of a Palestinian girl who is lying under his boot. The caption under the photo read: “Share this photo and let the world see what is really happening in Palestine”
This published photo provoked an extensive discussion on the net condemning Israel. One wrote: “Disgusting! Hope the Israelis rot in hell!!”. Another reply was: “How can the whole world watch this Zionist state do these things…”. These statements represent the typical and myriad responses expressed there.
In June 2011, the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy told Tazpit: “The photo has been checked by the IDF, and after investigation it appears that it is not authentic and that the soldier is not Israeli. Unfortunately, the use of such photos is a known method, aimed to harm Israel’s image on the Internet, and is part of a social networks war of information.”
It was initially thought that photo was taken in Syria, but further research reveals that it was probably taken in Bahrain. The scene was staged at a street theater, in December 2009, during the celebration of the holiday of the 9th of Muharram. The full photo exposes an actor, as spectators look on in the background.
This is, of course, not the first time such a libel has been published. Facebook, and the Internet in general, are commonly used as platforms for spreading anti-Israel sentiment and incitement against the IDF and the State of Israel; hundreds of pro-Palestinian groups are active on the net and don’t hesitate to publish false information and bias. A quick search on Facebook will confirm this.
This photo is one of many falsehoods spread on the net as part of an ongoing publicity war against Israel. Exposing these lies is imperative in fighting this war, effectively rendering the attackers’ claims null and void, and vindicating the State of Israel in the process.