Hamas co-opts photos of injured Syrians
By LAHAV HARKOV
Jewish Agency social media expert says the truth is "often the first casualty in these situations."
Hamas has posted photographs from other conflicts on social media in recent
days, claiming they are victims of Israeli actions in Gaza.
the Izzadin Kassam tweeted a photograph of a weeping father with his dead,
bloody child in his arms, while doctors look on.
Soon after, Twitter
followers pointed out that the photo was taken at the Dar al-Shifa Hospital in
Aleppo, Syria, and originally came from a slideshow on The Guardian
Izzadin Kassam deleted the tweet, but it was immortalized in
screencaps posted on Facebook and Twitter.
On Saturday, pro-Palestinian
activists co-opted another photograph, this time of an injured infant held by a
A Twitter user named ProSyriana wrote “even this young
injured Palestinian child doesn’t seem surprised or scared, used to Israeli
However, Facebook and Twitter users identified the photo as
one previously posted by Avital Leibovitch, the IDF spokeswoman to the
international media, of a baby wounded by a Hamas rocket attack.
graphic shared dozens of times on Facebook also said that the rescue worker’s
reflective vest said “Kiryat Malachi” on it.
“It’s quite egregious,”
Jewish Agency director of new media Avi Mayer said of the two incidents. “One
can expect little else from an organization that prides itself on lies.
Deception is [Hamas’s] way of life.”
Mayer said such false captions on
photos are not a new phenomenon and did not come as a surprise to social media
experts, explaining that the truth is the best way to combat lies.
pro-Israel social media users did an excellent job,” he stated.
online research tools to dig into history and reveal the truth is very
“Obviously, Hamas has banked on the idea that a lie can reach
halfway around the world before the truth can catch up to it,” Natalie Menaged,
director of education for Hasbara Fellowships, said.
Menaged said image
search tools have made it easy to verify a picture’s authenticity in minutes,
and many individuals have taken it upon themselves to do so and indentify false
“While we have to be vigilant about anti-Israel propaganda
online, it’s even more important for us to spread trustful
In particular, we should focus on spreading personal
stories, photos and pictures of Israelis under fire,” she added.
said that CNN’s Anderson Cooper recently apologized for using footage in which a
person who appeared to be dead was “not quite as dead a few moments later,” the
Jewish Agency representative quipped.
“It’s commendable when news
organizations are able to correct early impressions,” Mayer said, adding that he
hopes others will follow suit.
“Truth is often the first casualty in
those situations,” Mayer explained, “and it’s our responsibility to bring it
back to life. I’m proud to be part of that effort.”