(photo credit: Courtesy)
A Tom and Jerry cartoon clip that has been seen by almost four million viewers on YouTube features a series of brief, offensive anti-Israeli messages.
It was ostensibly uploaded by Israeli professional belly dancer Asi Haskal – user Asi123456789 – but he told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that he knew nothing about it and would ask YouTube to remove it.
He said his computer had recently been hacked by someone who added offensive messages to the dance clips he had posted. Haskal’s YouTube channel features 63 clips of him dancing, and the one Tom and Jerry snippet.
The cartoon episode, originally called “Nit-Witty Kitty” but posted under the title “Make Peace with A Kiss,” features three speech bubbles containing offensive language that appear for a few seconds each, about halfway into the clip.
“You f**king israelians stop killing kids,” “Let them watch cartoons instead of killing them,” and “Palestinian kids can’t watch cartoons; they just watch falling bombs” are superimposed onto the 1951 original.
“They hacked my Web site and added ‘f**k Israel’ and ‘bring back Palestine’ to it,” Haskal said.
He recounted that “once, I received an e-mail threat when I went to
perform in Belgium. I was given protection 24 hours a day, but I’m not
scared of anyone. The man and woman in Belgium who threatened me, and
who were originally from Lebanon, were caught in a police raid.”
Haskal said he wanted to send a message to those who had hijacked his
YouTube account: “First of all, I’m an artist. Don’t mix it with
politics,” he said. “And I hear many Arabs say good things about Israel
when I travel in the Arab world, too. Don’t be mistaken. I’m from an
Iraqi family, I speak Arabic fluently, and I don’t care about the
threats. If I did, I’d be afraid to board a plane.”
In recent years, there have been a number of coordinated cyberspace
attacks against Israel, with a new surge after the May 31 Mavi Marmara
incident – usually by
hackers from countries like Iran and Turkey.