A new hashtag on Twitter gained popularity Thursday that appears to liken the coronavirus to the large-scale immigration of Jews to Mandate Palestine, prior to the onset of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence and the subsequent Palestinian exodus.
#Covid1948, an alleged reference to both the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the events of 1948 in Mandatory Palestine, seems to imply that the in-gathering and return of Jews to the region was akin to the spread of a virus for Palestinians in the area, with many Twitter users sharing a a highly-criticized map revealing a shrinking "Palestine" from 1947 to today. The map has been criticized by academic experts as misleading by ignoring historical context, including that Britain ruled over Mandatory Palestine from 1917 to 1948, debates on the causes of the Palestinian exodus and territorial changes due to multiple wars between Israel and its neighbors.
Other Twitter users also shared pictures of Gaza following IDF Operation Protective Edge in 2014, in addition to memes, cartoons and drawings that show both anti-Zionist and antisemitic themes and caricatures.
The countdown of Israeli elimination is started20....19....18....,...10....! #covid1948 #Palestine pic.twitter.com/QE4vnDfasj— ادواردوست(ساسپند شدگانیم....) (@MRG_Edvar2) May 14, 2020
The new hashtag also come to light in honor of Nakba Day, commemorated annually on May 15 (the date of Israel's declaration of independence in 1948) throughout many countries in the Middle East, and by pro-Palestinian activists throughout the world, to highlight the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians in the midst of the 1948 War.