CifWatch highlights how the tragic accidental death of a little girl from Gaza has been used to whip up fury against Israel. Raja Abu Shaban died in an accident in 2006 which had nothing to do with Israeli action, and photographs were first circulated at the time of her death, claiming that she had been killed during an Israeli air strike. Now it is being claimed that she is a victim of the current wave of strikes against Gaza, and her picture has been circulated by hundreds of tweeters. Of course almost all of these will have been certain the photograph was what it seemed to be, and, when confronted by evidence to the contrary, at least one tweeter issued a retraction, as you can read here. The first tweeter, apparently, was Khulood Badawi who works at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs as an Information and Media Coordinator, and tweets using the tag ‘long live Palestine’.
One can understand that people will be angered and upset by the deaths of children on both sides of this or any other conflict. But it is sick to exploit a child’s death in this cynical way. It’s possible, of course, that Badawi herself thought the image was real – but it would be interesting to see what the response would be to a UN official who used the tag ‘long live Israel’ and tweeted something comparably unpleasant and misleading about attacks on Israel. I should note, although it does not seem anything like so egregious as the misuse of the photograph of a dead child, that Diana Alzeer claims here that old footage is being recycled by an IDF spokeswoman.
Update By contrast with the unquestioning anti-Israel reflex of the eager retweeters, here, via Normblog and at Sackcloth and Ashes’ suggestion, is a link to a piece in which Nicky Larkin learned to appreciate the grey shades of I/P.
Update Here’s an interesting piece on this by Arieh Kovler.