Israeli PM Tweets Racist Image From English Account, But Not Arabic One

July 21, 2014 | Amy K. Nelson

As the Israel Defense Forces continue its incursion into Gaza, it’s also fighting a PR war through social media. The IDF frequently posts updates on Twitter that include meme-like, propagandist illustrations, according to a left-leaning Jewish website critical of Israel. Mondoweiss.net argues that the illustrative missives are “being used to justify the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians.”

Earlier today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — or someone on his staff posting from the verified account — tweeted one of those images, this one with a caricature of a Muslim family, associating it with terror. Mondoweiss.net calls the image “racist and Islamaphobic.”

The illustration asked ‘What Can Be Found In Shuja’iya?” a neighborhood that the IDF claimed Hamas was using, among other things, as a “terrorists’ fortress.” At least 60 people were killed in the neighborhood by Israeli artillery and tank fire on Sunday.

But the Shuja’iya image was not tweeted from Netanyahu’s Arabic account, which was launched in late 2012.

Netanyahu’s main account, disseminated in English, has 126,000 followers as of this posting. His Arabic account, just north of 7,000. The two accounts often tweet similar messages, but at times the messages can vary.

While Netanyahu did not tweet the cartoonish illustration from his official Arabic account, his spokesperson for the Arab media did. Ofir Gendelman tweets in both Arabic and English from his one official account; today, like his boss, he sent out the tweet in English only.

Antiwar.com has compiled many of the images and argues that the IDF’s logic is simple: if Hamas hides weapons, bombs and other artilleraly in the private homes of civilians they are fair game; legitimate military targets. If they use humans as shields, they are violating international law, justification for Israel’s widespread bombing.

Below are the two Twitter timelines for a side by side comparison: