When anti-Israel lies are spread online, a lot of times they stick around for good. Even after the false claims are wholly debunked, it’s hard to get rid of them once they’ve seeped into the Twitter bloodstream.
But the Israeli Defense Force public relations office has improved its response efforts, and today it was able to push back fairly effectively against three disgraceful smears spread by anti-Israel activists and Palestinian officials about the current IDF operation in Gaza.
The first was a photo posted on Twitter by anti-Israel activist Khulood Badawi, which she claimed showed a young girl who had been injured in Israeli air strikes over the weekend. It was subsequently spread around Twitter by hundreds of other users.
But in fact, as Avi Mayer pointed out, and the IDF blog explained, the photo was actually taken by Reuters in 2009, and had nothing to do with an Israeli air strike. The injured girl in the photo had reportedly fallen off a swing.
Anti-Israel activists also claimed that a second photo, showing a large aerial strike in Gaza, was taken yesterday. As the IDF blog points out, that turned out to be another old photo from 2009.
The third allegation – which has been reported as a fact by major news organizations – is that an Israeli strike killed a 15-year-old Palestinian school boy yesterday. The Israeli government denied that it conducted air raids at that location during the time the teenager was killed, and an AFP correspondent on the scene confirmed no sign of an aerial attack (via Avi Mayer):
The Israeli army on Monday denied it had carried out an air strike on northern Gaza which killed a teenager, with an AFP correspondent confirming there was no sign of an air raid. …
According to an AFP correspondent at the scene, there were no signs of any impact on the ground which could have been caused by a missile, with the most likely cause of his death being some kind of explosive device he was carrying.
The victim lost his legs in the blast and his body was covered with shrapnel wounds, he said.
While the record seems to have been corrected for the most part, some media outlets like MSNBC are continuing to report that the teenager was killed by an Israeli air strike.