Social Media Campaigns Glorify Kidnapping of the Three Israeli Teens » ADL Blogs
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June 18, 2014 9

Social Media Campaigns Glorify Kidnapping of the Three Israeli Teens

Along­side the out­pour­ing of con­cern on social media for the safe return of the three Israeli teens kid­napped last Thurs­day, includ­ing a twit­ter cam­paign with the slo­gan #bring­back­our­boys, exists a cyn­i­cal, hate­ful and dan­ger­ous cam­paign prais­ing the kid­nap­ping.

The pro-kidnapping mes­sages, being pro­moted by some Pales­tini­ans and oth­ers across the Arab and Mus­lim world, are con­veyed through pic­tures, car­toons, blog posts, memes and even songs.

The most promi­nent is the “Three Fin­gers” cam­paign, rep­re­sent­ing the three kid­napped youths. This is a vari­a­tion on the four-finger salute adopted by the Egypt­ian Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in their fight against cur­rent Pres­i­dent and for­mer gen­eral Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi, and in sup­port of ousted pres­i­dent Muham­mad Morsi. Social media images depict adults and chil­dren per­form­ing a three-finger salute in sol­i­dar­ity with the kid­nap­pers. In some pho­tos, objects, such as three bananas, are used as props to recre­ate the salute, and sim­i­lar themes have also appeared in car­toons in Arabic-language newspapers.

The other ele­ment to the pro-kidnapping cam­paign is the invo­ca­tion of for­mer Israeli sol­dier Gilad Shalit, who was held cap­tive by Hamas for five years and released in 2011 in exchange for Israel free­ing 1027 Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ists. A Face­book page titled “Three Shal­its” calls on the pub­lic to share pic­tures of them­selves hold­ing up three fin­gers in sup­port of a sim­i­lar exchange of the kid­napped Israeli teens for addi­tional Pales­tini­ans in Israeli jails. Some of the cap­tions sug­gest that each kid­napped boy should be released in exchange for 1027 Pales­tini­ans, bring­ing the total num­ber to 3081.

The pro-kidnapping social media cam­paign also includes a song prais­ing the kid­nap­pers called “A Hand­ful of Shal­its.” The singer says “We’ve got you all, Shal­its,” which is fol­lowed up by a call to Pales­tini­ans in Israeli pris­ons that their release is near.

A dif­fer­ent, and no less dis­turb­ing cam­paign, also exists on the other extreme in the form of a Hebrew Face­book page call­ing for “the exe­cu­tion of one ter­ror­ist every hour until the teens are released.” The page has already gar­nered almost 20,000 likes, and con­tains selec­tive Bib­li­cal quo­ta­tions and other state­ments to sup­port vio­lent reprisals to the kid­nap­ping of the three Israeli teens.

  • Aviva Miriam Patt

    By now ADL should be aware that many of the “3 fin­ger” pho­tos have noth­ing to do with the kid­nap­pings but were taken over a year ago in sup­port of pop star Mohammed Assef’s appear­ance on Arab Idol. Sev­eral peo­ple, includ­ing peace activist Mohammed AlQadi, have protested the mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of their images for a hate cam­paign. Some Pales­tini­ans think this is an Israeli plot to defame them, although the images orig­i­nally appeared in Arab lan­guage media. No mat­ter who is to blame for orig­i­nally pub­lish­ing the images, decent peo­ple should stop spread­ing them. It is an appalling thing, espe­cially for the inno­cent chil­dren depicted as cel­e­brat­ing ter­ror­ism when all they were doing was sup­port­ing their pop icon singing star.

    • Yochanan

      That’s cute.

      But they wrote “tha­latha Shalit” = 3 Shalits.

      I don’t pre­tend to be flu­ent in Ara­bic, but I took 2 semes­ters of it.

    • Bram

      You say many pics have noth­ing to do with the kid­nap­pings, since when did you come to know the hun­dreds of peo­ple in the social media that have posted?? Why rather than blast the ADL dont you con­dem the “few” that accord­ing to you, did post the pics glo­r­i­ty­ing the kid­nap­pings. Stand with a com­pa­sion­ate heart with the fam­i­lies of the kid­napped and put aside your blind eye to what is going on in the world for a while. From you ill baced com­ments I assume you would also praise the U.N. for once again vot­ing in Syria to head impor­tant Human Rights Coun­cil posi­tions. WAKE UP> I thank and praise the many peo­ple around the world includ­ing our Arab neigh­bors for con­dem­ing this vile act of kid­nap­ping, they were able to put pol­i­tics aside and let human­ity show its face.

  • HSkol

    Sto­ries such as this, at times, make me think that diplo­macy and under­stand­ing are all but dead-and-gone; how­ever, diplo­macy and under­stand­ing are, in fact, alive-and-well. We con­cerned folks sim­ply need to speak with more bel­low­ing voices.

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  • Joshua

    Agree with Aviva’s com­ment… this is media manip­u­la­tion, pure and sim­ple, and I’m sur­prised that an orga­ni­za­tion like the ADL not only buys into but also pro­motes this misinformation.

    • HSkol

      In this day-and-age, media manip­u­la­tion is lim­ited no longer to legit­i­mate news sources, but to you, me, and our neigh­bors as well. It didn’t seem to me that ADL bought into that as much as they reported on the “three-finger-media” itself. And, to be fair, ADL reported on the “contra-three-finger-media”. I, per­son­ally, would never use a child’s three-finger-pose to make a point — unfor­tu­nately, oth­ers would.

  • Don Krausz

    Some who write about the con­cen­tra­tion camps con­cen­trate on the excep­tional souls that fought back. Kol ha kavod lahem — all hon­our to them. But the great­est resis­tance was moral — those who were unarmed and yet refused to give up their moral codes and human­ity despite unimag­in­able con­di­tions. Those who refused to steal food from oth­ers or rob them, to betray for a piti­ful reward, who would not coop­er­ate with the Nazis in the per­se­cu­tion of pris­on­ers, or lower them­selves to the level of their per­se­cu­tors. The ones that observed their reli­gion despite pro­hi­bi­tion and pun­ish­ment. They were the major­ity and they too were heroes.

    Today’s Jews should also not sink to the level of the haters and terrorists.

  • Philip Jack­son

    Well I’m going to BURN 3 Holy Quran’s, One for every fin­ger, and I have plenty more. Keep it up Three Fin­gers. I will just pass on one fin­ger, the Eagle.