As long as we're on the subject today of bullshit photos being posted by partisans in the Israel/Gaza saga, here's the story of a spurious, brutally graphic anti-Muslim allegation that's been propagated on a bizarre Twitter account run by Israel's version of the State Department.
The @IsraelinIreland Twitter handle—the official voice of Israel's embassy in the Irish Republic—is a Ministry of Foreign affairs account that's gotten in hot water recently for its weirdly incendiary messagelets.
While other official accounts of the Israeli government give understandably partisan takes on developments in the region—in that, they're no different than any nation's public diplomats—they're even-handed and fair-minded relative to "Israel in Ireland," which today dedicated its Twitter feed to belligerent bile and acidic indictments of Irish politicians debating the Mideast situation. (Imagine the U.S. embassy's London-based Twitter account chastising the House of Commons mid-debate. You can't.)
Like many of Israel's defenders, this account has railed against Palestinian sympathizers doctoring images to serve their political propaganda aims. That crusade has put some partisans in embarrassing positions—as I documented with the increasingly gullible "thought leader" David Frum earlier today—but in the case of Israel in Ireland, it's also completely hypocritical.
These representatives of Israel's government just last week tried to connect photographs of an atrocious mass-murder to Sunni Islamists in Iraq—and then to connect the deaths to Hamas, Israel's enemy in Gaza. The only problem: They misidentified the perpetrators of that killing. They perpetuated a politically motivated hoax. And no one's called them on it yet.
Warning: What follows are some pretty graphic pictures.
On July 22, Israel's Irish embassy tweeted these grisly images at several publications in Ireland:
Lest they be misunderstood, the tweeters then explained that ISIS—the Sunni militants who have established a rump "Islamic State" in parts of Iraq and Syria—were practically brothers with Hamas:
As someone who keeps relatively well-apprised of ISIS's progress in Iraq, I was surprised I hadn't seen anything in the mainstream media about a massacre of Christian girls by Sunni Islamists at a party in Mosul. So I consulted Charles Lister, a Brookings visiting fellow and terrorism expert with extensive knowledge and contacts in Iraq.
He'd seen the photos before. "This is the scene of an attack by suspected Asaib Ahl al-Haq (Shia) militiamen in a district of Baghdad about 2 weeks ago," he told me in an email.
Sure enough, that attack had been well-documented by Jacob Siegel, The Daily Beast's Baghdad-based correspondent, with some of the same photos (attributed to AFP/Getty), a whole week before @IrelandinIsrael's tweet. The female victims, it turns out, were prostitutes, most likely murdered by men from Asaib Ahl al-Haq—a small, radical offshoot of an offshoot of Moqtada al-Sadr's Iranian-supported Shi'a militia.
These men—and any other of the Shi'a militias that run East Baghdad—are sworn enemies of ISIS and unlikely to sympathize with the Sunni Hamas leadership.
"In other words," Lister wrote, "the tweet from the Israel in Ireland account was totally false." The victims in the photos were not Christian girls at a party (though that hardly excuses their brutal deaths). Their murder depicted did not take place in Mosul. It was not perpetrated by ISIS. And it could not be connected to Hamas.
Will @IsraelinIreland apologize? That's not really its style, though it's gotten in trouble for incendiary (if not completely fake) content before. Just last week, it deleted an Islamophobic tweet that outraged many viewers, including Irish citizens who took umbrage at its depiction of Dublin's storied Molly Malone statue in a burqa:
(It also used the "Mona Lisa" to argue that Paris was next, which is weird—sure, it's housed in the Louvre, but it's Milanese. I mean, come on.)
The embassy also had to delete a Facebook Christmas message two years ago claiming that "hostile Palestinians" would probably lynch Jesus and Mary if they were in Bethlehem today. That pooch-screw was written up in the New York Times:
Yet the Israeli embassy and its tweeters seem unchastened by these experiences.
For example, they have not yet deleted this recent tweet: