Israel: The Lie, the Truth and the Meme (of the Soldier and the Girl)

The photograph below, of a soldier stepping on a little girl, has been circulating on the social web for the past few days, claimed to be of an IDF soldier and a Palestinian girl. Wesley Muhammad who posted it claimed to have seen it on someone else's news feed with that caption, and wonders why it went viral from his page. Within two days the photo (now discarded) received over 500 comments, including some claims the photo is fake.

Yossi Gavni reposted the photo highlighting the main claims that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) doesn't carry that kind of weapon and has no such uniforms, and that photo circulated mainly among Israelis. Apparently, the photo was tweeted last year in French, claiming this is actually from Syria's demonstrations and asking for it to spread. However, Arab blogger Omar Dakhane found the original photo (below), which is neither from Syria nor Israel but a street theater performance in Bahrain.

This story could have ended here with a lesson not to believe everything that circulates out there in the age of media manipulation and virality, but apparently some Israelis have decided the best response to a viral lie is a humorous meme. In the last 24 hours many photos replacing the soldier with different characters have been circulating on Facebook, initiated by 10Gag, the Israeli answer to 9Gag humor and memes generator.

For example, a photo where the soldier was replaced by a dog wearing real IDF uniform, probably also responding humorously to earlier allegations that IDF trains dogs to attack Palestinians.  Other entities stepping on that girl included an empire soldier from Star Wars, the Angry Birds, the Android, the Avatar N'aavi, Chuck Norris and more.

By turning the photo into a meme, Israelis are saying in “social media language” that such a situation is ridiculous and fictional, although Wesley Muhammad who started the viral spread concludes:  “I took the photo down (even though that type of thing DOES happen in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict)”. In response, Shani Yaakov posted a collage of pictures titled “this is the true picture of the IDF” (below) in which soldiers are seen in positive and friendly interactions with Palestinians. As for the truth, as always, it's probably somewhere in the middle.



  • This is the problem now days that people go directly and circulate what they received without checking the story.

    Sometimes they even fabricated the story and add some of their spicy.

    However do not forget that the Israelis may do more than was found in the image.

    No one can deny that.

  • […] our upcoming class discussion Performance as Intervention, please see this article which reports on the context of this provocative picture, allegedly depicting an IDF solider […]

  • moulana saleem ebrahim

    Hi, Yes , but do not be fooled by thinking that the Israeli army are innocent and that they are the heros of the Palestinians.It is a great pity that a positive image is trying to created of the Israeli army . We should compare these few images to the horrific autrocities that are commited in the name of god and country by Israel.Not only are some states war mongers but war instigators and war engineers . Since they have the power of the media ,technology and funds they can easily manipulate the mind through optical illusions therefore making it correct for the Israeli army to go unquestioned and making their case a just one.

  • Robby

    “(even though that type of thing DOES happen in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict)” – it would be a miracle if someone, just once, in the Arab/Muslim world could admit that something is wrong without bashing Israel or the Jews along the way.

    Interesting this person also lists and has a picture “Louis Farrakhan” in his profile. Guess that explains how unbiased he is.

  • […] Israel: The Lie, the Truth and the Meme (of the Soldier and the Girl)… this picture got the blogosphere, the twitterverse, and the other viralating communities all astir with indignation. Indeed, many of us have grown so accustomed to stories of the awful way Israelis treat Palestinians that we jump on yet another story. But this one took it to a whole new level… and turned out to be an utter lie. The whole thing was street theatre and had nothing to do with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict whatsoever! […]

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