A viral campaign seems to be gaining traction. Just yesterday Sheera Frenkel of Buzzfeed lectured Palestinians for allegedly forcing their children to celebrate the reported kidnaping of three Israeli teens:
Palestinians shouldn’t be posing kids like this.
What pose is that? Frenkel linked to a site showing photos of Palestinian children holding up three fingers, to denote the three teens. Max Fisher of Vox promptly retweeted her tweet.
Well today Palestinian mountain climber Mohammed AlQadi woke up to find he was featured in media reports as part of a Palestinian campaign to “perpetuate their joy” over the reported kidnapping of 3 Jewish teens in the West Bank. The Israeli website Walla News echoed the claim: 3 fingers to hostages.
Just one problem with that. There are scores of photos of people making this three-fingered sign because it was the way folks supported singer Mohammed Assaf’s bid to become Arab Idol last year. Mohammed AlQadi put up three fingers for Assaf.
“The campaign is a celebration of the kidnapping by Hamas, who are being blamed for their disappearance,” states another site, “Vocativ” . Its report in War of Words Over Kidnapped Teens fingered AlQadi:
The first campaign, which began to gain traction in the past 24 hours, is a celebration of the kidnapping by Hamas, who are being blamed for their disappearance.
….“Three [kidnapped] to set our prisoners free. Our love for Hebron,” wrote Mohammad AlQadi from France, holding three fingers and smiling to the camera.
There may be sympathy from Palestinians and their supporters over the report of teen abductions, especially considering the release of Palestinian prisoners in past prisoner exchanges. However, a campaign featuring fabricated postings? And they picked the wrong guy.
Climber Mohammed AlQadi is a celebrated Palestinian peace activist. He’s got 120,000 followers on Twitter and is currently living in France and training to climb to the top of Mt.Everest to spread awareness of refugees.
AlQadi says he never wrote or posted any support for the abductions. He was supporting Assaf:
— Mohammad AlQadi (@ALQadiPAL) June 18, 2014
I spoke with AlQadi by Skype today and he told me. “I’m trying to help my country now so we share awareness about of Palestine by sharing real people speaking from Palestine. I’m using attention from my climbs to bring attention, working on these activities. I don’t want war or violence but justice for my people.
“Assaf made me famous, he shared a photo of me and thanked me and said he was proud of me. My dream is to climb Everest and share a message, to bring the plight of refugees all around the world.
“I don’t believe in violence because violence bring more violence, I’m trying to show the truth and I’m upset for how they use my photo.”
Im so mad coz an Israeli website take my photo that was taken 1 year ago to support Mohammad ASSAF ARAB IDOL And the 3 sign was mean vote for him on his number 3 .http://news.walla.co.il/?w=%2F%2F2756150 Today allot of friends send me link in Hebrew for a website showing that im with kidnapping people What I say im against kidnapping 5000 Palestinians I’m with justice And for the website who share my photo without asking I thinks thats fucking disgusting and disrespecting others Any way its time to end occupation And its time to stop the game made by Nataniaho to just destroy Palestinians more and more and till now no body say that I’m responsible of arresting 3 israelis so in my opinion its a film from shabak and the IDF to just destroy and destroy what they can and then they say we search about 3 israelis Realy WTF In this photo Arab idol Mohammad Assaf And Adventure Mohammad ALQADI Contacting Ynet, they removed his photo from group of photos they’ve published.
Update from Phil Weiss: This piece initially stated that it was a “lie” and a “slander” that people were also making the three-finger signal to endorse the apparent abduction of the teens. I stuck that language in in editing, and it was erroneous, inasmuch as there is such a campaign. Apologies to Annie and to readers for my bad assumption.