A campaign by the Israel Embassy in Ireland to counter growing European criticism of Israel’s war on Gaza has spectacularly backfired after it was forced to remove what was deemed a series of Islamophobic images from its facebook page.
Among the many images also posted by @IsraelInIreland – the Embassy’s official twitter account is the photo-shopped picture of the famous Molly Malone statue in Dublin covered in a niqab and captioned with ‘Israel now, Dublin next’.
The pictures were posted on social media and contained European landmarks in Muslim dress or armed with weapons. It contains the slogan “Israel is the last frontier of the free world”.
The Islamophobic campaign featured other famous artworks with similar captions, such as the Mona Lisa in Paris wearing a headscarf and holding a rocket.
Each caption ended with “Israel is the last frontier of the free world”, promoting Islamophobia to support Israeli agenda. An Israeli Embassy spokesman confirmed that the images were sent from the official Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The images were removed shortly after without clear reasoning as to why or specifically by whom. However the Israel in Ireland Twitter account continues to play Israel as the victim, insinuating that the boycotting of Israeli products is a form of anti-Semitism.
One photo tweeted by @IsraelInIreland read “so, what’s next? No dogs or Jews allowed?” in retaliation to a poster in a shop window stating ‘Smythy’s toys Jervis St have removed amav products and other products made in Israel from our shelves.’
The Israeli Ambassador, Boaz Modai, said he would not comment on the pictures because “we are now in the middle of a war and I have other things to deal with.”
Sinn Fein’s Foreign Affairs spokesman, Sean Crowe, was shocked by the latest images. He told The Irish Sun: “On one hand it’s childish and lacks maturity, but when you consider 1,050 people have been killed, it’s wrong to be making light of the situation.
“This is such a sensitive time, you would think an embassy would treat it as such and would send out messages of reconciliation, not fan the flames. I can’t understand why anyone would take time to post stuff like this.”
There has been a considerable amount of online condemnation of the Embassy’s behaviour, many people have taken to Twitter to condemn the pictures.
“Shockingly racist, hateful tweet from the Israeli Embassy in Ireland”. “This is truly scandalous” said one twitter user, “Instead of having an embassy in Ireland, Israel appears to have sent a crack team of internet trolls” wrote another.
“@IsraelinIreland can you please take your despicable rantings out of my country? Thanks. Bye. PS – stop murdering children in Gaza.”
Other twitter accounts questioned the rationale behind the campaign, “What evidence does the #Israel embassy in Ireland have that #Hamas have any designs on Ireland or anywhere else in Europe A crazy statement”
Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman refused to condemn Israel Embassy’s Islamophobic campaign. “Ireland’s stance is very much supportive of Palestine. Irish society has not taken much notice of these images because Irish society, as well as the Government, is very good in combating Islamophobia,” he told The Muslim News.
Speaking to The Muslim News a spokesman for the Islamic Foundation of Ireland said “Our community was upset by the images but we were quick to move on. It was definitely seen as a hate crime but we did not feel the need to take any action.”
Over 10,000 people demonstrated outside Israeli Embassy on August 9 on atrocities committed by Israel on Palestinians in Gaza. Former Irish rugby international, Trevor Hogan, told demonstrators that the lifting of the illegal siege on Gaza “is not a negotiating demand – it’s an obligation,” and criticized Minister for Ireland’s Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, for not expelling the Israeli Ambassador.
“Is an illegal siege, six decades of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, war crimes and the killing of 400 children not exceptional enough for Charlie Flanagan?” he asked.