“Castrate them!” “Burn them!” “Bullet in the head!”: Facebook Israelis react to photo of Palestinian kids
Having regularly documented the horrifying racism and violent fantasies frequently expressed by Israelis on Facebook or Instagram, I thought I had seen everything.
But this may be the worst yet. On Wednesday, the picture above of three Palestinian boys in a tent was posted on a popular Facebook page titled in Hebrew “We are all in favor of death to terrorists.” Under the picture is the following caption:
Arab boys in the illegal Arab outpost established near Maale Adumim. What should the Israeli army do to them?This is an apparent reference to the peaceful “Bab al-Shams” encampment established by Palestinians near Jerusalem to protest Israel’s plans to seize more land for settlements. The protest was timed to coincide with the visit of US President Barack Obama.
“Run the tent over with a truck/Merkava tank/a bus/ whatever it takes to crush and kill these children,” suggested Facebook user Lidor Swisa.
As of Friday there were almost 200 comments under the post offering suggestions of what the Israeli army should do – the vast majority fantasizing extreme sadistic violence and murder.
What makes this even more than usually disturbing is many of the Israeli commentators appear to be high school students themselves – perhaps only a year or two from mandatory army service when they will be empowered to carry out their fantasies.
Soldiers and adults join in the virtual pogrom
But others, such as Shlomo Levi, are clearly already army-age adults. His suggestion?
“I’d have thrown nerve gas into the tent and closed it and made them breath it until the end”
David Kozolovski wrote, “To all those comparing Jews to Nazis, Jews did not try to kill German civilians,” thereby justifying the orgy of violent fantasies against the children.
Kozolovski’s profile pictures on Facebook include images of him in his Israeli army uniform bearing the insignia of the Kfir Infantry Brigade.
Ohad Halevy, another soldier in the Kfir Brigade, simply wrote “Slaughter them!” of the three children in the photo.
“May you die garbage Arabs, amen!”This is only a small selection of the representative and typical comments posted under the picture of the three boys in the tent. All of these comments were in Hebrew and have been translated:
“Disgusting. Burn the tent” - Oriel Diller
“Eliminate” - Zevika Gvirz
“Artillery training ‘mistake’ ” - Igor Gonopolskiy
“Burn them” - Yaron Gringauz
“May you die garbage Arabs, amen!” - Shahar Dayan
“Run them over and shoot them. It’s not complicated!” - Elad Sender
“Take the tent with the people in it, put it on a trailer and dump them back where they came from” - Sharon Carmi
“A hand grenade inside the tent!” - Dvir Dagan
“Put a couple of bullets in their heads and we’re done” - Adi Maman
“Set them on fire” - Yosef Porotzky
“Fuck them” - Aria Yehudai
A minority of users objected to these pervasive comments. Lilach Lilush said, “Excuse me … I disagree… what do you mean ‘eliminate?’ What are we, an arm of Hamas or Hizballah? We are more enlightened. We should just return them safely where they came from.”
Even in her objection Lilush could not but stereotype Arabs as monsters compared to “enlightened” Israelis. But still, hers was a very rare sentiment amid the frenzy of bloodlust that sees the three Palestinian boys in the picture as legitimate targets for extreme violence.
Widespread incitement and racismAgain, I stress as in my previous posts, that this horrifying racism and sadism towards Arabs seems to be pervasive among Israelis who use social media and reflects the much broader phenomenon of escalating racism in Israel against Palestinians and Africans.
Haaretz noted, for instance, in a recent article that racist incitement by Israeli public figures doubled in 2012. It also reported on how the kind of crude and shocking racism seen in these comments is common among Israeli schoolchildren in Jerusalem.
Nurit Peled-Elhanan has also documented in her recent book the pervasive anti-Arab racism and stereotypes that Israeli children are exposed to at school which may contribute to this horrifying phenomenon.
It is also notable that the “We are all in favor of death to terrorists” Facebook group has more than 41,000 “Likes” and images of Palestinians, Arabs and Israelis deemed traitorous “leftists” are frequently posted attracting similarly vile comments.
In his speech in Jerusalem this week, President Obama also observed that “Israelis are so active on social media that every day seemed to bring a different Facebook campaign about where I should give this speech.”
The violence is not just virtualIn at least one case we know of, an Israeli soldier, Maxim Vinogradov, announced on Facebook his intention to assist in the “annihilation” of Arabs just days before he shot father of two Ziad Jilani in the head as he lay on the ground in Jerusalem in 2010.
An example of the Israeli army’s routine brutality against children was on display on the very day Obama landed when dozens of children as young as eight were abused and kidnapped by Israeli soldiers as they were on their way to school in Hebron — a harrowing scene caught on video.
Next: See how Israeli soldiers reacted to the video in: “Israeli corporal Ari Ben Reuven says: “break every bone” of crying Palestinian boy while seized on way to school”