A Melbourne entertainer and a former local mayor have been slammed for misrepresenting a social-media photo of suspected Hamas terrorists surrendering to the IDF in Gaza as an IDF mass-execution of civilians.
Comedian and TV personality Nazeem Hussain and former Greens mayor of the inner-north Merri-bek council, Angelica Panopoulos, both shared a photo showing a large group of men stripped to their underwear under the guard of soldiers, but with an altered description.
The original post showed a photo with the caption, “Palestinian men said to have surrendered to the IDF in the Jabaliya area of northern Gaza on December 7, 2023.”
However, a later post shared by Hussain as an Instagram story, showed the identical photo, but carrying the description, “Some of the civilians were executed in front of their families. Many have been identified as prominent journalists, doctors and teachers.”
A text, indicating it was Google-translated from Arabic, went on to state, “A new photo published by an Israeli channel on Telegram shows the occupation forces taking civilians to an empty area in preparation for their execution, live massacres in front of the world.”
Zionism Victoria executive director Zeddy Lawrence said, “It’s bad enough that such inflammatory lies are being circulated online, without public figures fanning the flames by posting them on their own social media.”
Describing the circulation of the posts as “incendiary and inflammatory”, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein said it was “a typical example of the hateful lies and distortions being spread”.
“The truth is quite simple. They were stripped to ensure that they were not concealing explosives or weapons … standard procedure in such cases and not just by Israel. Unfortunately, this sort of reprehensible misrepresentation is what Israel faces on a daily basis.”
Hussain last month attacked Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for defending Israel, pointing out his earlier co-founding of the Parliamentary Friends of Palestine committee.