Israeli Kids' Messages on Bombs Sparks Debate Worldwide
- ONLINE CONTROVERSY OVER GRAFFITI BY ISRAELI KIDS
SHEERA CLAIRE FRENKEL
SEE WEBSITE FOR PHOTO
In the public relations battle brewing on-line, there is a new eye to
the center of the storm surrounding the war with Hizbullah - a series
of photos showing Israeli children writing messages on shells meant
for targets in Lebanon.
Questions over the photos' authenticity have been put to rest by
authorities that were present during the incident, which occurred on
July 17 near the northern border. The mostly local children had been
brought to see the shells by their parents. Although it remains
unclear who encouraged them to write the messages, their colorful
scribbles, including a Star of David, hearts, and "From Israel, with
Love," have appeared in dozens of blogs, or on-line journals, and
on-line photo hosting sites.
Although the IDF has failed to issue a response to the incident, a
spokesman from the IDF said it "appeared as though the situation
occurred unofficially." Although an officer was present during the
incident, the soldiers, and the IDF as a whole, did not condone or
condemn the incident.
An official close to Israel's public relations campaign said that
there was "no way" to spin the incident in a positive light. "Some
people are simply irresponsible," said the official.
On-line, the photos are being called "horrifying," "disgusting" and
"despicable." "I still cannot understand why or how anyone would allow
their young children to walk up to missiles or other explosives. The
militarization of children is always a crime," said one user by the
name of "aviv2b" on the Guardian Web site, which ran a lengthy
discussion about the photos.
Another reader, by the name barbicanangel posted that "I still say
Israel is right in this war, however, the picture of young Jewish
girls signing the shells is quite disturbing."
Although the photos were first taken by professional photographers
from AFP, Associated Press, and Haaretz, they were circulated on-line
through the popular photo-hosting Web site Flickr.com. That site
republished the photos, bringing them to the attention of hundreds who
later posted them on their own personal sites.
Many users on both the flickr and Guardian Web sites said that the
images proved how difficult it was for a country to control their
public relations image on-line. "There is no way to tell how, when,
where, or why these photos were taken," said one anonymous poster. "We
have to rely on the people hosting the Web sites, who have no official
accountability hanging over their heads at all."
Over the years, there have been a number of photos that have been
popularized by the on-line community such as photos of young
Palestinian babies dressed as suicide bombers, or Israeli children in
Purim costumes mocking Palestinian political officials.
WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
To subscribe to this group, send an email to:
NEWS ARCHIVE IS OPEN TO PUBLIC VIEW