We've seen it all before: An IDF soldier aiming his rifle at a Palestinian's head. No content is given – is the soldier about to execute the Palestinian at point-blank range? The photo spreads via Social Media, reinforcing the (false) narrative of "Israeli aggression against Palestinian victims."
The latest charade in Pallywood – a cottage industry dedicated to producing Palestinian propaganda – is now circulating on Facebook, showing "an Israeli rifle butt digging into a young Palestinian's neck."
Thankfully, Roi Rahmani, an alert media monitor, discovered another photo, this one showing the two "actors" appearing in a friendly selfie.
By the time the truth was revealed, the original fake photo provocatively spoke its “thousand words.”
Psychologically, these images are almost impossible to undo.
These images create a “record of events” and once they enter public consciousness, it is almost impossible to undo. According to Hany Farid, a Dartmouth professor and expert on digital photography, on a neurological level the brain tends to reduce major historical eras into emotional images that encapsulate the complex story: raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, the Vietnamese Napalm girl, facing the tank in Tiananmen Square, electrocution wires at Abu Ghraib prison.
Tragically, mythical Palestinian photos are more than just factual inaccuracies or a PR issue. One Palestinian woman, after hearing of a (false) account of "Israeli atrocities," declared: “We will never forget this massacre. This is similar to the Holocaust. We will teach our generations not to forget this.”
Staged photos are part of a precise formula – death, destruction and children – to generate media coverage of “Israeli aggressors.”
Who can forget the widely-viewed image of an "Israeli soldier" pointing his rifle at a little Palestinian girl, while digging his boot into her chest. It was all part of an anti-Israeli "street theater" exhibition in the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain. Yet anti-Israel propagandists cleverly cropped the photo (shown here in yellow lines) to demonstrate "Israeli demonism."
Mark Twain said, “A lie told well is immortal.” And the danger of false images is very real. Like the medieval blood libels that launched pogroms across Europe, these images remain engraved in Palestinian lore, fomenting an atmosphere of mistrust that will linger for decades, ultimately undermining those who seek peaceful coexistence.