Spike in Tweets Accusing Israel of ‘Apartheid’ Coincides With False Tlaib Post About Jerusalem Brawl
Last Sunday, U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib shared on social media a video purporting to show Israeli soldiers attacking Palestinians celebrating Ramadan at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.
“This is the violent apartheid government of Israel,” Tlaib — a Democrat who represents Michigan’s 12th congressional district — wrote. “Don’t look away.”
It quickly came to light though that Tlaib’s tweet was a distortion of reality. In fact, the video — originally posted by the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) — showed a brawl between Palestinians, with Israeli police intervening to separate them.
However, in terms of slandering Israel, the damage was already done. A data analysis conducted by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) on Wednesday identified a noticeable spike in tweets using the terms “Israel” and “Apartheid” coinciding with Tlaib’s post.
While causation cannot be assumed, rhetoric of elected officials has a clear impact on public discourse, and officials therefore have a responsibility to speak facts, rather than stoke hatred and divisiveness with baseless accusations.
This is particularly critical at a time of rising antisemitism, in both the United States and across the globe.
Just last month, in Tlaib’s home state of Michigan, a heavily-armed man was arrested by the FBI after threatening to kill all Jewish public office holders.
Three examples from the sampled tweets follow: