TEL AVIV – U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and other leading political figures around the world shared what has been dubbed a “blood libel” in which the drowning of a seven-year-old Arab child in Jerusalem was falsely attributed to “a herd of violent Israeli settlers.”
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi wrote on Twitter, “The heart just shatters. The pain is unbearable. No words.”
She then retweeted the post of an “activist,” whose Twitter account was later suspended, in which he claimed that Qais Abu Ramila was abducted and assaulted before being thrown into a well by Israelis.
“KIDNAPPED & EXECUTED,” wrote “realSeifBitar”.
“7 year old #Palestinian child Qusai was kidnapped by a Herd of violent #Israeli settlers, assaulted & thrown in a water well was found this morning frozen to death in Beit Hanina, #Jerusalem after #Israeli forces assaulted search teams,” the fake activist added.
Three layers of what for now appears to be a blood libel. From a faceless activist to a Palestinian government official to a US Congresswoman to a global audience of 898,000 followers. pic.twitter.com/spGwJAp5RT
— Eylon Levy (@EylonALevy) January 25, 2020
After news emerged the boy had slipped into and drowned in a pond, Ashrawi posted a partial retraction saying the “kidnapping was not certain.”
“My apologies for re-tweeting something that’s not fully verified,” she tweeted. “It seems that the news of his being kidnapped is not certain.”
She did not, however, remove the original tweet with the blood libel.
Tlaib deleted the tweet but did not issue an apology to her almost 900,000 followers.
Wtf? Congresswomen @RashidaTlaib just retweeted a false blood libel against the Jewish people. @TheDemocrats @GOP what is going on in Congress? There must be consequences for anti-Semitism in our nation’s highest governmental body. pic.twitter.com/3ZLnHwCCNX
— Avi Kaner (@AviKaner) January 25, 2020
But the deletion came too late. Several high profile Twitter users picked up Tlaib’s tweet, including antisemitic British politician George Galloway who then pinned his retweet.
“This child, aged 7, has just been fished out of a well dead in #Jerusalem,” Galloway wrote. “Murdered by illegal Israeli settlers. Will anyone in power cry with his mother and father today? Will anyone check this evil rampage against the people of #Palestine? Anyone?”
Here is Jew-hater in chief @GeorgeGalloway using the tragic death of a young Palestinian boy to stir up hate. Sadly Abu Ramileh drowned in a tragic accident but to George its just another opportunity to incite his followers
— SussexFriendsofIsrael (@SussexFriends) January 25, 2020
Galloway’s false tweet still remains pinned as of this publishing – more than 36 hours after the lies surrounding the boy’s death were discredited.
Galloway also posted a photo of rescue workers laying the boy down. The original tweet claimed, “Israeli forces assaulted search teams.” It was in fact, Israeli rescue workers and firefighters who found the boy after searching for him all night. Israel police also put a call out for help in the search and hundreds volunteered.
After the boy’s family initially said he was kidnapped, a claim they later retracted, hundreds of Arab residents of the Bet Hanina neighborhood in east Jerusalem stormed the nearby Jewish neighborhood of Neve Yaakov, hoping to find the “kidnapped” child.
Some of the rioters threw rocks at police.
I am always extremely cautious in criticizing US elected officials. However when an American elected official retweets an unfounded blood libel against Jewish Israelis, I cannot remain silent. Congresswoman @RashidaTlaib just did.
— Dani Dayan (@AmbDaniDayan) January 25, 2020