Netanyahu supporters warn of Palestinian voters using photo from Turkish elections

Netanyahu supporters warn of Palestinian voters using photo from Turkish elections
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's son Yair shared the tweet claiming an image of Turkish voters was one of Palestinians rushing to the polls.
3 min read
18 September, 2019
The photo was quickly pointed out as a 'fake' [Twitter]
Supporters of incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have come under fire for using a photo from last year's Turkish elections to warn of Arab voters flooding the polls.

A key part of the campaign rhetoric for Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud Party attempting to persuade reticent voters to take to the polls has been to warn of Palestinians citizens of Israel turning out in large numbers and potentially swaying the vote.

"The media is reporting that there's a record voter turnout among the left, and a low voter turnout among right-wing voters," Netanyahu said on election day to supporters gathered in Jerusalem's central bus station.

"It's high among the Arab population. It's not surprising. The Palestinian Authority is coming out with an official statement and I quote, 'go out to vote and bring down Netanyahu'."

The veteran politician's supporters also got in on the action, with some on social media sharing a photo claiming to show Palestinian voters lining up at a polling station in Israel.

The photo, initially shared by a Hebrew-language Twitter account with the handle @Onetruth011, garnered retweets from Israelis including Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister's son.

Palestinian Knesset member Ahmad Tibi then shared a screenshot of Yair Netanyahu's retweet, noting that the photo was actually taken in Turkey.

Turkish Twitter users later clarified that the image was taken during the country's June 2018 elections, and could be easily identified as such due to the presence of Turkish-language signs in the image's background.

Others joked that what made the image so easy to identify as a "fake" was the moustachioed man appearing in the foreground of the photo.

"It's funny because the man with a moustache in the left of the picture they used is easily the most Turkish person I've ever seen," said journalist Michael Sercan Daventry.

Tibi's screenshots show the tweet had gained just two retweets and 11 likes. It is not possible to verify how many retweets it garnered after that time as the tweet was later deleted.

The user behind the @Onetruth011 Twitter account has since clarified that their description of the image was inaccurate.

Journalist Anshel Pfeffer joked that the incident lent credence to comparisons between Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"I'm always a bit careful with Netanyahu=Erdogan comparisons, Israeli journalists aren't being sent to jail (yet)," he said in a tweet on Tuesday.

"But now Likudniks are using photographs from the mayoral elections in Istanbul and pretending they're of Israeli Arab citizens standing in line to vote."

Facebook suspended a Netanyahu  chatbot last week after it was found to violate hate speech policies.

The chatbot, part of the online election campaign for Likud, greeted viewers with an automated message in Hebrew telling voters that "Arabs want to annihilate us all - women, children and men".

The results of Tuesday's election are still unclear, as early results put Netanyahu and his main challenger, Benny Gantz of the centrist Blue and White electoral alliance, neck and neck.