“Rally in support of Israel and Palestine” is a photomontage

Illustration, Raskrinkavanje

Original article (in Bosnian) was published on 13/10/2023; Author: Marija Manojlović

The image circulating on social networks capturing a gathering where Bosniaks allegedly expressed support for both Israel and Palestine actually originates from the satirical web portal Zicer.

Published on October 10, 2023, on the X social network, the photo features a group of people carrying various flags. Among them are the flags of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (officially in use from 1992 to 1998), as well as the flags of Palestine and Israel. The accompanying description reads:

Bosniaks supported both Israel and Palestine at the same rally. Schizophrenia in metastasis

Screenshot, Twitter

The photo was also shared on Facebook, with the same or a similar description (1, 2, 3).

Serbs of Muslim religion, someone calls them Bosniaks are confused: They didn’t know who to support in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, SO THEY SUPPORTED BOTH SIDES! There’s always a circus with them

HIT 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Nowhere like in Bosnia!

Bosniaks are confused: They didn’t know who to support in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, SO THEY SUPPORTED BOTH SIDES!

Where did the photo of the “support rally for Israel and Palestine” come from?

An article stating that “Bosniaks supported both Israel and Palestine”, accompanied by a photo of the “gathering”, was published a day earlier on the satirical website Zicer. The title is identical to the description of individual posts.

Bosniaks are confused: They didn’t know who to support in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, SO THEY SUPPORTED BOTH SIDES!

The text states:

Sarajevo is in confusion these days because of the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Bosniak politicians remain silent and do not speak out, while the people of Sarajevo spontaneously took to the streets to express their support.

At first, they only brought Palestinian flags, but they were soon informed by the top of the state that this was not in the best interest of political Sarajevo and that the Croats and Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina would display Israeli flags, and thus the Bosniaks would be seen as those who support Hamas terrorists.

Therefore, Bosniaks decided to support both sides and took to the streets with the flags of Palestine and Israel as well as the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The article is equipped with a photo of the “gathering”.

Screenshot from the Zicer website

Zicer shared the article link on both Facebook and X. On X, other users also shared the link to the article.

Zicer, a web portal known for its satirical content, clearly states its nature at the bottom of the page, just below its logo. Information confirming Zicer’s satirical nature can also be found on the web portal’s X profile and Facebook page.

The photo featured in Zicer’s article underwent editing. A reverse search of the image revealed its origin in a Klix article dated May 14, 2021. This earlier article reported on several hundred citizens gathering in Sarajevo to peacefully support Palestine amid the escalation of the conflict in Gaza that year.

The photo featured in Zicer’s article has been edited. Through a reverse search of the photo, we found it in Klix’s article dated May 14, 2021, in which it is reported that several hundred citizens gathered in the centre of Sarajevo for a peaceful protest to support Palestine amid the escalation of the conflict in Gaza that year.

There is no flag of Israel in the original photo.

Screenshot, Klix website

The users of social networks who shared the modified photo with the claim that “Bosniaks supported both Palestine and Israel” failed to acknowledge that it originated from a satirical site. By omitting this information, they turned satire into fake news.

Raskrinkavanje has previously analyzed instances where articles from this and other satirical sites were presented as real news by users on social networks and in the media (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).  

Satire is a literary form and a type of literary expression in which negative social phenomena are criticized in a humorous way, often through ridicule or mockery. Satirical “internet magazines”, like the well-known American Onion , address current topics using sarcasm and irony, presenting “news” that mimics informative content. However, in our work so far, we have noted examples of “satirical articles” that hardly have anything to do with what satire really is.

What is happening in Gaza?

On October 7, 2023, the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip, resulting in hundreds of dead and injured soldiers and civilians. The attack followed months of incidents and Israeli incursions in the West Bank and searches at the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. The day after the attack, Israel formally declared war on Hamas, imposing a “total siege of Gaza” and the Israeli airstrike on Gaza began.

According to UN data, the attack displaced around 123,000 Palestinians. Gaza officials claim that over 500 people were killed, with more than 2,000 wounded.

On October 12, a support rally for Palestine was held in Sarajevo, organized by the informal group of citizens known as “Friends of the State of Palestine”. Following a parade along the main thoroughfare, participants gathered in front of the Town Hall.

The escalation of the conflict in Gaza is drawing significant attention from both international and domestic media. Disinformation about the events is also spreading on social networks. Raskrinkavanje already wrote about some of them earlier.

Based on the presented facts, the claim that “Bosniaks supported Israel and Palestine” at the rally, where both Israeli and Palestinian flags were displayed, as published by the web portal Zicer, is rated as satire.

The first publication of the claim without a disclaimer identifying it as satirical content, is rated as fake news. We evaluate other such posts as the distribution of fake news.

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