Israel’s Irish embassy: UN would have made Hitler happy

Tweet linking to a 2011 article about an anti-racism conference removed hours after it was posted

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

The United Nations General Assembly hall in New York (photo credit: CC
The United Nations General Assembly hall in New York (photo credit: CC

The Israeli embassy in Ireland on Tuesday got itself entangled in a social media gaffe when a staffer tweeted a link to an article together with a sentence suggesting that the United Nations was acting in ways that would make Adolf Hitler proud.

The controversial tweet was removed a few hours after it was posted and surfers contacted the Foreign Ministry in protest.

“It’s from 2011: The #UN has itself become a tool against #Israel. Hitler couldn’t have been made happier,” the tweet read, followed by a link to an article. The text of the article is the transcript of a speech made by South Sudanese refugee and human rights activist Simon Deng in New York two years ago to protest the so-called Durban II conference. The UN-sponsored event was ostensibly dedicated to fighting racism but was boycotted by the US and Israel due to suspicions it would turn into an anti-Israel hate-fest reminiscent of the original Durban conference in 2001.

The Durban II conference “will only isolate and target the Jewish state,” Deng said in his speech. “It is a tool of the enemies of Israel. The UN has itself become a tool against Israel. For over 50 years, 82 percent of the UN General Assembly emergency meetings have been about condemning one state – Israel. Hitler couldn’t have been made happier.”

A link tweeted by Israel's embassy in Dublin on Tuesday, August 6, 2013
A link tweeted by Israel’s embassy in Dublin on Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said the tweet from Dublin was merely intended to point users to the article and not to endorse the UN-Hitler comparison.

“The controversial quote was taken from the words of a Sudanese refugee, as is clearly seen in the article linked in the tweet,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told The Times of Israel. “It should not be attributed to the embassy, but in the face of the growing misunderstanding it was decided to remove the tweet.”

Tuesday’s tweet-and-delete incident is not the first time the embassy’s digital diplomacy has raised eyebrows with a controversial post. In December, it posted on Facebook an image of Jesus and Mary and suggested that if the Biblical figures were alive today they would have likely been murdered by a mob of Palestinians. An outcry, predictably, ensued and  the post was removed a few hours after it first appeared and the embassy issued an apology, saying the image had been uploaded to the social network site by mistake.

At the time, a Foreign Ministry spokesman promised an internal investigation to determine how such a post could have been uploaded, saying it would “make sure something like this does not happen again.”

In June 2012, Channel 10 published a letter in which the deputy head of mission in Ireland, Nurit Tinari-Modai, proposed that Israel fight efforts to delegitimize it by going after expatriate Israelis who are critical of the government in Jerusalem. In that letter, she also wrote that those Israelis dislike Israel partly because they are “sexually confused.” The Foreign Ministry distanced itself from her letter at the time, saying her suggestions were the wrong way to fight delegitimization.

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