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Monday, January 06, 2014

The birth of a new anti-Israel stunt - the soccer ball

From Ma'an:
A group of children in a Palestinian village south of Tulkarem have taken the unprecedented step of writing a letter directly to the United Nations in a bold attempt to win back their soccer ball from Israeli occupation authorities.

The children in the village of Kafr Sur sent the letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon via social media, asking him to intervene after the ball fell into lands confiscated by Israeli authorities to build the separation barrier through their village.

The campaign began after a local youth named Amir was playing soccer in the village and kicked the ball too far, hitting it into an area in the village under Israeli military control and beyond barbed wire, according to municipality head Imad Zibda.

The group of children spoke to Ma'an on Saturday, explaining that the Israeli occupation had impinged on their rights by not allowing them to retrieve their ball, which had disappeared behind the barbed wire of the separation barrier.

Ma'an helpfully publishes five staged photos of the kids playing soccer (somehow, they managed to find another ball for the photographer.)

When did the incident occur? Did the kids ask to get the ball back? We don't know, because the point of the story isn't facts, but propaganda.

They stressed that they have the right to play in their own lands without any restrictions. They expressed their fear that the ball would never be returned because it had fallen on the other side of the barbed wire. 
They feared that all of the lands that had been confiscated from the village would suffer a similar fate, they added.
Really? No prompting from any adults to come up with perfect anti-Israel quotes for the media?

Arabic reports do mention that it was an adult's idea to write to the UN and disseminate this story on social media.  The letter is clearly written by an adult in a child's voice, starting off with "We are a group of children in Kafr Sur who collected a sum of money by ourselves and bought a football for the exercise of our right to play like other children." Yeah, kids say stuff like that all the time.

Clearly the adults in town found that this is a media-friendly story and ran with it to make a soccer ball into an international incident, with the helpful collusion of Arab media. Now they are just waiting for it to go viral, and given how much people hate Israel, the chances are very good it will.

Indeed, a version of this story was played out, virtually, in 2009, to worldwide headlines.

The Israeli company Cellcom made a popular commercial then showing this same scenario. Look at how the IDF responds there:



The tagline is "We all just want to have fun." The company said the commercial was about overcoming obstacles.

At the time, the Israel haters made their own version, with the IDF responding to a soccer ball with tear gas and gunshots:



That episode showed very clearly which side actually wants to live together with the other side in peace and which side will take every opportunity to demonize the Other. The Israeli commercial humanizes the Palestinian Arabs; the PalArab response demonizes Israelis.

Can you imagine the outcry if an Israeli had made a commercial showing the soccer ball returning to the Israeli side as a shrapnel-filled bomb? That is the equivalent of the second ad - but only one side is expected and encouraged  to hate.