Israeli media indicted young Mohammed Al-Qadi after he posted images on his personal Facebook account. That image, the media claimed, supported the kidnapping and execution of the three Israeli teens who had been recently kidnapped in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
Israeli blogs and media said that Al-Qadi’s photos were “supporting terrorism” because he was holding up three fingers. The hand sign was posted almost a year before the three teens were kidnapped. The three fingers represented the fact that Qadi was supporting “contestant three” in the popular “Arab Idol” television show, based off of American Idol.
To make matters worse, Mohammed AlQadi is actually a peace activist, fighting for peace and reconciliation between Israel and Palestine.
Still, none of that mattered to the Israeli media and bloggers who decided for him that he was actually engaged in a “campaign of hate.”
The 22-year-old Al-Qadi is in culinary school in France right now, but word quickly spread to him that he was the focus of an Israeli media witch-hunt.
“I had no idea what they were talking about,” Al-Qadi said in a phone interview from Lyon, France. “I went online to discover my photo being used for something I had no part in at all.”
The Walla news agency in Israel posted Al-Qadi’s photo as a front page, breaking news article.
Thousands of hateful, and misinformed comments followed at the bottom of the article.
“By holding up the three sign what they are saying is that they condone terrorism, they condone kidnapping of innocent kids,” an Israeli read said. “They should be ashamed of themselves.”
Al-Qadi’s photo, once again, posted a year before the kidnapping of those boys, was showing his support of Palestinian Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf.
Al-Qadi noted that Assaf was identified on the show only as “contestant three,” and though it might sound like a dubious excuse to make up after being caught supporting terrorism and kidnapping, anyone can check the date on these images to see that they were uploaded a year before these kidnappings occurred.
“If you look at the Facebook pages of Palestinians there are dozens even hundreds of us making the three sign to support Assaf. He was our winner, he was the most popular winner of Arab Idol,” Al-Qadi explained. “It makes me very, very, very angry that somebody took these photos and lied and said they were something else.”
Al-Qadi responded to the Walla website, saying: “I know there are Palestinians who are happy when these horrible things happen to Israelis. But I don’t believe in violence. Violence only brings more violence. It is horrifying to wake up and have your photo associated with this thing.”
(Article R. Abraham and M.A. Hussein)