Fury as Black Lives Matter group posts image of paratrooper and says it ‘stands with Palestine’
A Black Lives Matter chapter from Chicago said it “stands with Palestine” and posted an online graphic of a paratrooper in the aftermath of the Hamas attack on Israel.
The organisation, which is affiliated to a group of similar BLM chapters in the United States, drew criticism for the image on a day of widespread condemnation of Hamas and its terrorist acts in Israel.
Black Lives Matter Chicago is one of the “#BLM10”, a group of anti-racist organisations that is not affiliated to the main parent organisation, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
On Tuesday the group posted a black-and-white image of a paratrooper, with a Palestinian flag and the caption: “I stand with Palestine”.
The image appeared to refer to the Hamas paragliders that invaded Israeli territory on Saturday, using motorised flying vehicles and engines attached to parachutes.
Hamas members used the parachutes to evade Israel’s sophisticated air defence system on the Gaza border, reaching a music festival on the other side of the border wall.
There, they shot 260 people, raped women and took hostages back to the Gaza strip.
Black Lives Matter Chicago was criticised for its post online.
Tamar Schwarzbard, the head of digital operations at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, replied: “You stand for Hamas terrorists parachuting into Israeli territory, butchering and burning children alive?”
Elon Musk, the Twitter CEO, said: “Your position is clear”.
One Twitter user called for the group to be investigated by Illinois police for an act of terrorism.
Earlier on Wednesday, the group posted a graphic on Facebook arguing that “the few” Israeli hostages taken during Hamas’s attack are “in fact Israeli soldiers and Israeli army generals who are responsible for keeping Palestinians hostage in the world’s largest open air prison, Gaza”.
Reports from the ground in Israel show that many civilians, including children, have been taken as hostages taken by Hamas and some have been killed.
A third graphic claimed that reports of violence by Hamas against civilians were actually “misinformation with absolutely no evidence” that had been “used to dehumanise the Palestinian civilians that Israel has declared genocide upon”.
Black Lives Matter is a decentralised political organisation and there is no “official” version of the movement.
The largest group of chapters belong to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, an international conglomerate of campaign groups.
Black Lives Matter Chicago, which is verified on Facebook and has more than 100,000 followers on its combined social media platforms, is a member of the #BLM10, which represents chapters in Philadelphia, Washington DC and Nashville, among others.
The group campaigns against the actions of Chicago police, delivers petitions to the city’s council and runs food banks.