Israel invites Twitter users to #AskNetanyahu, and immediately regrets it (TWEETS)

A publicity stunt by the Israeli government has backfired spectacularly. Twitter users hijacked the #AskNetanyahu hashtag intended for live questions to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to great effect.

The invitation to a live question and answer session with the Prime Minister of Israel was met with eager anticipation by many critics of the state’s illegal occupation of Palestine and system of racial and religious apartheid.

Some asked how Mr Netanyahu feels about the courageous young Israeli refusists, who face stigma and legal consequences for refusing to serve in Israel’s armed forces.

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Others wanted to know how Mr Netanyahu cares to defend his continued occupation and military assaults on Palestinians. In the last decade, Israel has launched no fewer than five large-scale military offensives against those living in Gaza. The Summer of 2014 saw Israel launch a 51-day air, ground and sea assault on the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces killed 2,104 Palestinians, of whom 1,462 have been identified as civilians, including 495 children. They destroyed the homes of more than 108,000 people and over 10,000 people (a third of them children) were left with life-altering injuries. I was reporting on the ground from Gaza during this period and what I saw amounted to nothing short of a massacre.

Others wished to know how Mr Netanyahu’s armed forces can continue calling themselves ‘The Most Moral Army In The World’, given the appalling track record of unlawful imprisonment, torture and killing of civilians.

Those who publicly condemn the actions of Israel have come under fire of late for accusations of antisemitism – some of which bear merit, and most of which form part of a well-established smear campaign designed to discredit the apartheid state’s internal and external critics. A recent editorial in The Canary lays this out in detail so we will not rehearse it here.

It appears Twitter users are nevertheless unwilling to surrender their opposition to the brutal and illegal occupation, or their commitment to peace and justice in the region.

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