The young environmental advocate faced allegations of sharing an image that was anti-Semitic in nature. Greta Thunberg, hailing from Sweden, drew criticism for an online post in which she expressed solidarity with the Palestinian cause on a social media platform formerly known as Twitter. Following public backlash, she removed her initial post.
Last Friday, Thunberg uploaded a picture featuring herself and three other females holding signs that conveyed pro-Palestinian sentiments. She captioned it, “Standing in unity with Palestine and Gaza today,” advocating for a halt in Middle Eastern hostilities and demanding “justice and freedom for Palestinians, and all affected civilians.”
Thunberg’s Stance Sparks Anti-Semitism Debate
Controversy erupted when observers noticed that one woman in the photograph had a small blue stuffed octopus on her lap. This imagery was seen as reminiscent of anti-Semitic tropes that liken Jews to predatory octopuses with extensive, controlling tentacles—a narrative employed notably during Nazi rule to propagate false ideas and conspiracies about Jews and Judaism.
In response, Thunberg promptly deleted her initial post and uploaded a revised version of the photo with the stuffed octopus removed. She clarified, “I was not aware that the soft toy displayed in my previous post could be seen as an anti-Semitic symbol. The toy is a communication aid often used by individuals with autism to express their emotions.”Read:Abbas and Biden Discuss Gaza Crisis, Aid Plans
She further stated her commitment to combating all forms of discrimination, specifically condemning anti-Semitism. She elucidated the reason for removing her earlier post, stating, “We vehemently oppose all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism.”
While Thunberg had her share of defenders who pointed out that the octopus symbol has been a recurring theme in various forms of political and satirical art, her actions were sharply criticized by official Israeli channels on the social media platform. They questioned her position, stating that Hamas’ rocketry, constructed from non-sustainable materials, has led to the killing of innocent Israelis.
Arye Sharuz Shalicar, a former spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, escalated the criticism, suggesting that future support for Thunberg would be tantamount to supporting terrorism. However, he later retracted his statement, indicating that his comments were driven by emotional pain and did not reflect his actual opinions or those of the IDF.Read:Who benefits from nord stream sabotage?
Thunberg initially rose to prominence in 2018 for her solitary protest outside Sweden’s parliament, calling for urgent climate action. Since then, she has taken her message to international stages, including the United Nations, and has faced multiple detentions for her activism.