Labour MP ‘sorry’ for sharing ‘fake news’ about IDF abusing Palestinian youth

A Labour MP has apologised for sharing a video which he claimed was of Israeli soldiers beating a Palestinian youth – but which was actually  actually of Guatemalan troops.

Grahame Morris came in for criticism on Monday after posting a video on Twitter showing a young man being beaten, and claiming it was personnel  from the IDF.

He tweeted: “Marvellous, absolutely marvellous the Israeli Army, the best financed, best trained, best equipped army in the world caught on camera beating up Palestinian children for the fun of it. May God forgive them. What would Jim Royle say on an Easter Monday.”

Twitter users were quick to point out that the video he shared was not of Israeli soldiers, but Guatemalan troops, as reported by Al Jazeera in August 2015.

Swindon deleted the tweet quoted by Morris, though the MP’s message sent at 5:14 PM, was up for at least four hours, garnering thousands of comments in criticism.

On Tuesday morning, Morris tweeted: “I am sorry for sharing a post which purports to show the IDF hurting children but it was in fact the Guatemalan Army. My error demonstrates the dangers of fake news online and I will be more diligent in future in checking my sources.”

Labour declined to comment, but highlighted Morris had replied in response to another Twitter user who told him he’d “got this one wrong”.

Morris said: “you are right and many apologies for my honest mistake there are lots of verifiable documented examples of the IDF abusing Palestinian child prisoners I have seen for myself in Court in the West Bank – but am harvesting and documenting a few more of my trolls yet thanks”.

The Jewish Leadership Council responded saying: “Grahame Morris’s half-hearted apology is something we have seen far too often when people are exposed for their hatred of Israel. Rather than apologising unequivocally and promising to do better, he has chosen hostility and the spreading of fake news over sincerity and accuracy.”

The Israel Defense Forces responded to Morris demanding an apology. It’s Twitter account wrote: “The only marvellous thing here are your lies. These are not IDF soldiers. Apologies would be in order.”

Luke Akehurst, Director of We Believe in Israel said: “The last thing a conflict as sensitive and complex as the Israel/Palestinian one needs is fake news like this, smearing Israel with videos of abuse from Guatemala, and throwing in quasi-religious references.”

Swindon has previously posted antisemitic conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds, and earlier on Monday, Morris retweeted her after she shared a video of soldiers in Hebron at a checkpoint for Palestinians. Swindon said: “when people tell you Gaza is like a prison it is not an exaggeration.”

Dave Rich of the CST posted in response: “This is what happens when Labour MPs treat anonymous Twitter trolls as credible voices: the video is from Guatemala, not Israel. And no, the Israeli army is not the best financed or equipped army in the world. Not even close.”

Morris has a history of controversy, in 2014 appearing to compare Israel to the Nazis. TheMP for Easington posted a comment to a picture of Israeli flags, alongside the words: “Nazis in my village, do you see the flag they fly” and conceded it was “poorly worded”.

Later that year in September 2014, he caused further outrage by comparing Israeli army volunteers from the UK to British foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq with ISIS. He said at the time: “will British citizens fighting in the Israel defence forces be treated in the same way as those returning from Syria and Iraq?”

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