Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has come under fire for promoting false information on social media over the weekend. The post in question claimed that 614 Palestinian children had been killed by Israeli forces, using a photo of dead children to support the claim. However, it has been revealed that the photo is actually from a 2013 incident in Syria, where the children died from chemical weapon poisoning.
The post in question was shared by self-described "investigative journalist" Sulaiman Ahmed, who has a history of promoting anti-Semitic and false information. Congresswoman Omar then shared the post with her nearly three million followers on X, perpetuating the false claims.
However, it quickly came to light that the photo used in the post was not from Gaza, as claimed, but rather from an incident in Syria in 2013. The photo was taken by National Geographic and shows children who died from chemical weapon poisoning in Damascus.
Ilhan Omar has reposted an image purported to be from Gaza but is actually a 2013 image of child victims of the Assad regime's Eastern Ghouta gas attack.
This is a sitting Congresswoman. I have absolutely no words. pic.twitter.com/To3qrHIGP3
— Kareem Rifai 🌐 (@KareemRifai) October 14, 2023
Omar faced immediate backlash online for promoting false propaganda and perpetuating misinformation. Human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky called out Omar on X, stating that she was "literally RT'ing fake news." NBC News deputy tech editor Ben Goggin also chimed in, noting that Sulaiman has a history of posting misinformation during the current conflict in Gaza.
Even former New York Democratic lawmaker Dov Hikind joined in the criticism, calling out both Congresswomen Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Ocasio-Cortez had recently posted on X about the amount of misinformation circulating on social media, urging people to fact-check before sharing information. However, Hikind pointed out that she should have a word with Omar about her promotion of false information.
Sulaiman Ahmed is a notorious peddler of not only disinformation and anti-Semitism, but lies about Jews and Israel writ large.
This is a truly despicable guy during a week where many, many people illustrated hate and repugnant behavior. https://t.co/ULgSGKWLrW
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 15, 2023
In addition to sharing the post, the Israeli government also demonstrated how misinformation is being used to further the narrative against Israel. They released a video showing Palestinians attempting to pass off a doll as a dead child, in an effort to garner sympathy and paint Israel in a negative light.
Congresswoman Omar has yet to address the backlash or acknowledge the false claim she shared. As tensions continue to rise in Gaza, it is important for individuals to fact-check information before sharing it on social media. Misinformation only adds fuel to the fire and makes it harder to find a resolution to the ongoing conflict.
Hamas accidentally posted a video of a doll (yes a doll) suggesting that it was a part of casualties caused by an IDF attack. pic.twitter.com/U14Lb2BOhv
— Israel ישראל 🇮🇱 (@Israel) October 13, 2023