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Message on 'Israeli shell to Gaza' reads: 'That's for cancelling the Backstreet Boys, you scum!'

The American pop group were forced to cancel for safety reasons, as the tensions between Israel and Gaza grew

Jenn Selby@JennSelby
Friday 01 August 2014 15:30

It will be shocking if this image, tweeted by Israeli BDS campaigner (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel) Ronnie Barkan and picked up by Israel-Gaza news site Mondoweiss, is the genuine article.

The photograph depicts a mortar shell with the words 'That’s for cancelling the Backstreet Boys, you scum!' inscribed on its shaft in Hebrew.

The author, who appears to be a member of the IDF and a strident Backstreet fan, would have been referring to the recent rescheduling of the boyband’s first ever string of dates in Tel Aviv, which were set to start yesterday (30 August).

The American pop group were forced to cancel for safety reasons, as the tensions between Israel and Gaza grew and the Israeli government launched an aggressive offensive against the strip.

The source of the photograph appears to be a pro-Israel Defence Forces Facebook page, called ‘Standing By IDF’, which has notched up over 30,500 likes since it was founded on 23 July.

The forum encourages Israeli girls to send in messages of support to the IDF troops by posting scantily clad images of themselves posing in underwear with "<3 IDF" scrawled onto their bodies in paint and ink.

According to Barkan, the images are heavy on wordplay. The Hebrew name for the military operation, he claims, known to most as "Protective Edge", actually translates to "Hard Rock" or "Firm Cliff" – hence the bottom and breast shots.

The picture of the shell was uploaded to the same page, and appeared in several user comments.

Again, without being able to locate said shell, we have no real way of authenticating whether it exists or whether the Hebrew message has been photoshopped onto it.

What we do know, however, is that the comments underneath the image appear to be from forum users requesting similar dedications.

"We want the same dedicated to us!" a translation of the first comment underneath the picture reads.

And it might not be the first time messages had been scrawled on IDF mortar shells.

This image has been claimed to depict an Israeli girl writing onto a shell during the Israel-Lebanon conflict in 2006.

Of course, the rising death toll in Gaza - which has so far seen over 1200 Palestinians, many of whom are civilians and many under the age of 17, perish compared to 43 Israelis - lends a particularly dark tone to the entirely trivial Backstreet Boys inscription. As does the tone of the posts created on the ‘Standing By IDF’ Facebook page.

So here’s hoping it’s a fake after all.