Sacha Dratwa, the lieutenant behind Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) social media campaign, is under fire for a Facebook photo of his face covered in mud posted with the caption ‘Obama style.’

The photo was discovered by Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, a Lebanese blogger, on Friday. By Sunday, Lieutenant Dratwa restricted access to his Facebook account and defended himself on Twitter writing “I’m not racist.”

He also released a statement on Facebook criticizing the “cynical use” of “private photos from [his] Facebook profile in order to publicly misrepresent [his] opinions.” He maintained the photos “do not reflect my beliefs and have no bearing whatsoever on my position in the IDF.” His superiors agree that the photo has no bearing on his official role.

The reactions have been varied. The Lebanese blogger who originally posted the photo believes it is racist, but begrudged Americans for being outraged about brownface and not about institutionalized racism agaisnt Palestinians:

So this is what the Zionists call social media war? An IDF spokesman who is so moronic as to keep a rabidly racist photo like brown-face on his FB profile on PUBLIC settings, so that a half-asleep Zionist-hater like myself could discover it on Friday morning within seconds of flicking through his pics? He made it too easy.

Sad to see that Americans on Twitter and elsewhere will only understand Zionist racism when viewed through their own cultural lens and lose sight of it when it is practiced in institutionalized form and in a most brutal fashion against Palestinians. But at least this is a start.

Others have tried to defend the photo, citing the fact that tourists often pose with mud on their faces.

In my opinion, the caption likening the picture to Obama clearly invokes blackface and has a blatantly racist undertone. Americans have every right to take issue with it, especially since it references our country’s leader.

What are your thoughts on Lieutenant Sacha Dratwa’s photo, Clutchettes?

  • Anthony

    I think the combination of fighting the Palestinians, the influx of Russian immigrants, and the hostility to African immigrants has resulted in a very sharp rise of racism in Israel. They might want to watch themselves, because if the USA loses much more power, they will find themselves alone in world with no friends. It makes no sense to insult people who might well be allies.

    That said, I do also wonder if the statements of support for Palestinian statehood made by many African American leaders during the 1980s in particular have influenced Israeli attitudes to African Americans? If so, it still suggests some latent racism because very few Africans have been any more supportive of the two state solution than those on the Israeli left.

  • Billy Paul

    I am surprised that other Colored people are surprised at Mr. Dratwa’s behavior.

    Fact. Non-Colored people have strong opinions about us.

    Fact. Freedom of speech applies equally to those we disagree with.

    Fact. Diversity and tolerance require sufficient resources to go around.

    Opinin. Trying to shame an alien group to act in a manner conducive to the physical/emotional/spiritual well being of the Colored people is similar to a jilted lover’s attempt to shame their lover in to compliance (“look what you did to me, aren’t you ashamed”).

  • Brandy Brown

    I’ve read the word “Jew” so much that for a second I thought I was reading Mein Kamf. At least try to be PC and say Jewish when grammar calls for it. Israel and American jewish are very different. For the most part they are ethnically different (meaning different culture and political views). While a lot of jewish people are represented by PoC Israel is vastly different in that are a country full of very white Jewish people, as indicated by the Israel Olympic team. The Lebanese blogger was right that though we are rightfully offended by his photo we should be just as offended by the treatment and second class citizen status of Palestinians in Israel. Racism breeds racism and the hate against Palestine is very much institutionalized in Israel, so of course this guy wouldn’t think twice about donning blackface.

  • Anthony

    I agree that we need to be careful to avoid using bigoted language when we criticize Israel. Using bigoted language undercuts the validity of criticism of racism when it occurs in Israel.

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

    not surprised, if you can justify oppressing n entire nation this is no big deal for you.

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