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February 3, 2014 10:27 pm

Ha’aretz Tweets Anti-Johansson Meme, Issues Clarification After Readers Protest

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Ha'aretz issued a clarification after readers protested to its use of the altered image. Photo: Screenshot / Twitter.

Ha'aretz issued a clarification after readers protested to its use of the altered image. Photo: Screenshot / Twitter.

Israeli daily Ha’aretz tweeted an altered photo of Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson as celebrity spokeswoman for Israel’s SodaStream to its 122,000 followers on Sunday, offending readers whose complaints prompted the newspaper to issue a clarification, though it stopped short of a formal apology.

With the caption,”The sip heard around the world,” Ha’aretz posted a screenshot of the actress, posing with a soda straw and carbonated beverage in hand, superimposed in front of a chain link security fence enclosing a group of Arabs.

Twitter users replied to Ha’aretz’s post to say they were upset.

‘Yoni C’ wrote, “ridiculous image @haaretzcom you should really be ashamed, but of course, you probably aren’t.”

‘ZalmiU’ said, “@haaretzcom If only Goebbels had PhotoShop.”

Incredulous, ‘Act for Israel’ wrote, “!!! @haaretzcom Interns running your Twitter feed? Or have you officially lost it?”

The internet meme had already been making its way around the Twitter-verse in the past week since the actress chose to end her eight-year “Global Ambassadorship” for Oxfam in favor of working for SodaStream, once the charity criticized her involvement with the carbonated beverage machine company because of its factory located over the Green Line.

Ha'aretz Twitter readers protested its use of the altered picture. Photo: Screenshot / Twitter.

Ha'aretz Twitter readers protested its use of the altered picture. Photo: Screenshot / Twitter.

After the Super Bowl, on Monday morning, Ha’aretz responded with a clarification tweet that read, “CLARIFICATION: We tweeted a meme attacking Scarlett Johansson’s SodaStream ad. This shouldn’t be seen as an endorsement.”

Judge Dan, of the Israellycool blog, replied: “No, you tweeted a meme attacking Israel.”

Another user, Mark Jacobs wrote that the newspaper’s clarification wasn’t “good enough.”

He said, “You tweeted a PhotoShopped image – with anti-Semitic overtones – designed to promote BDS. Apologize.”

In October, Ha’aretz faced similarly upset online readers when it had to retract its concert review of U.S. pop singer Rihanna’s Tel Aviv concert, after it literally put words in her mouth, changing her lyrics to protest Israel’s role with Palestinians.

At the time, BuzzFeed publicly chastised the newspaper for starting the false rumor that quickly spread: “Details are coming out that Rihanna changing the lyrics to her song was not correct. All the previous articles about her changing the lyrics are sourced to the original Haaretz piece,” BuzzFeed wrote.

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