This might just be the world’s worst hashtag — ever.
Hours after a Palestinian terrorist stabbed 12 people on board a Tel Aviv bus, extremists took to social media to praise his actions with #JeSuisCouteau, which is French for “I am the knife.”
The hashtag, a clear play on the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag used around the world to express support for the people of Paris after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, has the opposite effect: Instead of supporting the victims of violence, it supports the perpetrator.
#jesuiscouteaupic.twitter.com/ov22yrIJEA— Princess. بيتو♥️ (@princess58711) January 21, 2015
“Palestine more damaged than Charlie,” one image states, linking together two separate issues and drawing a comparison that trivializes the deadly assault on Paris’s satirical newspaper. This profoundly misguided response is perhaps not surprising when we consider the cues given by people like Hamas spokesman Izzat al-Risheq, who praised today’s attack, saying, “The heroic stabbing incident against the Zionist in Tel Aviv is a daring and heroic act. It comes as a natural response to the terrorist occupation crimes against our people.”
#jesuiscouteaupic.twitter.com/aEwgQvcxs6— carole (@CaroleMakhlouf) January 21, 2015
Some tweets even seem to draw a visual connection between the Charlie Hebdo killing and the Tel Aviv attack. This cartoon, for example, says “10 stabs for those who don’t pray for the prophet.” Notice the bus in the background bearing the Star of David and that #40 — the bus line targeted by the terrorist, identified as 23-year-old Hamza Mohammed Hasan Matrouk, earlier today.
“@Mus3bPAL: و 10 بعين اللي ما يصلّي ع النبي.. pic.twitter.com/mZwKRxbjbv“ #JeSuisCouteau— خالتي زريفة JSG (@KhaltiZareefa) January 21, 2015
Still other tweets try to highlight a discrepancy between Western reactions to Israeli violence against Palestinians (see the cavalier response in panel #1) and Palestinian violence against Israelis (see the outraged response in panel #2).
#غرد_بصورةpic.twitter.com/fxzvdZTkh5#طاعن#JeSuisCouteau#غزه— هلال البلوي (@0F5) January 21, 2015
The #JeSuisCouteau hashtag has been shared on social media almost 4000 times in the past few hours alone, according to the social media measuring site Topsy.
Probably lost on most of those social media users is the hashtag’s (unwitting?) allusion to French author Charles Baudelaire, who used the phrase “I am the knife” in his famous work, Fleurs du Mal: “Je suis la plaie,” he wrote, “et le couteau!”
Sigal Samuel is the Opinion Editor at the Forward. When she’s not tackling race or identity politics, she’s hunting down her Indian Jewish family’s Kabbalistic secret society. Her novel THE MYSTICS OF MILE END tells the story of a dysfunctional family with a dangerous mystical obsession. Her writing has also appeared in The Daily Beast, The Rumpus, and BuzzFeed. Contact Sigal at firstname.lastname@example.org, check out her author website, like her page on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.