Greta Thunberg today deleted a pro-Palestine social media post after critics claimed a stuffed octopus in the photo could be viewed as an ‘anti-Semitic’ symbol – with the activist saying the toy helps with her autism.
The 20-year-old wrote: ‘Today we are striking in solidarity with Palestine and Gaza. The world needs to speak up and call for an immediate ceasefire, justice and freedom for Palestinians and all civilians affected.’
While many criticised her for failing to condemn Hamas attacks on Israel, others questioned why the image of her with three other activists featured a blue octopus, branding it an ‘anti-Semitic trope’ for an imaginary worldwide Jewish conspiracy.
In response, Ms Thunberg deleted the original photo and replaced it with one showing the octopus cropped out.
She wrote: ‘It has come to my knowledge that the stuffed animal shown in my earlier post can be interpreted as a symbol for antisemitism, which I was completely unaware of.
‘The toy in the picture is a tool often used by autistic people as a way to communicate feelings. We are of course against any type of discrimination, and condemn antisemitism in all forms and shapes. This is non-negotiable. That is why I deleted the last post.’
Greta Thunberg shared a photo in which she was seen holding a sign reading ‘Stand with Gaza’. Some questioned why the post included a stuffed octopus
In response, Ms Thunberg deleted the original photo and replaced it with one showing the octopus cropped out
The Swede explained she was ‘completely aware’ of the symbolism of an octopus and said she used the toy to help with her autism
Following Ms Thunberg’s first post, she was accused of glossing over terror attacks by Hamas which killed 1,400 people in Israel
Following Ms Thunberg’s first post, she was accused of glossing over terror attacks by Hamas which killed 1,400 people in Israel.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism said: ‘Greta Thunberg has a lot to say about a lot of things. But, judging by her social media output, expressing sympathy for the biggest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust does not appear to be among them.
‘This post directs followers to a series of odious organisations, some fringe Jewish groups but all deeply hostile to the Jewish state. Ms Thunberg spends her life campaigning for greater awareness about the future of our planet.
‘Given the organisations that she is signposting here, she might want to take a moment to reflect on what kind of human society will live on it.’
Investigative journalist David Collier tweeted: ‘Not a word about Israeli victims… not a word about the terrorist attack… not a word about the hostages….’
John Aziz, who describes himself as a British-Palestinian musician, said: ‘Greta Thunberg called for a ceasefire, but did not call for the release of the innocent Israeli hostages.
‘The world is already forgetting the terrible crimes of October 7th that caused this war.’
Others called her an ’embarrassment’ and ‘an opportunist’.
Tamar Schwarzbard, head of digital operations at Israel’s foreign ministry, wrote: ‘Hamas missiles aren’t made of sustainable materials.
‘They also murdered teenagers who could have been your friends. Please speak up.’
And Daniel Sugarman, director of public affairs at the Jewish Board of Deputies, said: ‘Greta Thunberg suddenly doing a bunch of tweeting about Gaza while reducing the 1,400 people massacred by Hamas last week and the nearly 200 hostages taken to ”and all civilians affected” is probably the least surprising thing ever.’
It came as Outlander star Sam Heughan rowed back on his involvement in a controversial luvvies’ letter condemning Israel for its attacks on Palestine and said he ‘inadvertently signed something’ that does not reflect his beliefs.
The letter was signed by more than 2,000 actors, musicians and artists, and accused the British Government of ‘not only tolerating war crimes but aiding and abetting them’. It led to criticism the authors have failed to condemn terror attacks by Hamas.
But Heughan, 43, said he didn’t ‘fully understand’ the document’s intentions, adding that he ‘stood against terrorism and evil’ and was ‘appalled by the recent horrific actions by Hamas’.
In a post on Twitter yesterday, the actor wrote: ‘I inadvertently signed something that does not reflect my beliefs. I believed it was a simple call for peace. It wasn’t.
Others called Ms Thunberg an ’embarrassment’ and ‘an opportunist’ for her intervention
‘I condemn violence in any form. I stand against terrorism and evil and am heartbroken and appalled by the recent horrific actions by Hamas. It’s haunting to the core, my heart goes out to all affected.
‘I don’t know nearly enough and [I am] trying to educate myself on the conflicts in the Middle East. I feel helpless and wish I could help in some way. I pray for compassion, for all the innocent people affected. Peace and love to you all.’
Ms Thunberg was pictured on another climate change protest yesterday, a day after being charged with a public order offence.
The activist joined a protest outside JP Morgan demanding the bank stops funding fossil fuels.
Along with the group Fossil Free London, she stood outside the entrance in Canary Wharf this morning.
They moved to block the entrances of the bank by sitting on the pavement chanting ‘oily money out’ and waving yellow flags and banners.
It came just one day after Thunberg was charged with a public order offence following a protest outside a central London hotel.
Scotland Yard said protesters were asked to move from the road onto the pavement to avoid breaching the conditions on Tuesday.
Greta Thunberg takes part in a Fossil Free London protest outside JP Morgan in Canary Wharf yesterday
The Swedish climate activist shouts slogans through a megaphone during the demonstration
Thunberg was one of 26 people charged following Tuesday’s rally outside the InterContinental Hotel in Park Lane which was hosting a major meeting of oil executives.
In today’s demonstration outside JP Morgan, protesters said the bank has been a major source of funding of fossil fuel projects since the Paris Agreement, when governments agreed to limit global average temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
Fossil Free London campaigner Henry, who declined to give his last name, said: ‘Since the Paris climate agreement they have been the worst financiers of fossil fuels, having provided $434billion (£357billion) in finances.
‘They are making billions of profit every year at a time of worsening inequality when so much of the world is being devastated by the climate crisis.
‘We think there should be no new fossil fuel investment or financing from JP Morgan and we think that some of their billions of profits should go towards loss and damage to the communities affected by climate change and provide the financing for adaptation and mitigation measures.’
JP Morgan has declined to comment.
Thunberg was arrested by police during Tuesday’s rally outside the InterContinental Hotel in Park Lane which was hosting a major meeting of oil executives
The activist, wearing a large badge reading ‘Oily Money Out’, was one of 26 people arrested at the rally
She was led to a police van as activists watched on and smiled as officers told protesters to stand back
After Tuesday’s rally, Thunberg was charged with failing to comply with a condition imposed under Section 14 of the Public Order Act.
Officers said they asked the protesters to move from the road onto the pavement which would have allowed them to continue protesting legally.
They said they had imposed conditions to ‘prevent disruption to the public’.
She was bailed to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on November 15.
A Met Police spokesman said: ‘We have charged 26 people after a protest outside a hotel in central London.
‘Officers responded to the protest on the morning of Tuesday October 17 and imposed conditions to prevent disruption to the public.
‘The protestors were asked to move from the road onto the pavement, which would enable them to continue with their demonstration without breaching the conditions.’