“Kidnapped” posters serve genocidal sentiment

Posters bearing images of Israeli captives in Gaza with the word 'genocide' scribbled across

“Kidnapped” posters on a Manhattan street corner.

Michael Nigro SIPA USA

They are instantly recognizable: sporting a stark red, white, and black color scheme, with the word “Kidnapped” in capital letters, a series of visually arresting posters depicting Israeli captives taken during the launching of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on 7 October have been spotted all across the globe.

According to the KidnappedFromIsrael website, the posters were created by New York-based Israeli artists Nitzan Mintz and Dede Bandaid and designed by Tal Huber (owner and designer of Israeli branding company Giraff) and Shira Gershoni.

Mintz and Bandaid insist the “Kidnapped” posters are not political. The Kidnapped website states the campaign’s goal is simply to “maximize awareness” and advises volunteers who post the posters not to “provoke or instigate conflicts with people or officials.”

Yet whatever the verity behind the campaign’s proclaimed intent, these posters have played a concerning role in the targeting of activists for Palestine across the country, who are increasingly being subjected to harassment and doxxing in a post-7 October climate of intense backlash to support for Palestinian freedom that has been described as a “new McCarthyism.”

The “Kidnapped” posters have not only been used in a confrontational fashion against pro-Palestine demonstrations. They have also become a focal point for the doxxing of individuals who choose to remove them from public spaces, a process that has been greatly enabled by media outlets such as the New York Post.

Artists 4 Israel is an organization that opposes the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) call. The organization, which claims to “prevent the spread of anti-Israel bigotry through art,” recently funded a 2,500 square foot display of the posters in Culver City in response to the posters being taken down.

Artists 4 Israel has previously teamed up with Taglit-Birthright to host hip hop tours whitewashing Israel’s colonial and apartheid violence against Palestinians.

Blacklist sites

Doxxing refers to the sharing of personal information online, often to initiate harassment campaigns and even threaten employment status. It has been a strategy of anti-Palestinian repression since at least 2015, when Canary Mission, the then newly-launched online blacklist site, urged its viewers to “ensure that today’s radicals are not tomorrow’s employees.”

Individuals filmed taking down the “Kidnapped” posters have faced various outcomes, including being fired from their jobs.

And anti-Palestinian blacklist sites, new and old, seem to be coalescing around the posters as a new pretext for directing harassment.

“Learn who these ‘Kidnapped poster’ rippers are,” the aforementioned Canary Mission states on a page dedicated to targeting individuals who have taken down “Kidnapped” posters.

The blacklist group StopAntisemitism, which appears to be behind much of the internet doxxing, has been offering “rewards” of $1,000 for viewers to identify anyone filmed removing posters.

JewBelong, a registered non-profit that has engaged in targeted digital harassment of pro-Palestine activists in the past, has also been getting in on the action.

JewBelong is known for its distinctive hot-pink billboards and social media posts with messaging that supports Israel and its state ideology Zionism.

Well before Israel’s latest genocidal campaign in Gaza, JewBelong co-founder Archie Gottesman called for a Gaza genocide, posting on X (formerly Twitter), “Gaza is full of monsters. Time to burn the whole place.”

The organization’s latest messaging demonizes Palestinian resistance and makes light of Israel’s mass execution of Palestinians in Gaza. Its current billboard campaign has included messages such as “Hamas would chop your head off, too” and “Let’s be clear: Hamas is your problem too.”

Abusing anti-Semitism

In December 2023, a group of anti-Zionist Jewish activists altered the billboards in protest at JewBelong’s messaging.

A since deleted JewBelong Instagram post that civil rights lawyer Zahra Billo accused of “gaslighting” about Israel’s current genocide in Gaza read: “Trust me. If Israel wanted to commit genocide in Gaza, it could.”

In an Instagram post encouraging followers to participate in making sure individuals who take down “Kidnapped” posters lose their jobs, JewBelong links to an account called The Jew Hate Database.

The Jew Hate Database was co-founded by David and Goliath Project founder David Kay and actor Noa Lindberg. Echoing Canary Mission’s modus operandi, in an interview with Israeli i24 News, Kay remarked that the “mission” of the “database” (which regularly boosts Israeli propaganda in addition to doxxing individuals who take down “Kidnapped” posters) is “not only to raise awareness but create real-life consequences for people who proudly express their Jew hatred online and offline.”

When pressed for examples of the “kinds of incidents” the co-founders are confronting, Lindberg immediately begins with “removing posters from the streets.”

As StopAntisemitism does for people who speak out in support of Palestine, the Jew Hate Database combines call outs of genuine anti-Semitism (such as Holocaust denial) with posts attempting to doxx individuals who take down the “Kidnapped” posters, thereby perpetuating the assumption that taking down the posters is unquestionably an anti-Semitic act.

The extent to which anti-Palestinian blacklist sites like the Jew Hate Database and its predecessors are able to successfully convince the broader public that there is no reason for tearing the “Kidnapped” posters down aside from anti-Semitism (or “Jew hate”) in turn shapes the tenor of support for the various repercussions that these doxxing campaigns are intended to initiate.

Criminalizing Palestine solidarity

And these repercussions are dire. In an interview with BreakThrough News, Hafiza Khalique described how New York University suspended her after another NYU student filmed her taking down “Kidnapped” posters on campus and circulated the recording on social media, calling for Khalique to be doxed.

StopAntisemitism was among the coterie of organizations to boost the video.

Khalique describes facing “relentless backlash” from right-wing outlets for weeks as her personal information continued to be shared publicly across outlets and platforms. NYU’s only response to the harassment was to halt Khalique’s scholarship on 13 November and refuse to cover her housing, effectively rendering Khalique homeless.

In a call to action post on X demanding Khalique’s reinstatement, the non-profit organization Dissenters described NYU’s decision as one that “has welcomed an onslaught of Islamophobic and anti-Arab action on campus.”

There is a strategic utility to Zionist demonization of the Palestinian liberation struggle. If Palestinian resistance fighters really are nothing more than barbaric, hate-driven monsters, and if all individual supporters of Palestinian freedom really are just anti-Semites using the Palestinian cause as a proxy for bigotry, then there is no need to understand how Israel oppresses Palestinians.

Thus any retaliatory measure – from genocide in Gaza to doxxing, firing and expelling activists for Palestine across the world – is justified without question.

The criminalization of Palestine activism has reached fever pitch. We have seen the passage of resolutions that criminalize student activism for Palestine and equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

There have been US Congressional inquisitions geared towards punishing university officials for being insufficiently harsh on student activists for Palestine, and the pressure on universities from lawmakers to police student activism continues to this day. Educators and students at all levels, from K-12 to universities, continue to be penalized for expressing support for Palestinians.

At a moment when institutional repression is so reflexive, it is crucial to reject the Zionist-manufactured consensus of hatred and extremism as the sole explanations for why individuals might oppose the presence of the “Kidnapped” posters. Rethinking baseline assumptions about what has driven individuals to take them down in turn facilitates a necessary reconsideration of the staggering and disproportionate doxxing-facilitated forms of discipline and censure that Zionist blacklist sites and their accomplices have successfully facilitated.

Ahmed ElKoussa, a Florida dentist who was immediately fired after being filmed taking down the posters, claimed in an interview with his attorney that he was worried that the presence of the posters could stoke Islamophobic sentiment.

Hassan Shibly, ElKoussa’s attorney, claimed that ElKoussa took down the posters following the murder of Wadea al-Fayoume, the 6-year-old boy who was stabbed to death by his landlord.

The landlord targeted Wadea and his mother for their Palestinian identity and Muslim faith.

Shibly noted that ElKoussa was “motivated by fear of copycat acts” given that the landlord “had been radicalized” by anger at images of al-Aqsa Flood.

“It was never about what was on the posters,” Khalique said in her own interview. “It was about the message the posters sent. And they are used to justify the genocide that is happening in Gaza right now.”

Genocidal messaging

Khalique is not alone in her justification. Another activist who goes by Beth spoke to HellGate about being doxxed by StopAntisemitism after she removed “Kidnapped” posters in New York out of the conviction that they were “propaganda designed to manufacture consent for the bombing of Gaza.”

US government support for the Israeli captives, and concomitant condemnation of Hamas, to the point that unverified propaganda is parroted as fact by officials as high up as President Joe Biden, remains the political status quo.

And the Israeli government itself continues to reject deals offered by Hamas that would result in the release of all captives.

This recalcitrance, coupled with increasing evidence that the Israeli military shot at least some of their own captives (as opposed to the narrative that Hamas engaged in a campaign of wanton slaughter, rape and kidnap), suggest a more cynical value that the captives hold for the Israeli government. The captives continue to provide symbolic leverage for unquestioned deference to Zionist political designs.

That appears far more important to Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and many of Israel’s supporters than the physical well being of the captives themselves.

If the “Kidnapped” posters are truly more than a strategic tool for anti-Palestinian harassment, as their creators maintain, it’s difficult to imagine precisely how they are intended to facilitate the return of Israeli captives given such a state of affairs. At the very least, their placement would be better-suited to Israeli consulates rather than demonstrations for Palestine.

By contrast, in a climate of reflexive anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian racism and Islamophobia, it’s not difficult to see how the posters perform the work of cultivating outrage rather than awareness.

As Greg Grandin writes for The Intercept, contrasting the “Kidnapped” posters with other visual campaigns for missing and disappeared peoples across the world rooted in universality and humanism rather than vengeance: “The statement of the ‘Kidnapped’ posters is different: We want you to share our outrage against Hamas’ atrocities, but the pain and right of retribution, unlimited, belongs to Israel alone.”

With Israel refusing to distinguish between Hamas and Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and the Western corporate media apparatus enabling Israeli violence by continuing to report debunked Zionist propaganda tropes such as Hamas fighters having committed mass rape as fact – which the “Kidnapped” campaign also does – it’s not difficult to see how the posters act as their own form of propaganda to continue to justify Israeli atrocities.

To that end, it is not awareness, but pro-genocidal sentiment as well as unlimited harassment and repression of Palestinians and their allies that the “Kidnapped” posters ultimately serve to maximize.

Omar Zahzah is a writer, poet, organizer, and Assistant Professor of Arab, Muslim, Ethnicities, and Diasporas (AMED) Studies at San Francisco State University.




The obliteration of the Palestinian story of the Nakba has been a carefully constructed policy within our Western societies. The average western citizen will have no knowledge of the atrocities of mass murder and systematic rape that was inflicted on the palestinians from 1947 onward. Indeed it is almost unheard the history of terrorism by Jewish /Zionists prior to that date and yet it was so successful it drove a major European power out of Palestine. If it was not for the histroes recorded by Zionists like Benny Morris we would have nothing of those times, so successful has been the destruction of documents and books by the Jewish state.
Try not to degrade yourself with anger at this deception, but continue to educate the world about this, one of the saddest mistakes of post WW2 colonialism. i know i will continue to lose friends, and at my time of life it is hard to make new ones, still I will not give into the universal human evils of hate and genocide. We have to be better than this.


There was a time when an accusation of being an anti-Semite was the Kiss of Death. It has been used so much against honest and well-meaning people that that time is long past.


They are out on a limb here. All they have is suburban pity over basically what amounts to blonde white girls against scary brown men. with the simplest zoom out their argument falls apart, any deeper look into the history or even just modern existence they become genocidal monsters.

It is time for the world Jewish community to wake up and realise that if no action is taken the star of david will soon join the ranks of the swastika and there will be decades of hate crimes and terror which no one (besides ACTUAL nut cases and extremists) wants but by conflating peace activist and basically all opposition as such they give perfect cover as well.

Their mall ad of a psyop will crumble in time... Questions they prayed the world wouldn't ask are being answered, history is being learned the veil is lifting and their actions show they are in crisis.


The current climate of systematic targeting of anyone ,no matter how insignificant their advocacy of a free Palestine is , is truly disturbing to witness. It does not bode well for the western world that seems to either ignore or out of ignorance not recognise what this means for a free society . This kind of censorship on this scale does not end here.


" Israelica " is full of terrorists. Being forced to be pro-Israel is being forced to accept fascism. i object. F#ck Wasrael.

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