WASHINGTON - The IDF officer who led the army's social media
campaign during Operation Pillar of Defense
came under attack on Tuesday after a photo he posted on his own Facebook page was branded as racist.
The image showed Lieutenant Sacha Dratwa, 26, with his face smeared in mud or dark paint under the caption "Obama style."
Dratwa, who made aliyah from Belgium eight years ago, was cited last week by online magazines Tablet and Gawker for his efforts to cast the IDF's actions in a positive light using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other social networking sites.
Dratwa's photo on ABC news
But the "Twitter warrior' had to go on the defensive after a Lebanese blogger came upon the inappropriate photo and decided to publicly ridicule it, according to the New York Times.
"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," Amal Saad-Ghorayeb wrote in her blog.
While the snapshot is typical for visitors of the Dead Sea,
where the mud is said to have healing qualities, the caption clearly invokes blackface, the NYT wrote.
Dratwa promptly blocked access to the photo and changed his privacy settings on Facebook, limiting public content.
"There have been attempts to make use of private photos from my Facebook profile in order to publicly misrepresent my opinions," the officer wrote in a public message on his timeline. "Due to the amount of public attention I've garnered in recent days I have decided to restrict access to my page, in order to protect my privacy and prevent further cynical use of the information therein.
"I am, and have always been, completely candid about my beliefs and have nothing to hide – as reflected by my Facebook profile, which until recently was open to everyone. The aforementioned photos do not reflect my beliefs and have no bearing whatsoever on my position in the IDF."
The NYT further noted that Dratwa's past posts on social media offer insight into the officer's political views. This past October he posited in a blog post that Mitt Romney
is likely to win the presidential election in the US. He wrote that President Barack Obama "sold a dream," in 2008, but “But with dreams no one can fill his fridge or feed his children.”
“Americans today need a father who is able to lead the country with a strong hand, not a dreamer," he added.