Social media is all over the latest charge against Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, this time thanks to an outrageous Facebook post by a British Muslim activist who is certain a group of covert Israelis broke into his home to mess with his mind and steal one of his shoes.
Asghar Bukhari, a founding member of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPACK UK), posted what The Independent newspaper labeled “the world’s silliest conspiracy theory“, charging “Zionists trying to intimidate me” by breaking in and stealing one of his shoes.
The strange rant, hardly the first of its kind to hit the Internet, went viral thanks to a hilarious photo accompanying the original post (of one shoddy shoe beside a bare foot), a subsequent YouTube tirade and a hashtag that is too funny not to share: #MossadStoleMyShoe.
The post also inspired Photoshop fans and amateur copywriters everywhere to come up with their own stolen-shoe mock-ups including one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holding a placard of a black dress shoe at the UN.
Quirky and fun responses are being uploaded at a furious pace all over social media – on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Tumblr.
Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Lesotho Mauritius & Swaziland, Arthur Lenk, teased Bukhari by tweeting, “We have your shoe” at the Israeli embassy in Pretoria.
Bukhari’s post, which he seems to have removed from Facebook but is quoted in The Independent, went like this: “ARE ZIONISTS TRYING TO INTIMIDATE ME? Someone came into my home yesterday while I was asleep. I don’t know how they got in, but they didn’t break in — the only thing they took was one shoe. Now think about that, the only thing they took was a single shoe — they left one shoe behind to let me know someone had been there.
“Of course I can’t prove anything and that’s part of the intimidation. The game is simple — to make me feel vulnerable in my own home. It’s Psychological. Neither can I do much about it.
“It is not the first time I have heard this happening. I have had another Muslim leader call me a year or so ago, in tears — she told me they had been coming into her house and rearranging things — just to let her know they had been there.
“There is one good thing that comes out of all oppression however — for those who are smart — from my misfortune, others can learn how they operate. Share this widely, for if it is happening to me, I am sure it is happening to many, many others who have not exposed it.”
British writer Mark Haddon should thank Bukhari, a fellow Brit, for handing him the sequel to his 2003 mystery novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
And Prince Charming may want to give Bukhari tips on how to go about finding his lost slipper.
Of course, crazy conspiracy theories about Israel’s intelligence agency are not new. Other charges against the Mossad to have fueled mockery instead of indignation include the 2010 shark attacks in Egypt and the 2011 Saudi Arabian vulture. In those incidents, Egyptian authorities blamed the Mossad for perpetrating shark attacks on tourists in the Red Sea as an Israeli plot to harm local tourism; and Saudi Arabian security services charged Jerusalem with sending a vulture to gather information for spying purposes.
In a world where cyber-threats have every government shaking in its boots, Bukhari’s slipper misfortunes are welcome comic relief.
(On a side note, if Bukhari really couldn’t find his shoes where he remembered leaving them and this is actually an early sign of dementia, he will be happy to know that Israel is at the forefront of research into diagnosing and treating this devastating condition.)