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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Netanyahu Did NOT Call For Israeli Return To Ancient Homeland Of Iran

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Fri, 11 May 2018 08:35:58 Z)

Did Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu call for a return to the ancient homeland of Iran by the Jewish people? No, that's not true. The story originated from a well known satire site that posted the article to make fun of Israel's settlement policy on the West Bank of the Jordan river. Many people in the Middle Eeast are probably not aware The Onion is not a real news website and anything they post is made up for entertainment purposes only.

The Iran article appeared on May 10, 2018 under the headline "Netanyahu Begins Calling For Israeli Return To Ancient Homeland Of Iran" (archived here) and opened:

JERUSALEM--Declaring that it was long past time for his people to live once again on their ancestral soil, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly began calling Thursday for the Israeli return to their ancient homeland of Iran. "The land of Iran has long been part of our heritage, and we implore the international community to work with us to ensure its return to the independent Jewish state," said Netanyahu, adding that Israel was willing to use military force if necessary to reoccupy all 636,400 square miles of present-day Iran that were historically included in the promised land bestowed upon the Jewish people by biblical mandate.

Screenshot of https://www.theonion.com/netanyahu-begins-calling-for-israeli-return-to-ancient-1825925581

The article claims the "so-called Islamic cities of Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan" were founded on top of ancient Jewish kingdoms and it specifically mentions the Imam Reza Holy Shrine, the Jamkaran Mosque, and the Zoroastrian Fire Temple of Chak-Chak as "Jewish" holy sites.

But none of that is real and Netanyahu never said any of it. There is no need to get angry or upset about it and if you see people believing these claims you can reassure them they are not real.

The Onion is one of the oldest and best known satire websites on the internet. Their about page claims:

The Onion is the world's leading news publication, offering highly acclaimed, universally revered coverage of breaking national, international, and local news events. Rising from its humble beginnings as a print newspaper in 1756, The Onion now enjoys a daily readership of 4.3 trillion and has grown into the single most powerful and influential organization in human history.

In addition to maintaining a towering standard of excellence to which the rest of the industry aspires, The Onion supports more than 350,000 full- and part-time journalism jobs in its numerous news bureaus and manual labor camps stationed around the world, and members of its editorial board have served with distinction in an advisory capacity for such nations as China, Syria, Somalia, and the former Soviet Union. On top of its journalistic pursuits, The Onion also owns and operates the majority of the world's transoceanic shipping lanes, stands on the nation's leading edge on matters of deforestation and strip mining, and proudly conducts tests on millions of animals daily.

If you somehow find that hard to believe: you are right. Scroll down a bit futher on that page and you'll find this:

What if I want to sue The Onion?
Please do not do that. The First Amendment protects satire as a form of free speech and expression. The Onion uses invented names in all of its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental. The Onion is not intended for readers under 18 years of age.

Articles from The Onion are frequently mistaken for real news by people on social media that only see the headline, short description and thumbnail image. Being one of the best known satire sites their articles also frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites that don't carry a satire disclaimer. Always Google before sharing something that sounds improbable!

We wrote about theonion.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk
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