Posted at 03:26 PM ET, 01/06/2012

‘Israeli lefty cats’ make light of tough issues in Israeli politics

Those who say the Internet is all cats got a boost this week as Israel’s webspace was overtaken by a meme dubbed “Israeli lefty cats.” Like many memes, or viral messages spread from person to person, the Israeli lefty cat photos attack social issues behind a cloak of buffoonery.

One-state solution cat. (Elizabeth Tsurkov)
On the Facebook page where the meme first spread, photos of cats are accompanied by captions that touch on hard subjects in Israeli politics, including a one-state solution, Israeli settlements and occupied territories. As progressive Web magazine 972+ points out, all the photos have been posted by left-wing Isrealis.

Memes have become an effective and quick form of social commentary around the world — combining the language of the Web with humor. On the same day as the left-leaning cats emerged, pranksters in the Philippines riffed on a new national tourism slogan, “It’s much more fun in the Philippines.” People posted dozens of pictures of things that might me more fun if they happened in the Philippines.

Although the pictures were amusing, some of the subject matter was not. One photo showed people running from a tsunami wave, accompanied by the caption: “Water sports, it’s much more fun in the Philippines.” Another photo pictured children smoking and drinking with text that read: “Legal age, it’s much more fun in the Philippines.”

In Britain, Twitter users Friday seized upon a gaffe made by British MP Ed Miliband, in which he attempted to pay tribute to a recently deceased gameshow host. Miliband, who is head of the Labor Party, misspelled the game’s name, writing “Blackbusters” in lieu of “Blockbusters.”

It marked the second Twitter gaffe by a Labor MP this week; both of them race-based, according to angry Britons. By midday a meme had spread in which hundreds of people came up with their own #EdMilibandGameShows on Twitter, many of them using the word “black.”

The Israeli leftist cats meme, which has also sparked rancor among opposing parties, started when a right-wing Facebook user made a seemingly earnest comment to ban cats that “incite the left.” Left-wing Israelis sprung on the notion of politically minded cats. And so the “lefty cats” were born:

Food. Not bombs. ( Alex Cohn )

Imagine. ( Rafaello Saban )

Leftist ceiling cat is watchin you occupying the territories. (Eli Levin)

By  |  03:26 PM ET, 01/06/2012

Tags:  World, Israel, memes

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company