A caption above the picture read, “Where were the people calling for humanity when we were killed?”
Mustafa also posted a blurb in stark block letters that said, “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
The swimmers on the team follow one another on Instagram, and Avishag recalled being shocked when she spotted the posts. She immediately called Shira Chuna, a 16-year-old teammate, to express her outrage, although she didn’t tell her parents or anyone else.
Then she texted Mustafa in an exchange that she later shared with The New York Times.
“Musta, do you know how bad the situation is in Israel right now? I respect what you have to say, I’m truly asking you.”
Mustafa replied: Did she think, like some people on social media, that all Palestinians were murderers?
“I didn’t say you were Musta,” Avishag wrote back. “It’s the Hamas organization. And my people have been murdered by the Hamas.”
Children, older people, entire families had been slaughtered or kidnapped, she said. “I saw videos that are never going to leave my mind,” she said, offering to forward them if he wanted, but saying that she didn’t recommend watching them.
“Av,” he wrote, “first thing, we are not the murder,” he said. “Israel was attacking us from a long time, and everybody know that.”
“What???,” she asked. “With all the respect, that’s not true.”
He said, “Always we are wrong and always you are the right.”
“That’s not what I said,” Avishag responded. “Right now Hamas are in the wrong.”
She told him to tell her if he wanted the videos. She wanted to prove her point, but also to preserve their friendship. She texted him, “I have to ask if we are cool?”
He placed a heart on her message and typed “yes” in Spanish. She hearted his message, too. It seemed they had achieved an uneasy peace, although they couldn’t be sure until they swam together again.