Image of Imran Khan sitting down during 2019 conference reshared with false claim about former Israeli PM

Photos and videos of the former PM are going viral on social media with the claim that he did not stand up to greet the former Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu during an international conference

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Claim: Social media users are circulating photos and videos of Imran Khan sitting down during an international conference held in 2019, with the claim that the former prime minister can be seen sitting because he refused to stand to greet former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Fact: The visuals are, in fact, from a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting held on 13 June 2019, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Israel is not a member of SCO, and Netanyahu was not in attendance. Therefore, the claim that Khan chose not to stand to greet Netanyahu is false. 

Fact or Fiction?

On 13 April 2022, a Facebook user posted a photo of Imran Khan seen sitting — while others around him were standing — during an SCO meeting held in 2019, when Khan was prime minister. The photo was shared with the claim that while everyone else was standing toto greet then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Khan refused to stand. The picture was shared with an Urdu caption that translated into English reads, “The whole world stands to welcome the Prime Minister of Israel and how the fearless Prime Minister of a poor country is sitting. That is why it was a thorn in their eyes.”

This photo was extensively circulated on social media, with many suggesting Khan’s decision not to stand up to welcome his Israeli counterpart demonstrated his courage. 

However, Soch Fact Check found that the claim is false. 

The viral photo is from footage of an SCO meeting that was held on 13 June, 2019. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) official account posted this video on Twitter on 13 June 2019 with the caption, “Prime Minister of #Pakistan @ImranKhanPTI‘s Arrival with other World Leaders at Invitation of President of Kyrgyzstan for Opening Ceremony 19th Meeting of the Council of the Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Bishkek Kyrgyzstan (13.06.19)”. In this video, Khan, who was prime minister at the time, can be seen sitting while others around him are standing to greet the leaders of other countries as they arrive. 

Israel is not a member of the SCO, nor is the country an observing state or a dialogue partner. As such, Benjamin Netanyahu was not among the attendees shown in the video.

The claim that the image shows Imran Khan choosing not to stand to greet Netanyahu during the international conference false. 

Virality

To investigate the virality of the image in question, Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis. A keyword search of the post’s Urdu caption turned up 86 posts between 13-27 April 2022, which received a cumulative 4,300 interactions. 

The photo was shared with similar claims here, here, here, here, here, here, and here on Facebook and here, and here on Twitter. 

Conclusion: An image of Imran Khan sitting down during a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting held in 2019 does not show the former prime minister refusing to greet former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu was not present at the conference as Israel is not affiliated with the SCO.  

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