Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2017
Julian Assange greets supporters outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2017. Image by AP

Fake Assange football banner shown the red card

Lachlan Coady July 29, 2022

Football fans in Amsterdam held a giant banner in support of Julian Assange.


False. The photo has been manipulated as the original image shows fans holding a giant flag of Israel.

A post circulating on Facebook appears to show football fans in Amsterdam holding a giant banner in support of Australian activist and publisher Julian Assange.

The photograph depicts Ajax fans with a “Don’t extradite Assange” flag in reference to the 51-year-old’s impending extradition to the US.

But the image has been manipulated and the fans were instead holding a giant flag of Israel in reference to the club’s association with the Jewish faith.

The post appears on an Australian Facebook user’s page with the caption: “Now that’s big. Amsterdam, Holland.” At the time of writing it had been shared more than 500 times.

A reverse image search reveals the image has been manipulated and in fact shows Ajax fans with the Israeli flag in 2003, three years before Assange founded WikiLeaks, which would eventually make him a household name around the world.

The image is credited with being taken at a Champions League match against Valencia at the Amsterdam Arena in March of that year.

The image of Ajax football fans has been manipulated
 The image of Ajax football fans has been manipulated. 

The original image also appears in multiple articles discussing the use of Jewish symbolism by the Dutch club’s supporters, such as this 2013 article and also this 2019 piece. 

The blue stripes of the Israeli flag are also clearly visible on the Assange version of the photo.

Assange is best known for releasing US Army intelligence provided by Chelsea Manning. An arrest warrant was issued for him in 2010 and he took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London from 2012.

He was arrested in 2019 and has been imprisoned in the UK since. He is currently appealing against a decision to extradite him to the US

Ajax supporters have a long history of using Jewish culture and iconography to show their support for the club.

The connection goes back to the early history of the club. In the 1930s Ajax’s stadium was located next to a large Jewish neighbourhood in Amsterdam, Amsterdam-Oost

In the early 20th century Amsterdam was regarded as a safe haven for people of Jewish faith. It is thought some 80,000 Jews lives in the city which had become known as “Jerusalem of the West” before World War II.

The Verdict

The claim that football fans in Amsterdam held aloft a banner in support of Julian Assange in false. The 2003 image has been manipulated and instead depicts supporters with a giant flag of Israel.

False ÔÇô The claim is inaccurate.

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