2015 image of Azerbaijan building displaying Israel flag shared as recent

By: Umme Kulsum
October 11 2023

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2015 image of Azerbaijan building displaying Israel flag shared as recent


The Verdict Misleading

This photo was taken in 2015 during the Baku Games in Azerbaijan when the Israeli flag was displayed on the Flame Towers, with those of other nations.

Claim ID 71e27c94

What's the claim? 

Amid the escalating violence between Israel and Hamas, a photograph of the illuminated Flame Towers in Baku, Azerbaijan, showing Israeli flags displayed on it, is circulating across social media. The image shows the Israeli flag displayed on three buildings. An X user shared the photo with the caption, "Azerbaijan displays the Israeli flag on buildings in its capital of Baku as a sign of solidarity." The post was viewed more than 150,000 times, with 194 reshares. Archived versions of such posts can be found here, here, and here.

One Facebook post sharing the image was captioned, "The Israeli flag was projected onto buildings in Baku, Azerbaijan." Archive versions of such posts can be found here and here.

Screenshots of claims made online (Source: X/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, this image from 2015 was taken during a sporting event and has been revived with a false narrative amid the current conflict between Hamas and Israel.

 What we found

A reverse image search led us to a Facebook post by the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles, shared on June 30, 2015, with the same viral image. However, the post captioned, "Israeli Flag displayed on Flame Towers in #Baku honoring participation of Team Israel at European Games in #Azerbaijan." The image was also shared on the official X account of the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles in June 2015. The caption read, "Israeli Flag displayed on Flame Towers in #Baku honoring part. of Team Israel at @BakuGames2015 in #Azerbaijan.” 

A Google search for "Flags displayed on Flame towers in Baku" led us to a longer video published on YouTube on June 28, 2015. The video was titled "Flame Towers Baku with all Europe Flags." The video shows the Israeli flags displayed on the towers at the 4:00 minute mark. The towers also displayed the flags of other countries, not just Israel.

Screenshot of YouTube video (Source: YouTube)

The European Games, organized by the European Olympic Committee, were held in Baku, in June 2015. According to the Guardian, over 6,000 athletes from 50 European nations competed in 20 sports. 

According to CNN, the Flame Towers were completely covered with LED screens displaying the movement of fire and creating the effect of giant torches ahead of the European Games in June 2015 in Baku.

The verdict

This image of the Israeli flag on the Flame Towers in Azerbaijan's Baku can be traced back to 2015 when flags of various countries were displayed on the buildings as part of a sporting event. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.

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