• Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

Demonisation and hypocrisy will not solve the Israel-Palestine conflict

ByElham Khosravipour

Oct 26, 2023
A young man carries a mattress over his head through a ruined Gaza neighbourhood in 2014.A Palestinians searches through rubble of his destroyed homes hit by Israeli strikes in Towers Al-andaa - the northern Gaza Strip

Content Warnings: mentions islamophobia, violence, antisemitism, and death. 

This past week, the escalating situation in Israel and Gaza has dominated mainstream media, causing a lot of polarisation on social media particularly. The response I have seen on Instagram and TikTok from friends to celebrities are in many ways outrageous. To say the least, I find the hypocrisy on social media and the partiality of mainstream outlets disappointing.

Starting with celebrities, it is one thing when Israeli or Palestinian celebrities post about the fear they feel for their families, it is another when Jamie Lee Curtis creates an Instagram post declaring her support of Israel using a picture of Palestinian children fleeing from bombs in Gaza. It is clear that so many of these celebrities see a trend on social media and feel the need to put in their two cents without adequately informing themselves or even checking their sources. 

I’ve also seen pro-Israelis post graphic content of Israeli citizens suffering, then condemning others on social media for staying silent about human rights abuses when they themselves are being selective in their activism. The sheer hypocrisy is mind-blowing; as much as I understand that we are only human and we will always defend the side we feel most connected to, we must try as much as possible to apply to ourselves the same standard we apply to others. The silence from some pro-Israelis about the current siege of Gaza in which the Israeli government is violating international law is despicable. Equally, the lack of empathy towards the targeted Israeli civilians from some pro-Palestinians is reprehensible. 

Another thing I’ve found upsetting are the accusations of inhumanity. One post that was circling Instagram claimed that if you’re not posting about the killing of Israeli civilians “then you do not care about the brutal massacre of innocent people”. When did we get to the point where your morality and humanity is measured by what you post on social media? Demonising each other is not the solution.

Furthermore, the blasé use of loaded words like “terrorist” and “Nazi” is rooted in bias and sensationalism. Under the UK government’s definition of terrorism – outlined in the Terrorism Act (2000) – the IDF would be a terrorist organisation, so would the CIA. However, the term “terrorist” seems to only be used when the organisation is Muslim – that is not to say that Hamas is not guilty of terrorism but rather that the term is not equally applied. Additionally, to compare the events of the past week to those in 1940s Germany is a heinous accusation – no matter how horrific and violent the attack was, it does not constitute systematic persecution.

Finally, I would like to point out the partiality of mainstream media, including revered newspapers like the New York Times. Where was this level of coverage in 2022 when Israel, according to Al Jazeera, was carrying out near-daily brutal raids in the not-Hamas-controlled West Bank and the UN declared it the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2006. Where are those same celebrities, who a few days ago claimed they “stand with Israel,” now that Human Rights Watch has published a report saying that Israel has fired white phosphorus over Gaza and Lebanon (which is a war crime)? The silence is deafening – and for Palestinians, the world has too often stayed silent.

For those who feel affected by the crisis, support and information from the University can be accessed here.

Scenes from Gaza Crisis 2014” by United Nations Photo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.