Why posting about the Israel-Palestine conflict isn’t enough

People+have+been+posting+a+lot+on+social+media+about+the+conflict+between+Israel+and+Palestine%2C+but+it%27s+not+enough+to+make+a+difference

Marco Milani

People have been posting a lot on social media about the conflict between Israel and Palestine, but it’s not enough to make a difference

In the midst of a violent conflict in Israel and Palestine, many have taken to social media to express their outrage for the actions of one side or the other, the violence occurring, or the lives being lost. On the surface, this seems good — People care about issues bigger than themselves and they want to educate others. But, do they really? Maybe not.

During the summer of 2020, an outburst of social media activism occurred, and at first, it seemed good. But, posting about societal issues became just another hip thing to do; people thought it was cool to look like they cared about an issue, even if they really didn’t. It irks me, because I was someone who used to post about activism before it was cool because I felt that not enough people read the news, and that the way to get them to see these important issues was through social media. I’ve since realized that people should not rely on high schoolers on social media to get their news, and while I had good intentions, it wasn’t worth me posting. Now, all these people who don’t care about issues are posting about them, and it almost invalidates the issues. They’re now just another infographic, just another artistic quote to demonstrate the need for peace. I’ve come to ignore these posts, but I don’t want to ignore the issues. Not all posting about these issues is bad, but what is posted should be thoughtful and carefully chosen, and not to be cool.

Over time, however, it became clear that the people who really cared about issues were not just posting. They were the ones taking action: calling their representatives, writing letters to senators to support bills they care about. It’s so much more effective to take action like this! How much can really be done by posting statistics? It’s really just spreading information. While spreading information is good, it’s not the most impactful course of action. It’s much better to make calls to your local government because to be frank, no one cares that much what you posted. It’s understandable that teens turn to social media because they’re not old enough to vote, but many of them don’t realize they can still have an impact on the government without being 18.

So, months after the summer of 2020, when the issue of the Israel-Palestine conflict re-emerged (as it does when there are more rockets being shot off, etc, despite the fact that the issue does not end as soon as the rockets stop flying), I watched carefully as people began to post the usual infographics and videos on the issue. This particular issue is not like others for me. While they’re all important, this issue is close to home since I’m Jewish, and therefore have an attachment to Israel. Now, here’s where it gets complicated. Personally, I don’t condone the actions of the Israeli government, and I believe that everyone deserves to live on the land they see as holy. But, misinformation on social media tells me I believe otherwise, that all Jewish people support the Israeli government solely because we’re Jewish. First of all, how dare these people make claims about what I believe. And second of all, how did these people come to find such false claims? That’s another problem with social media activism. People often don’t do enough research and end up making false and offensive statements about issues that are already controversial. This causes people who rely on social media for their news (although they should not) to learn these false claims and with them a bias against certain groups, in this case the Jewish people. I’ve seen people post videos of themselves pointing finger guns at the Israeli flag, writing that the Jewish people don’t deserve a state because “this is what happens if you give them one,” and even a political cartoon comparing Israel to Nazis, featuring the Nazi flag and the Israeli flag. The Israeli flag features the Star of David, representing the Jewish state. (Of course, there are a whole host of issues with the way Israel was created and those need to be addressed…but not here.) This Star of David on the Israeli flag being directly compared to a swastika, through a mirror, no less, is one of the most incorrect and hurtful things I’ve ever seen. The irony is painfully obvious: the Jewish people were murdered by Nazis, and now the Jewish people are turning around and doing the same thing? Yes, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is killing people unnecessarily, but the fault lies with the Israeli government, not the Jewish people. That’s just one example of how misinformation can cause harm, but the list goes on.

If you really want to make an impact, you should first educate yourself from reliable sources (like an unbiased news source or an expert in the field) and then take action in a way that can actually have an impact, like contacting the politicians who represent you.