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Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam

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Opinion

Toxic battle over Israel and Palestine rages on social media

Oct 19, 2023

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After the recent Hamas attack on Israel, the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, is under investigation for hosting posts containing disinformation about the conflict. Despite X’s claims to have removed hundreds of posts related to Hamas, misleading content continues circulating on social media.

Straight Arrow News contributor Jordan Reid argues that engaging in online “in-fighting” exacerbates tensions, promotes the spread of disinformation and hinders the healing process for those affected by the ongoing war.

But what do you say? You post support for Israel, it elicits anger in your friends who say, “What about the Palestinians?” You post support for citizens of Gaza, who didn’t ask to be under terrorist rule and are fleeing for their lives, who are dying in hospitals without electricity or water, and your words hurt your friends who say, “How could you not stand completely with Israel?” But you do. You stand with humans. You try to hold space for the pain of every mother you see weeping over a kidnapped child, every child left without their parents. 

What I’m saying is that, in our social media-driven culture, where everyone has an opinion, everyone has an opinion about that opinion, it all seems to add up to just distraction. We’re fighting each other about semantics, about which words each of us chose to repost on a grid. This is awful. This is an emergency. Israel is hurting, Palestine is hurting. Fighting with each other over who’s hurting more and why and how, and hurling insults at each other online because someone said they were sad about a thing that you don’t think is as sad as the other thing — it’s toxic. But even worse, it’s not helpful. 

Organizations to Support:

I struggle to find words for the week we’ve all been through. Mostly because of the emotions. They are, they are simply too big to fit into a neat little, three minute news segment box. But also because it seems that virtually any words that I or anyone can find, it seems that whatever you say, there are people that those words, however well intentioned, will hurt.

 

We all know how deeply divided our country is. We can’t seem to come together on even the most fundamental issues, whether you know whether women should have agency over their own bodies, whether deadly weapons should be maybe just difficult for people to acquire. But in the wake of the terrorist attack on Israel, the divisions between us have seemed to splinter off in directions I I honestly was not expecting. 

 

I’m liberal, you know, this most, and most, if not all of my friends, but most would identify as liberal as well. But the amount of infighting that I’ve seen, just on my own social media channels has been surprising. As an example, I personally didn’t post anything about Israel for a few days following the attack, because I don’t know I was upset, and I was listening. And I didn’t think that my voice was one that necessarily needed to be heard at that moment. But with each day that passed without a post, my DMs filled with angrier and angrier messages, silence these messages said, it’s complicity. And I do agree with that, too. 

 

But what do you say? You post support for Israel? It elicits anger and your friends who say what about the Palestinians, you post support for citizens of Gaza who didn’t ask to be under terrorist rule and are fleeing for their lives who are dying in hospitals without electricity or water? And your words hurt your friends who say how could you not stand completely with Israel? But you do. You stand with humans. You try to hold space for the pain of every mother, you see weeping over a kidnapped child, every child left without their parents. 

 

What I’m saying is that, in our social media driven culture, where everyone has an opinion, everyone has an opinion about that opinion. And it all seems to add up to just distraction. We’re fighting each other about semantics about which words each of us chose to repost on a grid. This is awful. This is an emergency. Israel is hurting, Palestine is hurting, fighting with each other over who’s hurting more and why and how and hurling insults at each other online because someone said they were sad about a thing that you don’t think is as sad as the other thing. It’s toxic. But even worse, it’s not helpful. 

 

So I encourage you to help in tangible ways. I’m putting links to organizations you can support in the notes below this segment. Support, some support all just support the people who are in pain, because there are a lot of them out there right now and the precise location where they were born. It’s no indicator of their fundamental humanity.

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