5 Ways To Turn Down the Social Media Flame

Think More Carefully About Posting on Israel and Palestine

gettyimages

By Jay Michaelson

Published July 16, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

I’d like to say that social media doesn’t matter. Israel and its Palestinian counterparts are pursuing tactics, military and otherwise, and the battle for public opinion is only one among many. Despite what nearly everyone seems to think, what happens on our Facebook and Twitter feeds probably doesn’t matter that much.

Except when it does. Presumably, the echo chambers in which we cloister ourselves have an impact on ourselves, even if not on Israel or Palestine. We do create communities of shared values, online as well as in person, and if those values are extreme one-sidedness bereft of analysis or reflection — well, that matters, if nothing else, to the kinds of communities in which we and our children are supposed to live.

Over the last week, I private-messaged half a dozen people who have frequently posted on Facebook one-sided accounts of the current violence. The (small, unscientific) sample included an ardent Zionist, moderate/two-state Zionists, and a BDS-activist anti-Zionist. Not one of them agreed to post accounts both of the Israeli suffering and of the Palestinian suffering. Each side insisted the other side is morally deficient, that there is no equivalence between them, and that there’s already too much attention to the other side’s suffering.

If a bunch of privileged Americans with so little at personal stake can’t internalize the importance of multiple narratives, how do we expect Israelis and Palestinians — both of whom are living under threat of imminent death, while I sit behind a screen in Brooklyn — to do better?

Really, it’s almost laughable, how the two sides are mirror images of one another. My BDS-supporting friend said the media is only telling Israel’s side of the story. My moderate-Zionist friend said the media is only telling Gaza’s side.

My anti-Zionist friend said that there is no moral equivalence between a massive air force that has killed over a hundred civilians and a massively outgunned resistance to Occupation. My ardent-Zionist friend said that there’s no moral equivalence between terrorists targeting civilians and a sovereign nation defending itself against attack.

Then my pro-Palestine friend posted accounts of Israel targeting hospitals and schools. Then my pro-Israel friend posted accounts of Israel dropping leaflets in an “unprecedented” effort to stop civilian casualties.

A different pro-Palestine friend called the Gaza operation genocide. A different pro-Israel friend wanted me to know that Israel was taking in Syrian refugees, that Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh sent his own child to an Israeli hospital, that “no other country in the world” acts as justly as Israel does.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.