The Folly of Social Media
The issue with activism, particularly of the super woke variety, is that many people excrete manufactured outrage and peddle fiction — even if unknowingly, or with good intentions. Those who shout the loudest get the most attention. Followers yell from the rooftops, cogs in an Instagram-industrial complex, reposting as a reflex, advancing the agenda of maligned or misinformed actors. They are merely masquerading as agents of social change — but their misinformation and disinformation is dangerous in that it is convincing to their millions of followers who blindly trust it.
Internet celebrities posting about complex issues know nothing of the facts. Makeup artists and fashion influencers are not suddenly experts in Middle Eastern history or politics. When Bella Hadid posts blatant lies on Instagram, she activates her 40 million followers — indeed, she incites them. The democratization of information and influence has benefits on its face, but lurking beneath the surface is carelessness and callousness that is quite dangerous.
The BDS Movement has weaponized social media. It has embedded itself within the American left, persuading millions to think that those leading the Palestinian cause are righteous reformers seeking freedom. The BDS Movement’s motto is, “from the river, to the sea, Palestine will be free.” The slogan is tailor-made for social media, for the hordes of followers who scroll through Instagram and make one-second conclusions based on content from those weaving politics with self-indulgent photos on the beach. “From the river to the sea” connotes the destruction of the State of Israel. It is not a message of peace; it is a call to war. The BDS Movement is after the destruction of the State of Israel — but its good marketing has built a thin but persuasive veil of social justice. Those on the left have fallen for the scam.
Many on social media express outrage about a supposed attack by Israeli police on peaceful Muslim worshipers. Jews are not allowed to worship at the Temple Mount for fear of Muslim reaction. And the Israeli government allows Jordanian police officers to assist in patrolling the area. An attack was staged from within Al Aqsa; worshipers threw stones and rocks on Jews standing at the Western Wall. The Israeli police, thereby, had no choice but to respond. This is a common terrorist tactic: to wage an attack from within a holy site or other civilian compounds, so as for any response to be perceived as an attack. The role of attacked and attacker, at least in the eyes of the world, thus would be turned upside down.
Indeed, children have died in Gaza — as they have in Israel. Everything has context. First, at least six children, as of this writing, have died in Gaza due to the malfunction of rockets launched by Hamas. Some estimate that about a third of rockets launched from Gaza land within the Gaza Strip. Further, Hamas operates from civilian neighborhoods and residential buildings so as to put Israel in an impossible situation — purposefully commingling civilians with military targets. History shows that Arab leaders have used their people more than they have served them. Hamas is no exception. They use Palestinians as expendable pawns in their media manipulation. And so it goes, this Instagram-industrial complex of outrage in which misleading content and misplaced anger circulate and simmer.
Bandied about, almost casually, are accusations that Israel is a colonialist entity taking on a project of ethnic cleansing. Any serious analysis of history, context, and facts will lay bear that these accusations are removed from fact — misinformation at best, disinformation at worst.
Ethnic cleansing, however, is encapsulated in the Hamas Charter, which, in Article 7, says every Jew in the world must die — and provides a religious justification for it. That is nothing short of incitement to genocide. Starkly contrasted with Israel’s Basic Laws, written to protect the rule of law and rights of man. That’s not to say, of course, that Israel is a perfect country — I’m yet to learn of one.
Hamas is a violent terrorist group committed to the death and destruction of Israel. And we find ourselves in a peculiar reality, driven by social media, where those on the left purporting to be agents of peace and harmony actually empathize with a violent Islamist group that not only promotes and executes violence against Israeli civilians, but also subjugates its own people.
While Hamas’ leaders live in luxury in Turkey and Qatar, Palestinians live in squalor. Palestinians do indeed need a liberation — but from whom? Hamas scapegoats Israel for its peoples’ problems — as have a long line of corrupt Arab leaders. I find it rather curious that Palestinian leaders claim they have no money for vaccines, but somehow find the funding to manufacture thousands of rockets that can reach Tel Aviv. Israel has spent 73 years investing in its people, not rewarding the families of suicide bombers. But for Iron Dome, the destruction in Israel would be unfathomable.
I believe that most people would have a much more nuanced lens on the conflict upon exposure to unbiased facts and undoctored truths — at least, those people who prefer humanity to inhumanity. Yet, I witnessed, on Instagram, a gay man offering support to Hamas’ struggle. A bizarre spectacle. Let’s tell it how it is. If that man ventured to Gaza, he may very well be thrown from the roof of a building.
No history, no facts, but strong opinions. For shame…