Debunking false narratives against the State of Israel
By Kayla Rzepa, Contributor
The spread of misinformation has increased immensely in the past two months since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack and massacre.
Why have people been so quick to post, like, and share the abundance of misinformation on Israel in the digital space? Unfortunately, misinformation about Israel spreads during the time of conflict. Words like Israeli apartheid, genocide, ethnic cleansing and occupation are outright false, leading to incitement, hate and violence against Jews worldwide, including the MRU campus.
Not an apartheid state
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of apartheid is a “policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race.” The population of Israel is over nine million people including two million Arabs. The Arab population in Israel live with full rights as citizens, and contribute to all aspects of society. Arabs are members of parliament, the IDF, and are doctors, lawyers, business owners, etc.. Israel’s demographics include people from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and the Middle East, all representing multiple religious groups. Their equality, freedoms, and religious beliefs are entirely protected by law. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that Arab citizens have the right to vote in democratic elections.
Not ‘ethnically cleansing’ Gazans
According to the Oxford Dictionary, ethnic cleansing is the “mass expulsion or killing of members of an unwanted ethnic or religious group in a society.” The Palestinian population growth rate in the West Bank and Gaza is one of the highest in the world, and has increased exponentially. The population of Jewish people in Arab countries since 1947 has been reduced to virtually zero with over 850,000 Jews persecuted, expelled, or murdered.
Fathi Hammad, a senior Hamas official stated in 2019, “We must attack every Jew on planet Earth! We must slaughter and kill them.” That is ethnic cleansing.
Is there Genocide?
No. Israel has the right and responsibility as a democratic nation to defend its people from terrorism at the hands of Hamas. Genocide has been used to describe the Holocaust, the mass murder of six million Jews in Europe. In comparison, four times more people have been killed during the recent Syrian civil war than on both sides of the entire Arab-Israeli conflict since 1920. Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization, started the war against Israel and has used innocent civilians as human shields to protect themselves.
It is important to understand that the majority of information coming out of the Gaza Strip is only being provided by the terrorist organization Hamas. The Palestinian Health Ministry is Hamas. There is no independent verification that the numbers of civilian deaths are accurate.
Additionally, Hamas is doing everything it can to maximize Palestinian civilian deaths for propaganda purposes; while Israel is doing everything it can to minimize such deaths, by way of warning Palestinian civilians ahead of time to leave dangerous areas.
Is Israel pinkwashing?
Israel is the only country in the Middle East that upholds equal rights for the 2SLGBTQ+ communities. Israel holds one of the largest pride parades in the entire world—just this year, more than 150,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv. Areas like Gaza and the West Bank view homosexuality as a misconstruction of oneself, and is illegal, leading to imprisonment and death sentences.
The slogan “Free Palestine” has been seen in the media, during protests, on flyers, billboards, Instagram posts, comment sections, and even on the MRU campus. But what does the term really mean? Many Jewish leaders say, when people shout “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” they are calling for the total eradication of the Jewish people from the State of Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. That is a direct call for genocide against the Jews.
Boycotting Starbucks is not going to “Free Palestine,” neither is interacting with a TikTok filter as a way to donate money to the people of Gaza, when in fact the money being raised may go into the hands of Hamas terrorists. By posting a colorful and eye-catching infographic on your Instagram story as a way to show your activism and support for a movement, without pausing to fact check, you are only potentially aiding in the spread of misinformation, rather than showing support for a cause.
To “Free Palestine”, people should be collectively chanting “Free Palestine from Hamas”. It is important to understand the meaning behind the words in which we choose to share with the world.
As the Nazi propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, once said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”