Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have been escalating for weeks, even decades. Two weeks ago, riots broke out in Jerusalem, the Israeli Capital, as Palestinian protestors and Israeli security forces confronted one another at key religious sites, such as the Temple Mount. The violence coincided with both Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, and Jerusalem Day, the anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967.
Since then, Hamas, a pro-Palestinian, Iranian proxy, jihadist terror group, and chief administrator of Gaza, a territory stretching along Israel’s southwestern border, has launched daily missile attacks into Israel. Although a tenable cease-fire has been achieved, it is only a matter of time before the bloodshed resumes.
The all-too-common vilifying of the Jewish state, while disheartening, is expected to ensure anytime conflict arises between these two groups. College students will be familiar with movements like Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), which claims that Israel is committing War Crimes, like ethnic cleansing, against the Palestinians. These critics normally attack the Israeli government, primarily Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Not often do they question the existence of a Jewish state. However, things have changed.
A new wave of criticism, expressed through a sea of infographics and other social media posts, has taken a turn for the worst. These individuals seek the delegitimization of the Jewish state entirely.
The most blatant example of this anti-Semitic rhetoric can be seen in an infographic posted on Instagram by key48return, a student-founded Pro-Palestinian organization. According to the group’s website, “Return 48” alludes to the Arab-Israeli War, which began shortly after Israel declared its independence in May 1948. Israel’s five Arab neighbors invaded, protesting the partition of Arab Palestine and the formation of a Jewish state. After the war, Israel maintained control over some of the former Palestinian mandate (1920-1948). As the name implies, Pro-Palestine groups, like this one, seek the complete dissolution of Israel and the reinstatement of pre-1948 Palestine.
In this widely shared cartoonish infographic, two women are depicted sitting side-by-side, facing one another. One woman asks a question while the other answers.
In one image, the woman on the left, reacting to the other woman’s previous comments, asks, “Israel isn’t a country?” The woman on the right responds, “No, they are a settler colony. Settler colonialism is a form of colonialism that seeks to replace the native population of the colonized land with a new society of settlers…”
Posts like this one perpetuate a false narrative that thousands of Jewish refugees miraculously appeared out of thin air following World War II, trivializing, and sometimes overlooking, horrific events like the Holocaust. Many of these groups deny Judaism’s thousand-plus-year connection to the land in-and-around modern-day Israel. They delegitimize Israel by putting it in quotes and refer to its citizens as “settlers.”
Last summer, celebrities, like Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, received unanimous backlash after spreading anti-Semitic tropes, such as a fake Hitler quote claiming that, to the dismay of White Americans, Black people were “the real Children of Israel,” as well as other Jewish “world domination” myths.
What is happening now?
Some are trying to set the record straight, calling out these forms of antisemitism. Others instead prefer to join mass protests, chanting, “From the mountains to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
What started as a small group of radicals protesting the conservative wings of the Israeli government and “settlers” in the West Bank has quickly evolved into a mass uprising set on bringing about the dissolution of the Jewish state.
“The views expressed in this article do not reflect the views of any person or institution other than the author.”