The Israel-Hamas War has caused a slew of destruction on both sides, but many people focus on picking a side rather than stopping devestation.
The Israel-Hamas War has caused a slew of destruction on both sides, but many people focus on picking a side rather than stopping devestation.
Photo Credit: Olivia Payne/Canva/Achona Online

The Israel-Hamas War is not about picking sides

On October 7, Israel and Hamas, the military and political organization that governs the Gaza Strip, entered a war against one another. Both nations have sent airstrikes and devastated lands. People in Israel and Palestine are fleeing in order to save their lives; meanwhile, people around the globe are spending their time picking sides in the conflict.  

People tend to search for the “right answer” when it comes to wars and conflict. People like to pick sides and support the side that is in the right. Conflicts are not that simple. There’s a thread on Quora with the question, “Should I support Israel or Palestine?” The answers are as complex as the conflict they discuss. The overwhelming sentiment is that to support both and support neither. Condemn violence, but support the people who are getting hurt. There is violence on both sides, and there’s devastation on both sides. 

Many people still focus on picking a side and defending it relentlessly. People tend to look towards influential figures during these times of crisis. Usually, this would be politicians or activists who specialize in issues such as global conflict. However, with the growth of social media, people are calling upon influencers and celebrities to share their stances on the war. In the theme of picking sides, people have posted lists of celebrities who either support Israel or Palestine. The celebrities who have “picked a side” are condemned for what their choice is, no matter the side; yet, celebrities who don’t speak up or give their support to an organization are criticized for being quiet on the matter.

Popular Youtuber and comedian Brittany Broski received backlash because she did not speak out in support of Palestine. People criticized her for claiming to be progressive and vocal about her beliefs but not speaking out about the conflict. Broski took to Tiktok to respond to the claims, stating that she was remorseful for taking so long to address the topic. She expressed her concerns with being a white woman with a platform and the fact that there are areas where her voice is not needed. She also mentioned how “dystopian” the situation felt. She concluded by encouraging her viewers to contact their senators and referred them to some activist accounts and resources.

@lostmymarblesagain #stitch with @maya #freepalestine??❤️ ♬ original sound – secret brittany

Many believe that influencers should speak out about political and social issues because they have a large platform and can spread awareness. However, people tend to ignore activists who spread awareness as their job. They call upon comedians and youtubers, but not those who are educated in politics and work to address social issues. Social media can be a powerful vessel of change, as was seen in 2020 during the Black Lives Matter movement. While it is influential for people to show solidarity and to have as many platforms speak out as possible, social media shouldn’t be the only way people are learning about global issues. Influencers are not the people who should be the main ones affecting the political climate. It’s not the job of a popular Tiktoker to tell people about the devastation occuring around the world. It’s the job of the people to educate themselves. 

“In my opinion, keeping up and educating yourself on global conflicts allows you to form your OWN opinion on the news you are hearing and seeing. It is vital to allow yourself to learn more, rather than getting your information from someone else, who could possibly omit details about certain things happening around the world, or tell you only certain parts about a conflict. By staying informed on your own, you’re able to see all sides of the story, and also learn what other people think about it” said Senior Grace Jaye.

Similarly to how celebrities have been canceled, people are boycotting businesses that don’t align with their side. Many people who are pro-Palestine are boycotting Starbucks because Starbucks is suing Starbucks Workers United for making a tweet about supporting Palestine. They claimed it was trademark infringement because Workers United uses their name and logo. Subsequently, people around the world have been boycotting Starbucks. Starbucks’s in Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia have been affected by boycotts, but it is unclear whether the US has faced any damage. McDonald’s was also under fire, as people thought that they were donating meals to Israel. McDonald’s responded saying that the statements were not true and that they stand against violence and hate speech. 

The Israel-Hamas war has shown that people are increasingly struggling to be independent. Social media has made it easier to get information, but it has also made it easier to get false information. People must take on the responsibility of properly educating themselves and forming their own opinions. Influencers, celebrities, and companies cannot make decisions for the public. They should not take focus away from those who lives are threatened or taken away in the conflict. There should be less concern about who’s in the right or wrong and more concern about helping those who are innocents trapped in between a battle. 

Catalina Salgado (’24) said, “I think it’s incredibly important to educate ourselves with reliable sources, like personal accounts and reports so that we can understand all the perspectives, and especially learn about the histories and governments of both countries so we can develop our own opinions. I also think it is important to understand that it’s a tremendous loss of life, no matter how you feel about the issue. Any senseless bombings should encourage us to show empathy to those affected and take action in supporting peace.”

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