God, I hate the world right now.
I’m terrified to make this post. I feel like I’m going to get a bunch of hate and this is very different to my usual stuff but. This is important, I think.
My school just pulled all of us out of classes - a week before a midterm wave of weighted assessments - to have an assembly.
We were told that the school would be increasing security at school.
We were told to be vigilant on the streets, to stop paying staring into our phones, not out of the usual ‘spending time on phones is bad for you’, but rather because scanning the environment around us, being alert of the people around us, was going to be important.
We were told to be careful when entering the school or traveling between the two halves of the campus to make sure we weren’t followed, and to make sure no one ‘piggybacked’ off of us students typing in the code to open the school gate.
We were told to be careful, cautious and aware because “whenever conflict happens in the Middle East, there is an inevitable rise in anti-semitism”.
I go to a small, very Secular Jewish school in a country nearly as far away from Israel as you can get. Even before all this, our school had a much, much higher level of security then the non-religious schools around us. I feel like I need to say that because I know many American schools have security due to the prevalence of school shootings, but I assure you, that sn’t normal in my country, and most schools have very, very minimal security.
Our school is very, very secular - though we provide Jewish Studies and the school celebrates Jewish Holidays, most of the kids don’t believe in a god of any kind, and roll our eyes as the religious aspects of our education (90% of people drop JS the moment they reach 9th grade, ngl). We even have a handful of non-jewish students, and a large chunk of the teaching staff isn’t jewish, either.
But even if my school was an Orthodox Jewish School, where boys were expected to study the torah and the school was closed on Fridays, or if I went to a Catholic school, or a non-religious one, what I’m about to say still matters.
Our school has students ranging from 5 to 18 years old. We’re a school full of kids. Yet it’s clear people are increasingly scared of getting attacked just for being part of a people-group.
I know the actions of the Israeli Government against the Palestinians is wrong. I know that they’re pushing out Palestinian families from homes they have occupied for generations. I know conflict has broken out, and though I don’t know all the details, I know that Israel’s government has destroyed a building due to suspected Hamas activity and in the process many innocent civilians including children, and that Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets at Israel.
But what I don’t understand is why this means my school, full of children, many thousands of kilometres away, has to fear being attacked because of this.
I know that many people say that they’re “anti-zionist, not anti-semetic”, and I would normally be inclined to agree, (apart from the fact people don’t seem to know the definition of ‘zionist’, and depending on your definition of it, that phrase can men different things) - rightfully accusing and holding accountable the Israeli government for these attacks and attempting to push Palestinian people our of their homes is not at all being against Jewish people as a whole. However, and I have to say it - I keep seeing this used on posts that are still clearly anti-Semitic. Like. Attack the government that’s actually doing this and not use it as an excuse to spew bigotry, please? istg. And it’s even more irritating that they use that phrase bc you have a harder time refuting their points. It’s kinda like those people that say “chill it was just a joke bro” as a way to get away with being openly bigoted.
People need to realise there is a huge amount of misinformation spreading through big news sources about Israel and Palestine’s actions that are a skewed misinterpretation of events or straight up lies - Yes, the Israeli Government’s actions are horrendous and the people responsible need to be held accountable, but no, Bella Hadid did not advocate for throwing jews into the sea during that one rally, like....
Please take away these four main things:
Always check the credibility of a source of any information and if other credible sources are also claiming the same things before helping to spread it, because misinformation is rampant and the issue is harder to solve and properly talk about when no one is sure of exactly what is true or false, and misinformation is harmful to everyone. Inform people if you know what they are talking about is misinformation, usually it’s spread through ignorance or being fooled by headlines, not malice. Even a quick search on fact-checking websites like Snopes.com is better then nothing.
As a somewhat extension to the point above, photos, videos and quotes that are supposedly of events happening in Palestine/Israel currently are often out-of-context or reused images from events several years ago, or events that happened in other countries. I’ve seen this done especially with videos and images from the Syrian War being passed off as videos from current-day Palestine, which. They aren’t. That’s it’s own set of warcrimes.
People-groups are not monoliths. Not all Israelis are Jewish - there are christian, muslim and Druze Israelis - Not all Palestinians are muslim - there are jewish Palestinians - and not all Jews are Israeli, or even support the Israeli government’s actions. Assuming these groups all believe the same thing just is stereotyping, and just;; it’s plain false.
Don’t let people get away with being anti-Semitic (or bigoted in general), call them out! Keep an eye out for people that claim they’re just “anti-zionist, not anti-Semitic!”, but it’s clear through their words and actions that they’re just using that as an excuse to openly condemn jewish people. Again, though, this doesn’t just apply to anti-semitism! this goes just as much for people being Islamophobic! Don’t let people get away with being bigoted, no matter who they are being bigoted against!
Maybe when people start reporting and spreading news about the actual, real issues and not misinformation propagated to make one or the other side look better or worse and conflating a government’s or terrorist organisation’s actions with an entire people group’s, I’ll feel safer walking down the street in my obviously-jewish-school uniform, and Palestinian voices can actually be heard, rather then videos of Syrians from years ago being played off as being Palestinian.
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