The Toxicity of Anti-Israel Rhetoric in Social Media

Disclaimer: This opinion piece reflects the authentic views of the individual USYer who authored this blog post. The stance on issues brought up in this article is not necessarily representative of the views of USY as an organization. 

While antisemitism and anti-Zionism have begun to run rampant throughout social media, I recently saw a post that took me aback. The post discussed “pinkwashing”, which is the idea that the Israeli government sends propaganda to other countries to appear to be a safe place for LGBTQ+ communities. The post then argued that Israel does this to try and cover up the fact that they are actively mistreating these LGBTQ+ groups and trying to force Israelis to choose between their religion and their country to be safe. This is not totally unbelievable to most people, myself included, as there is an ongoing tension in Israel between the Rabbinate and secular communities regarding efforts to legalize gay marriage.

This post truly shocked me because while I’ve heard of this idea before, I had never seen such an outpouring of hate against Israel, Jewish people, and the LGBTQ+ community all in one comment section, solely based on one argument. After doing some research, I found that this ideology not only lacked reliable sources to back it up but that it is an idea that is preached by the BDS movement.

With posts like these, often containing a catchy headline that exaggerates a fact or simply spouting unbacked claims to gain more attention, anti-Israel rhetoric only grows. As a result, blatant antisemitism and calls for everyday Jews around the world to be accountable for, or to speak on behalf of, the entire state of Israel become more and more prevalent. What truly scares me about these posts is not, in fact, people criticizing the Israeli government – as this can be motivation to hold the country accountable and encourage them to grow and do better. What scares me is the double standard that comes with it; when people disagree with the Israeli government and instantly use it as grounds to call for the elimination or delegitimization of the state of Israel altogether.

With informational or educational posts like these, it is beyond important for us to fact-check and do our own research before taking them in as fact. It is crucial for us, as American Jews, to acknowledge the difference between legitimate criticism of Israel and blatant anti-Zionism and antisemitism and to take time to understand where claims like these come from and build our own opinions, based on facts, even if they may sometimes criticize Israel.

Abby Kreisler is currently Regional Israel Affairs Vice President. A senior from Kansa City, Abby is a member of KCUSY and attends Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy.