Foreign Policy / Israel / Politics

Rethinking Protests

The erupting conflict between Israel and Gaza this week is nothing new- a very similar escalation in operations occurred just a few years ago, between the same two parties. In late December 2008, Israel invaded the Gaza strip in attempt to eliminate Hamas militants in an operation referred to by many, including Gazans themselves, as the “Gaza Massacre.” However, in Israel and abroad, “Operation Cast Lead” was seen as a success.

What makes these conflicts stand out, however, is the Social media’s role; it permeates the diaspora communities and involves us in its conflict, whether we like it or not.

A conflict 6000 miles away feels much closer when every Facebook post and Twitter tweet is an announcement of casualties followed by a plea for support and a demonization of the “other.” The conflict then doesn’t stay in the Middle East; it enters our country, spilling over onto our college campuses where instead of acting as an agent to unite and support one another, we stand divided, citing numbers and displaying devastating images in hopes of winning hearts and changing minds.

Well, I was a part of this conflict in 2008. I’ve stood on my college campus yelling and crying in disbelief and with an aching heart. Today, however, I choose not to make this conflict about who is louder, who has larger casualty counts, or a better defense of the conflict. Political posturing by the diaspora communities is excruciating.

Rather than taking sides and reposting new developments in the conflict, we must speak out and urge our leaders to diplomatically negotiate. In 2008, former President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, initiated a ceasefire that was approved by the Israeli Cabinet and Hamas. Today, we should encourage Egyptian leaders like Mohamed Morsi, current President of Egypt or Hesham Kandil, the Prime Minister, to initiate a similar ceasefire. Rally cries that protest and expose the violation of human rights, as true as they may be, have gotten us nowhere; we must embolden our leaders and stand united together.