Sisterhood Blog

The Gaza Twitter War

By Sarah Seltzer

  • Print
  • Share Share

With the advent of the conflict in Gaza, known by the hashtags #gazaunderattack or #pillarofdefense, it’s a surreal moment to be a citizen of this earth.

For perhaps the first time on this scale, a war is being waged both in real life and on Twitter simultaneously.

As rockets and bombs fall, as children lie wounded or dead, and as people rush into bomb shelters, the IDF Spokesman account and the military wing of Hamas have been duking it out on the interwebs, even garnering the IDF a suspension from Twitter for issuing “threats of violence.”

Buzzfeed writes that the IDF is winning the Twitter war, but in my mind, the callousness of these tweets and actions on both sides precludes any winners.

Meanwhile, the IDF has posted YouTube videos of the assassination of a Hamas leader (who had been possibly negotiating a ceasefire) and created its own ready-to-go-viral Facebook memes.

And even as the smoke from bombs still poured forth, I saw images of young Gaza residents holding their cell phones aloft, promising even more viral images that showed the realities on the ground.

Welcome to war in the 21st century, say many bloggers.

Welcome to war since the beginning of time, says this blogger: an aggressive show-your-strength contest between leaders, historically male, that pins down and hurts bystanders caught in between.

In fact, I kind of think it’s a perfect representation of war: two macho-sounding “spokespeople” escalating threats on the Internet while innocents lose their lives on the ground. Yes, reducing the essence of war to a couple of social media moments may be an oversimplification in one sense. But in another sense, it is not: War has almost always been the decision of leaders enshrined safely in offices while young people fight each other and civilians suffer. As a famous Jewish poet, Bob Dylan, once addressed the “Masters of War,” “You sit back and watch/ When the death count gets higher.” Except this time, apparently it’s “sit back and live-blog.”

Maybe the ridiculous hypermasculine posturing displayed so nakedly on social media this week — combined with the many pictures already emerging of the dead, wounded and mourning — will help turn the world’s towards peace. Or maybe the gears of violence will just keep turning, and now tweeting, until humanity wakes up.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: #gazaunderattack #pillarofdefense, sisterhood, Twitter, IDF, Hamas, Gaza

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.