Opinion: We’ve got digital ground to cover

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Opinion: We’ve got digital ground to cover

"Despite our best intentions, the sheer volume of Jewish and Israeli content struggles to reach even a tenth of the audience that the "Free Palestine" narrative garners," writes Joel Macadar


We find ourselves in a war on two fronts: one being a war in Israel, and the other being the significant disparity in social media engagement between different narratives surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As the CEO & Founder of 8original, an award-winning social media agency, I believe it’s imperative that we address this issue head-on.

This is especially pronounced when comparing the engagement levels of the Jewish community, where social media numbers are comparatively low, to the widespread and high engagement seen within the “Free Palestine” movement; and it’s not even close. Despite our best intentions, the sheer volume of Jewish and Israeli content struggles to reach even a tenth of the audience that the “Free Palestine” narrative garners.

This may appear paradoxical – recognising the echo chamber that social media creates, how can we be exposed primarily to pro-Israel content, yet the level of engagement remains so low? The answer is simple: not enough people are on our side, and there aren’t enough of us. We need to do some convincing.

Case in point: Celebrities who have posted on social media in solidarity with the “Free Palestine” movement in the past include Bella Hadid, Dua Lipa, Paul Pogba and Selena Gomez. Combined, they have have over 600M followers on Instagram. There are only about 16M Jews in the entire world. 

The solution, I believe, lies in education, and in creating more original video content that is human-centric and verified, appealing not just to Jewish audiences but to a global population.

Unlike calculus, Jewish history was one of the classes you should have paid attention to. It is absolutely not about attacking the other side on social media but extending a genuine invitation to engage in constructive conversations online. This may include sending a message to your non-Jewish friend, taking initiative and signposting them to a resource that may be helpful to them to further understanding the basis and challenges of the conflict.

Education is the cornerstone upon which informed and empathetic dialogue can thrive. However a pivotal aspect of this dialogue is clarifying terms and narratives. For example, referring to Hamas’ attacks on Israel as a “response” to Israeli actions should not be openly accepted. Terrorism is a boundary that we, as decent individuals, should unequivocally condemn, whilst being able to discuss the historical and literal reasons why.

To bridge these divides and foster understanding, we must communicate with one another, Jew to non-Jew, and sometimes even Jew-Jew. This means at times, crucially, acknowledging areas of agreement or disagreement. We must be flexible in our conversations, recognising that we are all human beings with unique perspectives.

Yes, it’s easier to tell someone to f**k off when they put something up on their Instagram story that you don’t like. Consider that they may be uneducated. Equip yourself with education, be brave and send them a message. Find and create new resources that you’d want to share. We’d all benefit from that.

Let’s see how you get on.

  • Joel Macadar is CEO & Founder of 8original
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