On October 7, 2023, Hamas invaded Israel’s Kibbutz Re’im by way of the Gaza Strip, the source of one of the most brutal land ownership disputes in history. The attack on Israeli civilians has reignited an ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, the group that controls Palestine.
This weekend, comedian Pete Davidson became the latest celebrity to speak out on the matter. Davidson paid a visit to his old stomping grounds at “Saturday Night Live”, where he briefly paused his comedy during the opening monologue to draw a more serious conclusion.
“I know what you’re thinking — who better to comment on it than Pete Davidson,” the comedian said.
“But in a lot of ways, I am a good person to talk about it, because when I was 7 years old, my dad was killed in a terrorist attack. So I know something about what that’s like,” he continued.
Davidson lost his father, a firefighter with the FDNY, during the first response efforts to 9/11 in New York City. “Sometimes comedy is really the only way forward through tragedy,” he said.
“Tonight I’m going to do what I’ve always done in the face of tragedy, and that’s try to be funny. Remember, I said ‘try,'” he added.
Madonna additionally addressed the conflict, stating that “A lot of people say, ‘Well, what can I do? I’m just one person.’ You feel hopeless. You feel helpless. What can we do? There’s a lot we can do. First and foremost, we can say, ‘I can make a difference because I individually can bring light into the world with my actions, with my words, each and every day,’” the singer said at the opening of her tour in London.
“I’m sorry. This isn’t about lecturing you — but we are all together very powerful people. We can unite in a dark and evil way, or we can unite from a place of light and love,” said Madonna.
Further Thoughts From Influencers And Celebrities
“Stranger Things” actor Noah Schnapp, who is Jewish-American, shared a lengthy statement regarding the hatred he faced for honoring a victim of the recent Hamas attacks. In the post, Schnapp stated that he supported Israel. This piece of the statement was met with widespread criticism, as it contributes to the ongoing misconception that the Israeli government represents the interests of all Jewish people.
Noah Schnapp shares statement on Israel and Palestine:
“You either stand with Israel or you stand with terrorism. It shouldn’t be a difficult choice. Shame on you.” pic.twitter.com/5WODeZbb2u
— Pop Base (@PopBase) October 11, 2023
Model Gigi Hadid, who is half Palestinian, encouraged peace for both Israeli and Palestinian civilians, and denounced the actions of Hamas.
Gigi Hadid has just issued this statement.
Her sister Bella, who has been a very vocal advocate for the Palestinian people in the past, has not issued a statement yet.
Gigi and Bella’s father is Palestinian. pic.twitter.com/cyscrTaV5C
— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) October 10, 2023
Meanwhile, on TikTok, a number of Jewish and Palestinian creators explain varying sides of the situation. One creator named Ariella Elm explained that Hamas does not represent the Palestinian government, nor the interests of all Palestinian people. She encouraged the internet to be kind to the innocent civilians on both sides of the Gaza strip, and additionally explained that the Israeli military requires mandatory service, meaning that many fighting on behalf of Israel might not even personally agree with the colonization of Palestine.
Elsewhere, a Palestinian creator named Faten shared a brief history of the colonization of the region within the context of North America. She encouraged viewers to educate themselves, and to stand with Jewish people and civilians, but not the Israeli government.
Additionally, influencer Talia Lichtenstein was bombarded with a series of Palestinian flags in her comment section. The Jewish-American digital creator had not posted a video regarding the conflict at the time of the comments, as much of her content is geared towards young women and centers on dating and combating toxic masculinity on the internet.
Lichtenstein acknowledged that commenting Palestinian flags on Jewish people’s posts across social media is an antisemitic microaggression, as it makes the assumption that all Jewish people are zionists, or that they deserve to be brutalized by Hamas. The digital creator confirmed that she personally did not align with zionism, and that she stands with the innocent civilians in both Israel and Palestine.
A Brief History
A claim continues to circulate that 10 times the number of Jewish people were murdered by Hamas than were murdered by the Nazis on Kristallnacht. Kristallnacht refers to “the night of broken glass,” and was previously the most notorious antisemitic pogrom in history.
The claim is true, as an estimated 91 people perished on Kristallnacht, while it is currently estimated that the Hamas attack death toll sits at 1,200 people at this time. This statement was first circulated by comedian Amy Schumer via Instagram, as a repost from Jack Dishel.
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As of 2023, the Gaza Strip is internationally recognized as a part of Israel. This leaves the nation of Palestine without international recognition, and indigenous civilians living in a near constant war zone, or displaced completely.
Israel was established on May 14, 1948 when David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel. Then U.S. President Harry S. Truman recognized the nation, and it subsequently became a member of the United Nations (UN). Additionally, the U.S. and Israel are still considered military allies in the present day.
Until 1948, the British held a colony in Palestine. British colonization is known for its lasting brutal effects on a number of nations. British colonization of the present day U.S. resulted in the ongoing displacement of a number of indigenous peoples, the enslavement and then segregation of Black Americans, and more.
In Ireland, British demands for food supply on the basis of supporting the economy resulted in the Potato Famine. Presently, Irish people and Irish Americans assert that the lasting generational trauma from this period, known as The Troubles, includes health issues and alcoholism for some. Numerous historians, notably John Kelly, have studied this phenomenon extensively.
Israel, having sprung from a British colonization effort, essentially continued to exploit Palestinian lands.
Such is the case in the social media era, a number of celebrities and influencers have voiced their thoughts on the global conflict. The discourse surrounding the attacks continues to spark heated debates, misinformation, and hatred towards Israelis, Palestinians, and Jews alike.
Why Zionism Created Israel
Israel achieved statehood largely due to a long standing school of belief called Zionism. Zionism refers to the belief that Jewish people have the right to self determine a safe plot of land for themselves, after centuries of pogroms, the Holocaust, and a series of antisemitic attacks throughout history.
Zionists settled on the current location due to Palestine being the site of the founding of the three Abrahamic religions–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Naturally, indigenous Palestinians of varying religious affiliations were already inhabiting the area. Israel has a history of displacing thousands of Palestinians in order to establish the nation.
As a result, tensions have now boiled between the Israeli and Palestinian people for nearly a century. Additionally, current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netahanyu represents the most far-right government in the nation’s history, worsening tensions with Palestine due to an increasing military occupation.
What Hamas Represents
Hamas recently orchestrated an attack on Israeli citizens at the Supernova trance music festival, nearly three miles from the Gaza strip within Israel’s borders. Hamas, or the Islamic Resistance Movement, represents a number of extremist viewpoints within its armed wing, Izz ad-Din al Qassam. The armed wing of Hamas has embraced a number of terrorist tactics against Israeli citizens and continues to express antisemitic views.
The organization is not yet recognized as a terrorist organization by the UN, though the United States Department of State has listed Hamas as a terror group since 1997. Outside of Hamas, Fatah represents another fraction of Palestinian people. Reports have emerged of Hamas attacking children wearing clothing representative of Fatah in the past.
Why Jewish People And Israel Are Not The Same Group
Anti-semitism lingers surrounding the issue of Palestinian land ownership, due to the ongoing assumption that all Jews align with the ideas of Zionism and the attacks of the Israeli government. Such is not the case, as the Jewish people can be divided up into several ethno-religious groups.
Ashkenazi Jews are primarily from Eastern Europe, while Sephardic Jews hail from Western Europe and the Mediterranean. Mizrahim Jews are from the Middle East and North Africa. Thus, geographically, not all Jewish people have ties directly to Israel and Palestine. Regardless of direct ethnic ties, many leftist American Jews simply do not align with the ideas of Zionism in practice, as Israel has resulted in the displacement of indigenous Palestinians.
Some Jewish digital creators continue to empathize with Palestinians, as Jews have long been victims of global oppression as well.
this is not the fate of our people. we did not die at the hands of so many oppressors. in camps. in shtetls. in ghettos. in our own lands. simply to become the enforcers of genocide. shame on my peers. my community. i may never look at judaism the same way again.
— Sam. (@sammyclaws12) October 13, 2023
U.S. President Joe Biden has sent aid to Israeli troops, but it remains unclear whether American troops will be deployed on Israeli soil at this time. As Israel is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) this is not required of the U.S. government.