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Protesters: TikTok, Instagram Fuel Anti-Israel Sentiment

A dozen young activists in New York City protesting Israel’s invasion of Gaza say their opinions about the war has been shaped by pro-Palestinian content on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, reports the New York Post.

“They’re posting pictures of babies with their skulls and their brains leaking out. It’s mostly (pictures) of little kids that get pushed out on there the most,” Zara Asif, 17, told the Post during a pro-Palestinian rally in Manhattan. She skipped school with her classmate Manoor Javed, 16, to attend the demonstration.

Several protesters conveyed a distrust of mainstream media coverage, with one 17-year-old stating that platforms like CNN do not adequately address the situation on the ground in Gaza. The sentiment was echoed by St. John’s University student Ravia Sidhu, who emphasized the importance of independent research despite acknowledging the potential for misinformation on social media.

“Places like CNN and other mainstream media are not posting about it,” one protestor told the Post. “It’s something you can’t deny. Kids are being killed, bombed. No humanitarian aid is allowed in. You can’t deny that.”

Critics argue that many of these young activists might lack a comprehensive understanding of the complexities surrounding the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Michelle Ahdoot, a director with End Jew Hatred, suggested that some protesters may be acting out of ignorance, asserting, “A lot of them wouldn’t be able to point to Israel on a map. I think a lot of this is coming from ignorance. They’ve been brainwashed into thinking they are doing something in the name of social justice.”

Liora Rez, executive director of Stop Antisemitism, links Hamas-sponsored propaganda to poster destruction and rallies at universities and on social media.

“Tearing down these hostage posters is not only sinister in and of itself but shows solidarity with a terrorist organization whose only mission is to eradicate the Jewish people,” Rez said.

While pro-Israel content exists on platforms like TikTok, it appears to be less popular than pro-Palestinian content. Analysis indicates a significant disparity in viewership, with the top result for “Stand with Palestine” garnering nearly 3 billion views compared to just over 200 million for “Stand with Israel.

TikTok hashtag data in the U.S. reveals over twice as many posts using #StandwithPalestine compared to #StandwithIsrael in the past two weeks, according to Axios.