By Gal Sitty
Yesterday, an ill-intentioned campaign was launched on Twitter to get the hashtag #IsraelHates trending on the micro-blogging website. While short lived, the effort managed to become the second most popular trending topic on Twitter. It remained in the top ten in the UK for a while longer.
This feat was apparently a coordinated effort to concentrate a large number of tweets in a short period of time on a Sunday afternoon (US time) when there is relatively less traffic on Twitter and therefore less competition to reach the website’s trending list.
Getting the hashtag to trend exposed the hate filled tweets to many users who would not normally follow events in Israel or the Middle East. These users were thus exposed, maybe for the first time, to the region with the following vile tweets:
“#IsraelHates God since it keeps telling lies on his behalf”
“#IsraelHates it’s obsession w security and doesn’t realize that until Palestinians get equal rights, it will never ever evvvver be secure.”
“#IsraelHates shouldn’t even be trending, as Israel doesn’t even exist. Israel? What? Where? Who? What? (Lmaoo)”
“Totally imminent. Any day now. RT @FreedomNF: #israelhates the imminent demise of #Zionism to a grave next to  South African #apartheid.”
“I can’t wait to go to Palestine, inshallah. I’ma throw a rock at someone. #IsraelHates me.” I’ll be by your side iA”
One can only hope that the people who saw these tweets recognized them for what they are: hate-filled messages which distorted the facts and told lies meant to incite violence, racism and halt the peace process.
Thankfully, the pro-Israel, pro-Peace community, led in part by Act For Israel, responded quickly and successfully by creating and tweeting the hashtag #IsraelLoves to fill the twitter stream with positive messages about Israel’s desire for peace and its contributions to the World.
The contrasts in approach highlights the stark differences between the pro-Israel community and the anti-Israel community. I refer to those twitter users as anti-Israel and not pro-Palestinian because they did not tweet good things about Palestinians or their desire for peace and statehood, rather they tweeted hate filled messages against Israel which do nothing to advance the Palestinian cause. The pro-Israel tweeters sent messages of cooperation with the Palestinians, Israel’s efforts to advance peace and so on.
In fact, this twitter exchange is fairly representative of the larger back and forth between the pro-Israel and anti-Israel communities. Whereas the latter often takes a confrontational approach meant to increase the gaps between the two sides, such as calling for boycotts and using slanderous terms, the former promotes positive messages highlighting its desire for peace.
Luckily, it was not all serious yesterday. In true form, Jewish humor pulled through to save the day with some tweets that made light of the situation and took away from the confrontational nature of the exchange while exposing the ridiculousness of hate-filled twitter messages.
Thanks, Uri Katz, for the following tweet:
And thanks @Isreallycool for the following tweets:
“#Israelhates that there is more to life than being really really ridiculously good looking.”
“#Israelhates being the scapegoat, but realizes other goats also have it bad”