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Complexities of Israel and Gaza: Should celebrities comment?

The complexities of Israel and Gaza: Should celebrities comment?

by Jenny Rudd
August 6, 2014

In April 2003 I spoke to one of my friends of the phone. I was working as a sports trader in London, he as a fighter jet pilot in the RAF. He was serving in Iraq and sounded exhausted from patrolling the skies for hours on end. I mentioned to him the sensationalist newspaper coverage the previous day of what sounded like horrific bombings in a particular battle. My friend pointed out that those bombings were no more or less significant than anything else happening in Iraq, just that the newspapers had clearly latched onto them.

16 year old Farah Baker is living through her third war and is tweeting live updates from Gaza.

This is in my area. I can't stop crying. I might die tonight #Gaza #GazaUnderAttack #ICC4Israel #AJAGAZA

— Guess what (@Farah_Gazan) July 28, 2014

This week Anonymous hacktivists shut down a number of websites run by Mossad including the Ministry of Justice website and the state archive portal.

Many celebrities such as Rihanna, Selen Gomez and Dustin Hoffman have given their management team heart attacks by proclaiming #freepalestine and many have come under criticism - Joan Rivers questioned whether Selena Gomez could in fact spell Palestine on her own and John Voigt raged about Anti-Semetism.

The conflict between Israel and Gaza is complicated. The history behind the current fighting spans decades. The confusion over names does not help - Palestine, the Gaza Strip, The Disputed Territories, The Israeli-Occupied Territories and so on.

Back in 2003 there was no social media, just Reuters and extensive newspaper coverage. Celebrities probably wouldn't get on board as they wouldn't get beyond their publicists to give interviews about such explosively divisive subject matter. Although celebrity discussion of the fighting raises awareness, it's dangerous territory to garner the support of their millions of fans with nothing more than a hashtag for information.


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