Israel-Palestine: Avoiding Antisemitic and Islamophobic Hate Speech

Solutions Not Sides

Talking about what's happening in Israel-Palestine is vital, now and always. But we have to do it without falling back on Antisemitic and Anti-Muslim tropes and speech.

Think before you post!

  1. Be clear about what you mean when using labels:
    • Jewish and Muslim refers to two minority groups in Europe and some other regions who experience racism, and this tends to get worse when violence in the Middle East hits our news headlines
    • Palestinian or Israeli are national identities 
    • Zionism is the belief in the right of the Jewish people to self-determination (and not all people who call themselves Zionist share the same opinion about the exact territory, principles, etc. of the state of Israel). ‘Zionist’ or ‘Zio’ should not be used as a term of abuse
    • Arab is a grouping of people whose mother tongue is Arabic and there is great diversity across the Arab World (e.g. Jordan can’t simply become Palestine just because they are Arabs)
    • Islamism is an academic term with French origins that refers to a broad spectrum of political ideologies. Islamism is not a synonym for terrorism and should not be used as such
  2. Do not hold Jews responsible for the decisions of the Israeli leaders, or Muslims responsible for the decisions of the Palestinian leaders
  3. Do not demand that Jews or Muslims must take a certain political position on the issue
  4. Do not assume that all Palestinians or Israelis support the actions of their governments
  5. Anti-Zionism is not always antisemitic (for example if someone is generally anti-nationalism and believes in abolishing nation-states), but it can be, for example if criticism of Israel goes beyond that of its government policies and uses antisemitic tropes
  6. Do not state that Muslims should leave Palestine because they have the whole of the rest of the Middle East or that Israeli Jews should ‘go back to where they came from’
  7. Israel is not a conspiracy to take over the Middle East or the World, and Palestine is not a conspiracy to enforce a Caliphate on Israel/Europe/the World. These are two national identities who both want to exist in the same piece of land
  8. Israel is not Nazi Germany. Palestine is not Daesh/ISIS.
  9. Israelis and Palestinians are human beings, therefore celebrating their suffering and death is not acceptable
  10. Be sensitive towards people who are pro-Israel and/or pro-Palestine at this time - they may have friends/family involved in the situation, or Israel/Palestine may represent something important to them such as their own sense of struggle or oppression or a place of safety in times of persecution. Solidarity with one side or the other is not a crime, they can be pro-Israel/pro-Palestine and still be pro-solution

If you want any advice, contact us. If you're a teacher or school leader and want to know more about discussing this issue with your students, you can find out more here.