ChickPeace isn’t about taking sides. But let’s get this out of the way
Israel supporters: “Hamas is a terrorist organisation that is committed to harming Israel. How can we make peace?”
Palestinian supporters: “Israel’s actions are killing more civilians than terrorists and they are blockading Gaza. How can we make peace?”
ChickPeace believes there are no easy answers to these questions that will satisfy everyone, but there are ways of debating them.
Over the past month of the conflict social media users have played an important role in challenging the information, or lack of it, coming out of the region.
There are many graphics, stats, images and videos from either so-called side and it is important that all information is seen and that we don’t just rely on 140 word tweets, five minute news broadcasts or 500 word articles.
Ultimately there will never be enough newsreel to pages to cover the 3000 year conflict so it is important that when we are defending what we believe and putting forward our opinion, that we also listen to others that may differ.
If you think its wrong, that’s fine. Such is the benefit of living in a democracy.
But we can’t let Facebook posts or Tweets descend into slanging matches or personal abuse, or ultimately anti-semitism or Islamophobia.
There have been some horrible messages from journalists and senior figures on Twitter that equate the Gaza situation to the Holocaust, or using the Star of David in derogatory way.
But there have also been actions that risk demonising Islam as well. Was it acceptable for the Israeli Embassy in Ireland to publicise images of monuments in Dublin, Denmark and Italy with Muslim garb warning, “You’re next.”
Which is more offensive, or does one side have a right to be more offended than others?
All of these examples have caused vicious reactions online. Ultimately we are not going to solve the crisis on social media, but does that mean we have to abuse those that don’t share our view.
ChickPeace is about moving from diatribe to dialogue. Moving the social media narrative towards a peaceful resolution, not necessarily in the Middle East, but starting with eachother.
Both sides may have their own reasons for not talking about peace, but that doesn’t mean we can’t on our newsfeed, with our friends, neighbours and colleagues.
Taking a hummus selfie against hate is an alternative or additional way for you to comment on the crisis and show your support for peace.
It’s not about letting one side ‘win’, but recognising that the ultimate aim at the end of this has to be peace for the Israeli and Palestinian people as well as their friends, relatives and supporters around the world.