It’s honestly like we’ve begun to form these parasocial relationships with the people in Palestine … What Willy likely does not know, and The Washington Post doesn’t report, is that Bisan Owda is a professional Hamas propagandist.
Despite President Biden’s best efforts to explain the importance of Israel’s war to disarm and topple Hamas and minute-by-minute coverage by networks such as CNN, Dylan Wells reports for The Washington Post that the president’s support for Israel may lead young Americans to sit out the 2024 elections or support alternative candidates. The power of the presidency and mainstream media, it turns out, may be no match for the persistence, acumen, and impact of Hamas’s small legion of social media influencers when it comes to young Americans.
“Hamas doesn’t give a damn about Palestinian civilians,” Mr. Biden said Friday while explaining to the American people the legitimacy of Israel’s military campaign to destroy the terrorist group that barbarically murdered more than 1,200 Israeli men, women and children.
For some young Americans, the president’s words are falling on deaf ears. Wells writes, “enthusiasm for the incumbent president has been diminished by the war … many of whom feel he has shown a lack of sympathy for Palestinian civilians.”
Wells writes about Andrea Gonzalez, a “typically reliable blue voter,” who expressed her own moral conflict about how to vote — or whether to vote at all — in next year’s presidential contest.
“Biden’s stance on the war makes it difficult to decide where she leans,” Wells reports.
Social media is leading greater numbers of American college students to feel personally involved in the war.
“We all have TikTok, we all have Instagram. And it’s honestly like we’ve begun to form these parasocial relationships with the people in Palestine,” Breah Willy told Wells, “citing posts by a creator named Bisan Owda who shares videos from inside Gaza.”
What Willy likely does not know, and The Washington Post doesn’t report, is that Bisan Owda is a professional Hamas propagandist.
“Around five dozen individuals, some associated with Hamas and collectively boasting more than 100 million social media followers, have been waging a propaganda campaign against Israel on various social media platforms since the start of the Swords of Iron war on October 7,” Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman reported in The Jerusalem Post.
Jaffe-Hoffman wrote: “Another influential figure is Bisan Ouda (known as @wizard_bisan1 on Instagram), who presents herself as a filmmaker hailing from Gaza, Palestine, with a substantial following numbering in the hundreds of thousands. She maintains an active presence on platforms such as TikTok and YouTube, as well. Notably, her posts receive endorsements from well-known figures associated with antisemitism and conspiracy theories … Following the October 7 massacre, she posted a note in Arabic on social media:
For every action, there is a reaction. This means: What was expected after 75 years of occupation and 17 years of siege? … What was expected of us?
Ouda helped spread the lie about Al-Ahli Hospital, Jaffe-Hoffman reports:
800 people were killed in one airstrike in Gaza. The Israeli army was not willing to evacuate them, and they killed them inside the hospital.
While older Americans may be watching the president’s press conferences, young people are tuned into social media, where, astonishingly, Hamas may be winning the war for public support. Parents, teachers and peers proactively helping young Americans distinguish fact from fiction is more important than ever.