Nick Henderson-Mayo
Nick Henderson-Mayo

The social media war is raging, so where is our Wonder Woman?

Gal Gadot (Jewish News)
Gal Gadot (Jewish News)

Just days after Hamas began their rocket-fuelled terror campaign against Israeli civilians, Gal Gadot, the Hollywood-based Israeli movie star, posted that her “heart breaks” given the outpouring of senseless violence which has gripped Israel since last week. She ended her post with a call for peace:

“I pray for our leaders to find the solution so we could live side by side in peace. I pray for better days.”

The backlash was immediate. Gadot was bombarded with antisemitic attacks as a media whirlwind was whipped up against the star. Gadot is hardly a poster child for Israel’s right-leaning politicians. She previously called out Netanyahu for his controversial “nation-state” law, prompting Gadot to call for, once again, peace and understanding. “Love your neighbour as yourself,” Gadot said. Within Israel, Gadot and her Israeli celebrity friend, TV host Rotem Selah, were roundly attacked as “leftists” by Israel’s vocal right wing.

So why has Gal Gadot spurred a barrage of media attacks in this latest conflict? Because she once again called for peace, and that goes squarely against the PR line of the death cult known as Hamas.

While all of Israel, Arabs, Jews and Bedouins, suffers under thousands of rockets designed to maim and murder, outside Israel, there’s a vicious war being waged on social media, and Hamas is winning.

Hamas, as Israel knows, is entirely uninterested in peace or coexistence. In this latest conflict, their genocidal agenda is now trending, and trendy, in the celebrity world. It began with The Weekend sharing lies about state-sponsored “ethnic cleansing” regarding the property dispute in Sheikh Jarrah / Shimon HaNatziv in Jerusalem, alongside Grammy winning artist Dua Lipa. And it’s not the first time Dua Lipa has been caught out promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories to her nearly 50 million followers.

Dua Lipa’s boyfriend Anwar Hadid has a couple of famous sisters, the supermodels Gigi and Bella. At a pro-Hamas rally in New York on Saturday, Bella Hadid was seen wrapped in the terror groups’ colours and hoisting their flag high, later writing on Instagram: “It’s free Palestine til Palestine is free!!!”

This is a rapidly trending hashtag on social media. From Idris Elba to pop-star Halsey, the list of celebrities eschewing peace and coexistence for Hamas talking points grows with every new set of rockets fired from Gaza. As Hamas hides behind human shields, a.k.a. the children of Gaza, they recruit another tranche of social media personalities to their cause.

But not every influencer on Instagram has fallen into the terrorists’ trap. Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness wrote on Instagram about his love for both peoples, noted that he was not an expert, criticized both Hamas and the Israeli government for violence, and called for “peace and equity.” Van Ness is right. He’s not an expert. In a world where everyone feels the need to say something, Van Ness took a distinctly measured approach.

However Gal Gadot has ten times the number of followers Jonathan Van Ness does. And Gadot is, for better or worse, the most famous Israeli outside of Israel. The Wonder Woman star has never hid her Israeli-ness, frequently teaching the world Hebrew slang and talking about how important Israel is to her. Israelis were rightly proud of a star who was fitting in to Hollywood by standing out. We greeted her with thunderous applause in our cinema’s, even when she appeared momentarily on our screens in DC Comics superhero films, before starring in a movie, and a sequel, in her own right. In Gal Gadot, Israel had found our Wonder Woman.

Gadot’s friends, family and fans here in Israel have been hiding in bomb shelters for a week now. Rockets have streaked across the sky, day and night, each one willed by those who sent it to destroy lives, to murder Jews. And many have. It has been nearly a week since Gal Gadot said anything to the friends, family and fans she is so worried about.

The reason she stays silent is clear. When calling for peace caused only a social media backlash, what’s an actress to do? Yet the problem with silence on social media is that it creates space for lies to spread. The celebrity world is taking to social media to tweet and post and share misinformation about the conflict. Most of the time, it’s because they don’t know the reality, or listen too much to the antisemitic soundbites parroted by hardcore Hamas supporters like Gigi and Bella Hadid who claim Israel is a “colonizer,” Israel is “illegitimate,” that Israel should simply not exist.

This is the reality of the social media war being fought in the world today. Just like within Israel, the conflict is not between Arabs and Jews, but between Hamas and humanity. And we need Wonder Woman to come to our rescue.

About the Author
Nick Henderson is a former Scottish political activist who left Labour under Corbyn, and then the UK because of antisemitism. He now lives in Jerusalem with his husband.
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