Andrea Karshan

What I learned from Palestinians on TikTok

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva

I did Israel-Palestine TikTok Lives for about three months. I was doing them sometimes 12-14 hours a day. Sometimes I was up till 5 -7 am so I could be up when Israelis and Palestinians living in Israel-Palestine could join the Live. I still sometimes do the lives but not like I did before because after three months of that I needed to get back to my life outside TikTok.

But I learned a lot from these TikTok lives. Everyone has a voice on my lives who wants to share their opinions on the conflict. But the “stars” of the show are really the Israelis and the Palestinians, especially the ones living in the region.

But I want to talk about the Palestinians who joined. Most of them were Muslim. Most of them lived in America, Europe, Canada, Australia, a few in the Middle East, some in proper Israel and some in the West Bank.

When I say Palestinians who joined the Israel Palestine TikTok Live I mean the ones who were in the guest box. When someone is in the guest box they aren’t just in the comment section listening. They are a speaker. The host of the Live is having a conversation with them. They are really part of the Live, not just in the audience.

Of the hundreds of Palestinians who joined, most of them wanted Palestine “from the river to the sea”. They thought all the land is Palestine. And they wanted a one state solution with Palestinians and Jews living together (but of course this state would end up majority Palestinian because it would have right of return for Palestinians.) When asked what about the fact that this one state would do away with the State of Israel which is the only Jewish state and there are 53 Muslim majority states and the Jewish people just want their own state, so why can’t there be two states? The Palestinians always went back to but it’s all our land “it’s Palestine” (denying that Jews have some rights to that land too.) Some wanted that state to be a democracy. But more wanted that state to be some kind of Islamic state. There were different opinions on what that would like look. The Christian Palestinians who joined all wanted a democracy. They were all against an Islamic state in a future state of Palestine. There were some Palestinians who were two-staters but of those some of them felt that way because they felt at this point one state would never happen and this was just a compromise they needed to make to get anything.

Another trend I found with the Palestinians who joined my live and also the pro-Palestinians (who were not Palestinian) is the majority of them called recognized terrorist groups “resistance”, not terrorism. This was extremely disturbing. Over and over again whether the Palestinian in the guest box was in Israel, Palestine, the Middle East or a Western Country they were expressing their support for Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. And they were trying to justify the acts of these groups and trying to gain empathy for them from others in the live. When I watching this unfold in my live I was astonished. Many people were using their real names and showing their faces and supporting terrorism on a public platform. And this was the majority of Palestinians who joined, not the minority. But there were some Palestinians who said that any killing of innocent civilians is wrong and said that they hated these groups not only for what they are doing to Israelis but also because they are harming Palestinians.

When it came to indigeneity and connection to the land some Palestinians do believe that both Jews and Palestinians are indigenous. Other Palestinians, like some Jews play the “we were there longer than you” game (I think those types of conversations are a roadblock to peace and get us nowhere.) Other Palestinians think they are indigenous and all Jews are from Europe. Another take from Palestinians is the anti-Ashkenazi take they think the “Arab Jews” as they like to call them are real Jews but the Ashkenazi Jews are just white colonizers. I heard different opinions from Palestinians about their origins. Some said some Palestinians are Assyrian, some of descendants of the Jews that converted to Christianity (early Christians), Palestinians are from Canaanites, or Palestinians are from Philistines.

I know that the Palestinians I spoke to on TikTok only represent themselves and don’t represent the over 14 million Palestinians in the world. This is just my experience with Palestinians on TikTok.  And I hope that some of the more “positive” Palestinian voices I heard represent the majority of Palestinians rather than the “negative” voices I heard.

About the Author
Andrea Karshan is a Jew currently living in Chabad Crown Heights. She was born a Patrilineal Jew to a secular Jewish family with a Jewish father and Jewish stepmother. She then became Christian, and then was a Muslim for 13 years. She then did an Orthodox conversion to Judaism. She is passionate about Judaism and loves being a Lubavitcher. She has three Muslim kids from her previous marriage to a Pakistani. And she fights hard to combat Islamophobia and Antisemitism. And she is pro-Israel pro-Palestine pro-peace pro-truth activist.
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