On June 3, after a wave of antisemitism hit the United States’ metaphorical shores following the recent tensions between Israel and Hamas, middle school students in grades 6-8 at Epstein Hillel School in Marblehead engaged in a Zoom conversation with Dr. Rachel Fish, scholar warrior, and Brett Lubarsky, director of the Jewish Teen Initiative at CJP, about the impact of social media on the spread of misinformation about Israel and the alarming rise in antisemitism.
Dr. Fish opened the conversation by likening the situation to an onion in which one needs to peel back many layers to fully grasp its complexity. In a place with religious significance to many, two differing narratives about history, and strong claims to land itself by both peoples, it’s no wonder that Israel is often portrayed in a negative light in the news and on social media. Dr. Fish gave the students an extensive background in how the state of Israel came to be, and the origins of the conflict itself.
Students were encouraged to share what they had seen or heard on social media or in the news. One student spoke about his family in Israel and was disturbed by the recent protests in Israel and in the United States. Another student saw that in a recent social media post, Israel was being referred to as an apartheid state. A third student shared that