Learn about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but watch out for misinformation

The Editorial Board urges all students to use reliable sources and engage media literacy when following the recent Israel-Hamas war.

Since early October, misinformation and false AI imagery related to the latest Israel-Hamas war have been flooding news reports and social media. 

For example, a video of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un blaming President Joe Biden for the Israel-Hamas war was circulating social media, but the English captions were incorrect and the footage was actually from 2020, The Associated Press reported

Various other false claims involving events in Gaza and Israel have spread online and into real-life conversations. The misinformation can be dangerous in shaping how students understand major global events. 

The Editorial Board urges students to learn about the 75-year Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Israel-Hamas war, but to use reliable sources and engage media literacy to avoid misinformation.

Reputable news organizations, including The Associated Press, BBC News and PBS, provide live coverage of the conflict and update it as new information becomes available. Students can refer to these sources to stay up to date as the conflict progresses.

On the other hand, information sourced from biased news organizations and unattributed social media posts should not be accepted as immediately trustworthy, even if they frequently appear on social media feeds and in real-life conversations.

Well-crafted lies sometimes get more engagement than accurate informational posts and are easily circulated through reposting and sharing options on social media, according to an October 2022 study by Integrity Institute, a truthful information advocacy organization. 

Before sharing or reposting, students should practice media literacy, which is the process of critically analyzing mediated information and determining its credibility. 

There are three key steps to media literacy: decoding media messages and the systems in which they exist, assessing the messages’ influence and creating media conscientiously, according to Media Literacy Now, a media literacy education advocacy organization. 

Walking through these steps can prevent the spread of misinformation and foster deeper thinking about the current crisis. Some students consider the Israeli-Palestinian conflict too complex to understand, but all students should try.

While navigating misinformation can be difficult, The Editorial Board encourages all students, regardless of their connection to the latest Israel-Hamas war, to educate themselves on the history and current events of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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