The memes of war

by Brian on December 3, 2023

in In the News,War in Gaza

Since the war to eradicate Hamas in the Gaza Strip began, I’ve been collecting social media memes – those pithy, sometimes insightful, often bleakly humorous images or text messages shared by supporters of the war effort. 

Here are some of the most memorable memes I’ve saved. 

  • A meme from Ziggy Marley, son of Bob Marley, subverted the cynical pro-Palestinian narrative quite effectively. He posted, “Free Gaza.” That doesn’t sound so favorable until you read the second line: “From Hamas.”
From Ziggy Marley’s Facebook page
  • Superimposed on an image of the Twin Towers in flames, the caption reads: “Nobody said on 9/11, ‘I support both sides.’”

Credit: yuvyuv_10
  • Another Al-Qaeda theme: “Imagine being an American post-9/11 but instead of mourning your people, you are busy convincing the world that the twin towers actually existed, the airplanes literally crashed into them, that actual people were jumping down. This is how I feel wandering around these days,” writes Michael Sutton.
  • Hollywood has been a mixed bag when it comes to supporting Israel at this precarious moment, but kol hakavod to Jewish comedian Amy Schumer Her post, with text overlaid on a Star of David, reads: “First they came for LGBTQ. And I stood up, because love is love. Then they came for immigrants, and I stood up because families belong together. Then they came for the Black community, and I stood up because Black Lives Matter. Then they came for me, but I stood alone, because I am a Jew.”

Posted on Amy Schumer’s FB page
  • Israeli copywriter Matan Unger created a series of dark “Where’s Waldo?” parodies replete with “cute” Waldo-like images – except here they’re of heavily-armed Hamas terrorists and their bombs, missiles and rifles. Can you spot the hostages? I didn’t think so.
Source: Matan Unger
  • One of the most shared images is from a “Queers for Palestine” rally. It’s juxtaposed with a picture of a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The latter reads “Chickens for KFC.” In both cases, no one’s getting out alive.

  • If you haven’t seen the Eretz Nehederet (Israel’s version of Saturday Night Live) parody of pro-Hamas students in the U.S. at fictional “Columbia Untisemity,” it’s in English and well worth its three-minute length for this brilliant rationalization: Midway, one of the genocide-loving students proudly declares, “I’m not antisemitic. I’m racist fluid.”

Screen grab from YouTube
  • Columbia Untisemity competes with Harvard for moral depravity. A parody of a university admissions application lists as its last essay question, “Describe one life-challenge you have encountered and explain why it’s Israel’s fault.”
  • When Gaza lost telecommunications, an image of an IT call center operator prompted a wry chuckle. “Gaza: My Internet is not working.” “Service provider: Did you try releasing the hostages?”
  • Harry Potter fans might enjoy this meme: Harry is pointing his wand at Voldemort while his faculty nemesis, Prof. Umbridge, interrupts his efforts, holding a large clipboard. “Now, Mr. Potter, exactly how much humanitarian aid are you currently offering to the non-terrorist organization known as the ‘Death Eaters?’”
  • Ex-Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, known for his antisemitic comments, gets the pro-Israel meme treatment in “alternative” cover to the band’s classic album Dark Side of the Moon featuring a Star of David at its center.

Credit: Daniel Bnaya and Guy Alkabets
  • Sometimes simplicity is the best. One meme I found is just a plain white page with text reading: “Verify that you’re human” with a captcha checkbox: “I support Israel.” An alternate version making its way around social media: “You don’t have to be Jewish. You just have to be human.” 
  • Some of the memes went really dark. “I can’t explain how it feels to hear people worldwide cheering for your extermination” was shared by my daughter who lived in Sderot for four years. Her PTSD is triggered with every new siren. The same sentiment was expressed in a separate meme: “I refuse to coexist with people who want to behead me.”
  • Martin Luther King Jr. quipped, “I agree with Dante that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal.”
  • Albert Einstein had a similar quote: “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”
  • From the Center for Jewish Impact: “If we sat shiva for every Israeli killed on October 7, we would sit for 27 years.”
  • A simple green “population” sign for Kibbutz Nir Oz hits home. “Population October 7: 450. Population October 8: 190.”

Design by: Eyal Ofer

  • The conflict explained in a nutshell. Hamas: “We want a ceasefire.” Israel: “I thought you wanted to kill us all and take over all the land?” Hamas: “We do want to kill you and take all your land.” Israel: “But I thought you wanted a ceasefire.” Hamas: “Correct. We want to kill all of you and take all of your land, but we also want you to stop fighting back.”
  • Finally, for those with the bandwidth to still worry about one’s choice of pronouns in a time of war, Sarah Tuttle-Singer has hers. “I identify as Jewish, and my pronoun is Jew.”

Memes may seem trivial, but we know from anti-Zionist chants like “From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free” how they can rile people up. Here’s one more: “Together we will win.”

Please feel free to share your own memorable memes.

I first wrote about the Memes of War for The Jerusalem Post.

Images from social media. Credits shown in captions.

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