Information Literacy and the Israel-Hamas War

An Entry into the Conversation on the Palestinian Genocide

Palestine & Israel 

Recent events taking place in Israel can be challenging to witness, talk about, and study. This guide serves as one entry point into the conversation, using critical information literacy as a way to understand how information about the ongoing conflict is being created, who is creating information, who is not allowed to create or disseminate information, and other political, social, economic and technological implications. 

This guide takes critical stance, meaning it will center Palestinians as the oppressed group. This is not a neutral topic or stance as the evidence is borne out through the literature and history of the contested land. We are witnessing a genocide, the systematic destruction of a people, their history, and their culture in order for another to take total control of the land and its remaining inhabitants. When Israeli leader Yoav Gallant called Palestinian's "human animals" this indicated their genocidal stance. 

Framing: Information Has Value

Information possesses several dimensions of value, including as a commodity, as a means of education, as a means to influence, and as a means of negotiating and understanding the world. Legal and socioeconomic interests influence information production and dissemination. - ACRL Framework for Information Literacy

In this guide we will explore the concept "information has value" and how information is being used to further support imperialist and Zionist efforts. We will identify how lack of access to basic infrastructure including electricity and Wi-Fi impacts the ability for Palestinians to tell their stories. Finally, we will look at how the murder of journalists impacts whose stories get told and whose do not. 

Addressing Anti-Semitism & Islamophobia

Islamophobia is not tolerated. Taking a pro-Palestinian stance is not pro-Hamas nor is it pro-terrorism. We do not conflate being Muslim with being a terrorist. The United States has a particularly torrid history with Islamophobia, and we have only seen this rise in recent weeks, with events such as the killing of a 6-year-old Palestinian boy in his home in IllinoisThis guide serves to counter these xenophobic and racist ideas and feelings, engaging critically with concepts and our own information and cultural privilege. 

Antisemitism is not tolerated. Taking a pro-Palestinian stance or centering the Palestinian experience is not anti-semitic nor is it anti-Jew. We do not conflate criticism for Israel as antisemitism. Again, history shows that the Jewish people have been historically oppressed, murdered, and enslaved. We have seen antisemitism on the rise in recent years, and we take the stance that this is also not okay and actively fight against this. 

Critical information literacy forces us to take a critical look at the power structures that govern our world and how information operates within those power structures. As an historically oppressed people, the Jews have been subject to horrors because information has been used as a weapon against them. We acknowledge this, we abhor this, and because we are using a critical lens, we can also say that what has and is being done to Palestinians is equally abhorrent. 

Academic Neutrality

As the call for neutrality in the academy rings out, we must remember the purpose for which we are here: to engage in constructive, at times uncomfortable, discussion and debate about the world. This does not mean we debate the humanity of others or their right to exist; it does however mean we take a critical stance and speak up when there are clear instances of injustice. What we are witnessing is genocide, and it is up to us to bear witness and take action in whatever ways we can. 

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