On February 15, President Donald Trump held his first joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Following months of speculation, observers had hoped that the conference would finally unveil the administration’s policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump’s remarks generated more questions than answers, however, particularly his comment that he is “looking at two-state and one-state [solutions], and I like the one that both parties like, I can live with either one.” For seasoned analysts and politicians intimately familiar with U.S. foreign policy on the conflict, Trump’s comment opened a Pandora’s box, suggesting a break with America’s long professed, albeit nominal, support for a two-state solution.
Another comment, however, caught the attention of Palestinian-American youth and online advocates. President Trump stated that “Palestinians have to get rid of some of that hate that they’re taught from a very young age. They’re taught tremendous hate.” The hashtag #PalestiniansHateOppression, first posted by Palestinian-American Izzaddine Mustafa on Facebook, spread quickly across social media platforms. Mustafa said he created the hashtag to challenge the “stereotype that Palestinians learn to hate from the womb.” Contrary to the myth propagated by President Trump and, just a day later, his nominee for Ambassador to Israel, pro-Israel partisans and extremist groups have promulgated this stereotype by altering English “translations” of Palestinian textbooks.
Many posts accompanying the hashtag took satirical aim at President Trump’s comment, referencing childhood experiences with foods that any child would hate, as well as Palestinian resilience and entrepreneurship. Other posts starkly pointed out Israeli apartheid, settler colonialism, and cultural appropriation as strong contenders deserving of universal hate.