Biased Narratives on Red Cross Social MediaWednesday 15/11/2023



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To: Ms. Mirjana Spoljaric Egger,
President of the International Committee of the Red Cross
19 Avenue de la Paix 1202 Geneva Switzerland

Date: November 15, 2023

We are writing to bring to your attention a pressing issue concerning the use of social media by the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the context of the ongoing Hamas-Israel conflict.
In today’s world, social media has an immense influence on the perception of conflicts, shaping
narratives and inadvertently affecting conflict dynamics. Recent events have underscored the critical
importance of the ICRC’s response in this domain.
The central concern at hand revolves around the balance and neutrality of the content disseminated
through ICRC’s social media channels. As an independent and neutral organization dedicated to
upholding humanitarian protection for conflict victims and the principles of international
humanitarian law (IHL), it is imperative that ICRC’s social media communications maintain a high
standard of neutrality, balance, and accuracy in portraying conflicts.
Of particular concern is the apparent disproportion in the content’s focus. A noticeable emphasis on
the Gaza Strip is evident in the content shared by ICRC on its social media platforms (see Annex 1).
This is evident in depictions of scenes from Gaza, casualty statistics, and information about victims
within Gaza. However, a significant absence exists concerning content depicting the atrocities
committed by Hamas on October 7 and the impact on communities in Israel near the Gaza Strip.
Furthermore, a notable gap in communication on ICRC’s Instagram account was observed following
the October 7 attack. While references were made to hostage-taking and the importance of adhering
to international humanitarian law, a more robust stance against the violations of international
humanitarian law committed by Hamas on October 7, including acts of sexual violence and genocide,
was expected.
Equally concerning is the absence of any posts, whether images, graphics, or videos, addressing the
damages suffered on Israeli soil. This encompasses distressing scenes of houses reduced to rubble,
charred walls, mass destruction, and the devastating harms caused by rocket hits on civilian
infrastructure in Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, and other locations.
The consequences of this content disproportion are significant, as it affects the overall narrative,
public perception, and understanding of the conflict. Given the ICRC’s influential role in providing
information, it is essential to adopt a more balanced and nuanced approach in social media

From October 7 until October 25, there has been a 500% increase in the volume of antisemitic events
compared to the same period last year. Specifically in social networks, the increase of online
antisemitic discourse was, between October 7-23, 400% compared to the 17 days prior to the war and
340% compared to the same dates in the previous months (The State of Antisemitism in the World A
Summary of the First Three Weeks of the ‘Swords of Iron’ War, 2023).
This alarming surge in online antisemitism has had dire real-world consequences. Instances of
antisemitic violence and vandalism have occurred globally, with private houses and apartments in
cities like Berlin, Paris, and others being marked with Stars of David. Synagogues, Holocaust
memorials, Jewish schools, Jewish cemeteries, and historic Jewish sites in locations such as Girona,
Berlin, Vienna, Rome, and Thessaloniki have been targets of attacks, often accompanied by anti-Israel
and antisemitic graffiti, including swastikas. A particularly distressing incident took place on
November 4 when a 30-year-old Jewish woman was stabbed in her home in Lyon, and her attacker
defaced her door with a swastika symbol. Tragically, on November 6, a pro-Palestinian protestor killed
Paul Kessler, a 65-year-old Jewish man, further underscoring the devastating real-world impact of
rising antisemitism.
The perilous connection between online antisemitism and tangible acts of violence against Jewish
individuals, communities, and institutions underscores the pressing need for fair and responsible
communication on social media platforms. This is why we firmly believe that the ICRC should maintain
balance and neutrality in the content shared on social media platforms.
Our request is not to remove existing content but to enhance it with a more comprehensive portrayal
of the situation, one that encompasses the atrocities committed in Israel by Hamas and other
Palestinian terrorist groups. Your proactive response to this matter will contribute to a more informed
and balanced public discourse on these critical issues.

CC: Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC regional director for the Near and Middle East
Alessandra Menegon, Head of the Delegation of the ICRC in Israel and the Occupied Territories
Ewan Watson, Head of Public Relations

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