MamaHive, Chicago’s biggest moms’ group on Facebook, is being ravaged by the Israel-Palestine conflict. Political activism entered the chat, calling for support of the Palestinian people, and many of the Jewish moms were offended. The rhetoric became hateful, and the tensions ran high.
Jewish moms were kicked out of the group and others left in protest after MamaHive admins condemned the “terroristic acts” by Israel “against the Palestinian people.” The post that started the fights between the moms accused the Israelis of “occupation, genocide and apartheid,” all extremely loaded words, particularly for Jewish mothers.
“We, the admins of MamaHive Chicago, take a strong stance against the terroristic acts being committed against the Palestinian people,” the admin’s post read. “Anyone appearing to justify the occupation, genocide and apartheid that is taking place will be immediately removed. If you feel in any way supportive to those committing these heinous acts, please feel free to remove yourself.”
It didn’t take long for tensions to escalate. The group, which includes over 42,000 moms, turned against one another, some saying wildly hurtful things in the comments section.
One Jewish mom said the group was like Hamas, saying she would quit. Another quickly responded, calling her a “genocide lover.” The Jewish mother replied: “go f—k yourself terrorist!” MamaHive turned upside down, hundreds of members participating in hateful debates regarding the conflict halfway across the world.
Two of the founding mothers were kicked out of the Facebook group and many other Jewish members either left or were removed. Alina Slotnik, a founding member of MamaHive, said that “this group was about having a safe, supportive, resource-rich forum for parents to talk about their experience of parenting.”
Slotnik, a Jewish mother, was offended by the political activism that consumed the Facebook group over the weekend. “It was meant to be inclusive and always welcoming,” she explained, “and it breaks my heart that somebody would create a politically or religiously based litmus test for this group.”
Tensions in communities are running high throughout the United States, both online and in person. A fight broke out in Times Square on Thursday despite the announcement of a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas conflict. Pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protestors traded blows in the New York City streets. Many protestors were arrested.
One reporter claimed there was a tear gas-like chemical released into the air during the protests, and an NYPD officer said a firework was launched. The groups rallied in Times Square in preparation for President Joe Biden’s speech regarding the cease-fire. The decision to end the violence comes 11 days after the war erupted, rockets firing non-stop throughout last week and this week, killing 230 Palestinians, wounding 1,710 others. Twelve people in Israel were killed.
Demonstrations of political activism have been seen worldwide. MamaHive is just one example of how the conflict has erupted in small ways all over the country. Many protestors are worried for their families in Gaza and Israel, using their right to protest in the United States to spread their message.
“I am waiting every morning. I am terrified when I wake up, checking social media, checking with family, because we never know,” Ayesh, a member of the Missouri chapter of American Muslims for Palestine said. “Is it going to be my cousin next? Is it going to be my uncle?”
Dana Hamed, a Palestinian mother from Chicago and a moderator for MamaHive, played a major part in making the group political. “Hey guys, I would like to make a post like this but for the genocide occurring in Palestine right now,” she wrote in a preliminary post to her fellow admins. “Just giving a heads up in case it ruffles some feathers.”
After receiving enough support, Hamed created a post for the entire MamaHive group. “This group stood strong for our black brothers and sisters and we stand strong for our Palestinian brothers and sisters,” she wrote. “We don’t do selective activism here.”
Though solidarity and support were among the first things to shine through from fellow members, things began to intensify as Jewish members were offended by the sudden turn. “This is a diverse group of Chicago mothers,” one Jewish mom wrote. “There are many Jewish mothers, Israelis, and those who support Israel in this group. There are also many who support peace for ALL people. I don’t understand this stance or statement at all.”
The conflict escalated, with several moms using the space to condemn Hamed. “I have received death threats, had my personal information shared without my permission online, and strangers have called my clients,” Hamed explained. “Despite this, I have no regrets about posting a statement, approved by admins, about our collective support of Palestine. As Americans, we must all speak up when we see injustice, inequality, and apartheid.”
MamaHive admins were forced to archive the Facebook group, meaning it won’t appear in Facebook search. No new posts can be added and no new members can join. Many of the original members and administrators of the group were disheartened, upset that the group meant for parenting tips became something fueled with hate on both sides.