Following the horrific October 7, 2023 terror attack by Hamas and the disturbing proliferation of fake news across digital platforms, a group of about 30 international students at Tel Aviv University (TAU) have formed a task force to tell the verified story of what they’re seeing and hearing in Israel right now.
“We’re a group of very diverse students with different backgrounds, different religious backgrounds, nationalities and we are coming even with different political views,” says Maria Ellal, one of the founders of the task force and a student from Malta currently enrolled in the International MA in Security and Diplomacy program. “We are just trying to get the message out of what we are seeing on the ground.”
The task force has launched Instagram, TikTok, X and Facebook accounts, and through them members are sharing the stories of victims and survivors of the terror attack. Every post made has been fact checked through multiple sources. The task force is also creating a content database as they analyze the online content disseminated since the attack on October 7, and members are using their international networks to raise awareness.
“The task force is disseminating truthful information and fact-based information, because in war the first thing that dies is truth,” says Ari Spielman, another founder of the task force, who is an American student in the International MA in Environmental Studies program. “We are verifying survivor accounts and uploading stories so that in the future … this can’t be something where it’s said it didn’t happen – because Holocaust denial, genocide denial … this is something that happens even in a day and age when we have verified, photo information.”
Additionally, members of the task force wrote an open letter that commits to “using our knowledge and international perspective to raise the awareness of societies worldwide,” which has been signed by approximately 150 TAU international students, from various countries such as: Malta, USA, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, France, Hong Kong and Poland.
“We are always proud of our international student community at TAU, but, given these terrible times, we’re admittedly especially proud right now” says Maureen Adiri Meyer, the director of TAU’s The Lowy International School. “We and the wider TAU community are trying to support this and all other student-led initiatives right now, however we can.”
See the task force’s linktree for more information.