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#PickASide – Israel vs Palestine

Date: 07.17.2024

Written By

Tonya Khoury

Have you picked a side? You know what I’m talking about. The #IsraelPalestineWar. Did you pick a side? You did because that’s what the media wants you to do. I’ve been working in this industry for over twenty years, and I have never seen so much disinformation in my career. Pick a side? This is not a football match; this is a war. You don’t just pick a side.

I’m Tonya Khoury, and I believe, that I’m brave enough to scratch the surface of this media mess and try to uncover the truth behind the media manipulation. Join me as we unpack the biggest story in the world. #IsraelPalestineWar.


Gaza is a place where you are born to die. You never leave Gaza without permission, you don’t eat in Gaza without permission, you don’t go to school in Gaza unless it’s at the behest of Israel. Gaza is the  largest concentration camp in the world. It is filled with over two million people that are likely never to see the outside world in their lifetime. That’s Gaza. Ironic how Israel has created the largest concentration camp in the world and one cannot reject that what happens in Gaza is undeniably apartheid. But this isn’t even about Gaza. A journalist put it best: “Any media narrative that does not acknowledge the occupation and siege as the root of all of this is insidious and inaccurate.” If you don’t recognise that #Palestine (not just Gaza) is “occupied” by Israel, then you missed the history class. It was only a matter of time before the Palestinians pushed back; again, this is not the first time that they have tried to break free, but it may well be the last. This time is different, this time Hamas (largely recognised as a terrorist organisation inside Gaza) were armed with machine guns and paragliders, and soon after, innocent people are dead at a music festival. That was horrific. A massacre of innocence. What also happened is that these “paragliders” managed to circumvent Israel’s #IronDome and that dear friends is suspicious. For those who don’t know, there is a dome protecting a large area of Israel where any bombs fired will be neutralised before they even come close to the iron dome. You can’t get near the thing. How did Israel miss this? Israel has the most intelligent security in the world, full stop. How did they not know that hundreds of Gazans were armed with machine guns and paragliders? Really? Hear me loud and clear: Nothing and no-one gets in or out of Gaza without Israel’s approval. So how did this happen? There’s a bunch of smelly money being shifted from America to Israel (billions of dollars) and then there are rumours of another bunch of smelly money moving from Iran to Hamas. Also billions. Are we being played? Or more importantly, as the Palestinians face a genocide, are we being manipulated into believing that it is justified? I’m just asking questions good people. I read the news so you don’t have to.

I scrolled through timelines, frantic, knowing that what Hamas did may result in the genocide of the Palestinian people. I was absolutely horrified, first by the carnage. There is nothing left of Gaza. Israel told the Gazans to leave because the bombs were coming but the Gazans can’t leave. The closest exit is the sea. It is like shooting fish in a barrel. Do you understand that? There are not suddenly 500 000 people displaced; they were always displaced, but now, they have nowhere to go. Our ignorance does not surprise me, but I’ll tell you what does: the level of disinformation. It’s extraordinary.  I was watching a video of children in cages that apparently the Palestinians had used to capture Israeli children. Then I saw the same video with the caption “this is what Israel does to our children”, then later the video was called out as originally being taken in Algeria. There is a war on the ground and a war across our timelines that is being manipulated beyond anything I’ve ever seen. We’ve started calling Palestinians “Hamas” and Lebanese people “Hezbollah”, both names we strongly associate with terrorism. We are so scared to call out Israel’s atrocities in fear of being called antisemitic. Let me be clear here, I have many wonderful Jewish friends. Jewish people do not equal Israel’s political leadership. I wish that distinction was made clearer. In Israel there was a great disapproval of #Netanyahu by Israelis and Jewish people. He needed several elections and coalitions to keep standing at the helm and, to be fair, it was looking very rocky. He was out the door. But now there’s the war and most of Israel are united under this tyrant. Are we being played? #PickASide #PickPeace #IStandWithCivilians

Watch Tonya’s Take Out for more:

Lebanon (or Hezbollah) took northern Israel with a drone attack, Hamas (or Palestine) came from the West Bank with their paragliders and now the maps on television have started to look like Ukraine vs Russia, except they are portraying Palestinians as if they were Putin. And here we are carrying slogans like #PrayforIsrael or #PrayforPalestine. What about #PrayforCivilians? What kind of God do you believe in? Kids are kids, innocents are innocents, and you should recognise that this war is, sadly, necessary. Palestinians belong in their own land and have a right to live in it. So do the Israelis. This is not the first time, but it may be the last. This may be genocide and the irony is lost on so many. The world stood up for the first time ever, and it was weird. They normally just send strong worded letters. Perhaps it was because it was #Hamas that attacked and not Israel that attacked Palestinians. The US sent an aircraft carrier. Britian announced that they stand with Israel unequivocally. Then we heard that Turkey and Qatar stand by Palestine and, if it means anything at all, battered nations Yemen, Syria and Lebanon do too. Someone tell me that this isn’t the real WW3. And what’s Putin doing by the way? He just watching the death toll. This story is very close to my heart, I have friends in Israel and Palestine and I pray that they are safe. In South Africa alone there were almost 360k posts about the war with an engagement rate of almost half a million. Watch Tonya’s Take Out on YouTube for a deep dive into this horrific and unfolding story. #PrayForCivilians. Pick a side? #PickPeace.

Let’s bring this home because it is easier to deal with fraud and corruption instead of genocide.

#DrMatthewLani. My goodness what a story. This TikTok doctor has been a legend on the platform; he takes to the screen with a stethoscope draped around his neck and he starts dishing out random, but quite believable, medical advice. He is so popular. An influencer of note. He put together a range of diet pills that he sold across the net. Well, he is not good doctor, and in fact he’s not a doctor at all.  He’s just plain old Matthew. You see the thing with social media is it will sniff you out, because social media thinks, and a collective group of thinkers can make trouble for a charlatan. Many pointed out that he was too young to be a doctor. He went on to explain that he skipped, not one grade at school because he was so bright, he skipped three. He forgot to mention that one of those “three” was matric as there is not a matric certificate under his name. He then rubbished that claim saying that he finished his matric as a diploma at Cambridge University, um, no that’s not true either. Cambridge have never heard of him. He then said that’s because he used a different name, but refused to tell us exactly what name that was. Social took him to school! They found that the barcode on his diet pills was dodgy (I say dodgy, he didn’t even try) it was 1234567890. His website is filled with errors where he says things like “Our products have not been texted”. I suppose they haven’t been “tested” either. Influencer #FunnyChef (quite a curvy woman) took to social to ask him what was in those pills. It was funny. But the #DrMatthewLani story doesn’t stop there: he was giving a live interview explaining his name changes, how he swapped social media handles with his cousin, how the name tag on his “scrubs” wasn’t his but someone elses that he just grabbed in an “emergency”. Still today we are trying to uncover who #DrMatthew is. Thank goodness for this story because it kept us laughing all week. #WhatWasInThePills?

And what on earth have #Afriforum been up to? They put up stickers on the gates of Tuks saying “No whites”, and everyone went crazy, shouting at the #EFF because well naturally it had to be them, right? Nope, it was #Afriforum creating “awareness”. What? Oh, it didn’t stop there, there was a school where you can see teens painting their faces black to create “awareness” of their lack of privilege. Ya, it’s time to go home now, right? Right?

Then there was the #Census, hands up who was counted? Not me or a single person I know, how about you? Anyone, anyone? Well according to this survey only 3% of our country are foreigners. Sounds like rubbish to me.

And then there was #Thabo and #Nandi. Nandi fainted so she didn’t make it to court, perhaps she broke a nail. #Thabo on the other hand was on fine form as he called for #DaliMpofu and #Mshololo to defend him. If you believe this hot mess, you need a movie streaming service, this is just bad TV.

Things got weirder when ex Chief Justice #MoegengMoegeng said he will be president. Apparently, God told him, and he was also told he doesn’t have to join a political party, it will just happen. Are these people on acid?

Let me speed up, I’m long over my limit. There were 640 resignations at parliament. #Jooste got a 15m rand fine. #OscarPistorius’ parole hearing has been delayed. #Gumede the sinister minister that gutted eThekweni got off due to lack of evidence. I’d rather not talk about that story. There is no water in Gauteng, some areas are entering their 37th day without a basic human right. #PickASide. There were fires at the SABC and the SANDF. #DwayneGordan was slain in a church in a murder most foul. And then #BlackCoffee made us feel like we were heroes again, just for one day. He is sensational isn’t he?

Outside of the top story, internationally, #WillSmith apologised for hitting #ChrisRock and a few minutes after that we learnt that Will and Jade (his missus) have been split for seven years. I don’t make this stuff up. There was another earthquake, this time in #Afghanistan and we didn’t even care, we were so obsessed with Israel. It was #WorldMentalHealth day and it was #WorldEggDay. Those two stories speak for themselves.

The weather is lousy in Sodwana but come rain or storm it’s all wet underwater, so I’m going to have a chat with that potato bass. He has the answers to everything.

I’m Tonya Khoury and thank you for scratching the surface with me and Acumen Media.


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