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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Charlotte McLaughlin

Rob Rinder: Social media posters should ‘think carefully’ after Israeli deaths

Rob Rinder has made an emotional plea to social media users to “think carefully” before they post following the death of two of his friends in Israel.

Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise incursion on Israel on Saturday and killed hundreds of Israelis.

In response, Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration has retaliated with a bombardment that has demolished neighbourhoods in the Palestinian Gaza Strip. The war has already claimed at least 2,300 lives on both sides.

Speaking to Sky News at the Attitude Awards in London on Wednesday, Rinder said: “Be kind, read and educate yourself and think carefully before you post [on social media].

“Kindness requires thought, it requires hope, it requires you to try and be as mindful as possible, as you can have to learn a little bit and we invite that from other communities and that’s true of the Jewish community as well.

“Right now, our Jewish community, many of my friends, my kids who I taught, I’ve got friends who were killed at that dance party, for example, a couple who planned to get married, two women in Israel, they spent their lives trying to work and campaign for peace and they’re gone tonight.”

Supernova music festival in the desert near Kibbutz Re’im was invaded by Hamas gunmen and hundreds of attendees were killed.

Rinder took a pause during the interview as he appeared to break down and look tearful and upset before saying: “Hamas doesn’t speak for the people of Palestine, it does not speak for the people of Gaza, it’s a tragedy and a horror for what might befall them, but be mindful of the Jewish community tonight.

“Thousands of people have died, many of whom are working for justice, for freedom, for the people who celebrate this so joyously, remember them too and don’t ask them questions about whataboutery, they don’t deserve that.

“Hamas is a terrorist organisation. It’s one that hates gay people… They do not speak of or for the good people of the world, remember that when you post, be mindful.

“Remember all human life is a value and we as a Jewish community, just like the LGBT+ community, need you, we need you more than ever and be an ally, and think, and be kind.”

It comes as Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan has called for social media platforms to take swift action to remove illegal and harmful content spreading online.

She told the UK leaders of Google, Meta, X, TikTok and Snapchat on Wednesday that they must respond to an uptick on violent content, and that their actions would reveal the companies’ preparedness for the upcoming passage into law of the UK’s Online Safety Bill.

Her intervention comes after the European Union’s digital policy chief Thierry Breton called on X owner Elon Musk to do more to stop the spread misinformation on the platform.

Hamas is a proscribed organisation in the UK, meaning the Government sees it as a terrorist organisation.

Rinder has previously appeared in the 2019 BBC series My Family, The Holocaust And Me – which explored the stories of Jewish families, alongside his mother, Angela Cohen.

Both he and Ms Cohen collected an MBE for services to Holocaust education last year.

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