Emily Austin, American journalist and social media influencer, spoke to Arutz Sheva-Israel National News on her recent visit to Israel.
“Initially when I went, I told myself it's not going to be so bad. You've seen every video on Telegram. You saw the tweets. you know how to prepare yourself, like don't become an emotional wreck and then going there with that mentality did not make it any less hard. I met with families. I met with people who were in Gaza. I saw the destruction of the kibbutzim. I met soldiers who were leaving into Gaza and I'm questioning what if they die. What if I see them tomorrow being posted on Instagram and I just met them now. My heart's going to be broken and just so many thoughts that you don't even think of going into these situations,” said Austin.
She continued, “Coming back from that honestly made me more upset at the situation that we're in right now in the United States, which is blatant denial of what happened on October 7th and arguably even worse is the celebration of what happened by just cruel evil people and misinformed people, which is primarily college students. So when I came back I felt even more of a responsibility to share the truth of what I saw, whether it's in social media, whether it's in my day-to-day conversations. But then even more so to educate people who disagree with you. I spend a lot of time talking to Jewish people about their Jewish pride, but I'm not trying to convince them to be an ally. I know you're an ally; I'm trying to speak to people who hate us or those who deny what happened and I'm trying to re-educate them so maybe one day we can be allies.”
Austin believes that “I think the core of the problem is a mixture of hate and ignorance. I think it's a perfect recipe of all of those ingredients. I think a lot of it's taught, like the woman I debated on Piers Morgan who said that her grandmother was displaced in the Nakba, but she had no clue about the war that was waged by the Arab League. So selective information leads to propaganda, leads to misinformation, leads to hatred. In another instance you'll find college students that are boycotting Israeli products or leading these protests on campus, and you ask them, ‘Hey, from what river to what sea?’ and they're like ‘free Palestine, stop the genocide’ and screaming in your face. These are talking points that they just use and they have no idea what it means. So it's a mixture of taught hate and then it's another really horrible ingredient of misinformation and blatant ignorance. It has become sexy now to protest. People are looking for reasons to march the street and right now they're getting a lot of attention by boycotting Israel and protesting Israel and defending Hamas. You'd be surprised how many students don't know they're a terror group. They think it's just a war between Israel and Hamas, not realizing they're right up next.”
Austin talks about “the on-air debate on Piers Morgan that got tens of millions of views, which is great, because this woman humiliated herself by making herself look like a neo-Nazi on live television, in front of millions of viewers. I had a great chance to inform her as to what the Nakba actually was and how the Arab Leagues waged the war, and then the conversation transitioned into October 7th. This woman, her name is Nardine, she leads a vile organization called Within Our Lifetime, which calls for the destruction of Israel within our lifetime. She looked into my eyes and said she celebrated October 7th and that Hamas are freedom fighters and it's an act of resistance and the resistance will never end. She's also calling to globalize the Intifada. Now obviously combating her, I don't just let her get away with the hate. I put her in her place and it was quite humiliating for someone like her."
"So, following the debate she shares on her social media what the Palestinians keep using, these red emojis, like upside down arrows, that identifies a Zionist target, whether it's a business or a group or a person. So, she shared to her socials a picture of Manhattan's map, telling all the protesters which organizations to go protest, which was Puma, Grand Central, Moma. Then she puts a photo of myself and Piers Morgan with the red dots on our heads, as if we were the targets. Now they are violent people. They are not peacefully protesting the streets. They're harassing cancer patients. They killed a man in LA. Now you're sending your goons to come after me? But what really made it worse was somebody within her organization doxxed my house address and what they thought was my cell phone number. In reality it was my parents' cell phone number. So now they're getting nasty texts all day. I had to call the FBI and I had to call my local police department and have constant security outside my house, because I live at home with my siblings and my family, so I'm never home, but they are. So why should people now put my family's life at risk for something that you don't like that I said.”
Austin admitted that she’s “taking gun lessons right now, because my face is everywhere thanks to this nasty human being in a bad way. I just have to like walk with eyes behind my back, because I don't know when one of her goons is going to be in Manhattan at the same time as me and think that I'm a Zionist target, that it needs to be killed, because that's our solution to everything.”
Regarding the US elections, Austin says that “Politically Joe Biden lost the young vote because young people are upset that he's supporting Israel. Now these same young people are complete morons and idiots. So that's honestly quite funny to me that a president who does nothing but appeal to Gen Z and all the things that they advocate for and fight for, suddenly lost their vote because they're pro-Israel. They need a little bit of an awakening that Biden's going to support Israel. Trump will support Israel. Bobby Kennedy is going to support Israel, or whoever wins is going to support Israel. So, I think it is going to hurt Biden. I've been pleased with how he's treating the situation in Israel. I wish he'd do more to bring the American hostages home, or at the very least, to set an example that it's not okay to take hostages in Gaza. But I think it's going to hurt Biden a lot, which then helps Trump, because everyone else is going to drop out before then.”
Austin disclosed that since she visited Israel, she is “absolutely looking at my calendar every day, to see when I have five days, just five days and I want to come. Despite the challenging and scary days, Israel makes me smile. The feeling – it’s so silly. I try to describe it to people, but I have a hard time. It's like a feeling. I tell Hebrew speakers, it's like a wind that instills this motivation inside of you. To be in Israel, especially during a time like this, for me it's selfishly healing, because I feel like whether you're mourning together or you're hugging one another, you're comforting one another, although I wasn't the person directly affected by October 7th, to even speak to them or have conversations with them, or help them grieve or even distract them for a few minutes is a win-win for everyone. It shows me what I'm fighting for and it makes me more empathetic as a human being, as a woman, as a person. Then to know that maybe I can help in any way in Israel. Even by being in America I know helping in Israel is very satisfying for me and I think the difference between here and Israel is just to be with so many people who believe in the same thing and like-minded people and religiously similar, even though there's a whole religious spectrum in Israel. It's just so fulfilling. The country itself is where my ancestors were from. My great-great-great-great-great grandparents were from all over the Middle East and all somehow found themselves in Israel time and time again. So it just feels like you have this sense of coming home, although it's not my home. But it feels like my home because that's how I feel inside when I'm there."
Austin says that “Regarding the reference to the Holocaust when people talk about October 7th, people get mad at me for saying that visiting Israel this time felt like visiting Auschwitz, but that's how I feel. You know you can't get mad at that, like the feeling I had leaving Be’eri was the same feeling I had leaving Dachau or Auschwitz. I think there's no way to tell someone how to feel when they're grieving. It’s an impossible recipe but the comparison is that people are denying October 7th happened. How are you denying it? There are videos today more than there were in the 1900s. Hamas bragged about it, there are still hostages, and the situation is still going on and we're already facing denial. What will we face in 100 years?”
She continued, “Now backtrack 100 years. We have the Holocaust, not even 100 years ago, and people are denying it happened when six million Jews were killed. There was proof the world knew about it and how could you just blatantly deny the truth, but that's how they're trying to distort history to fit their agenda and fit their narrative by distorting the reality of what happened, because for them to admit that we were the victims of a genocide doesn't fit their agenda. So now what I'm trying to do is just put the facts out there and my way of doing it is very gruesome. I put nasty photos that traumatize you for life and I keep sharing videos of October 7th and they keep getting deleted because they're so graphic. But if these videos are bothering you, then maybe get on the right side of history and work with us to end this evil in the world.
Austin concluded, “I just think it's very scary that if something doesn't fit your narrative, you're just going to deny it, even though it happened and then we have a serious problem in America. I don't know the other countries, but in the United States, the Holocaust denials are higher than ever and October 7th denial is happening before time has even passed, before the conflict's even over.”