Israel and Hamas – Oct. 31
As the Israel-Hamas conflict enters its third week, we see a rise in the number of conversations and protests online, especially on social media. This, in turn, has resulted in the tightening of advertising spending and the re-examining of brand guidelines on these platforms for content on the conflict. There’s also been an increase in celebrities now voicing their stance and concerns over the impact of the war.
China’s latest move and neutral stance might challenge its ambitions of being a peacemaker in the Middle East. With the World Bank announcing economic challenges from the war, Asian countries are already anticipating the economic consequences.
- The World Bank has warned that if the conflict escalates across the Middle East, it could trigger price shocks for raw materials such as oil and agricultural products. Oil prices could hit US$150 per barrel if the conflict escalates and this has raised concerns in several Asian countries. For instance, experts in India have said that oil price surges would have multiple macroeconomic impacts on the market and have several implications for the financial and banking sectors. Policymakers in Japan cautioned that there would be a negative impact on Japanese households, consumption, and corporate earnings through higher import costs. Thailand’s financial landscape is suffering badly, as the conflict has been pulling the SET Index to new lows.
- Protests in support of Palestine continue to escalate in Asia. Approximately, 100,000 people rallied in the southern Indian state of Kerala in solidarity with Palestine. In New Zealand, thousands of people holding Palestinian flags and placards reading “Free Palestine” marched to the Parliament House. On 28 October, a large crowd of demonstrators chanted slogans outside the US embassy in Malaysia’s capital. In India, two groups of different communities clashed over an Instagram post on the Israel-Hamas conflict. Thousands of Malaysians, many of them children, attended pro-Palestine protests in the virtual world of Roblox. These were subsequently amplified on TikTok.
- There’s a rise in celebrities voicing their support and concerns. In Malaysia, celebrities are rallying support for the Palestinian cause. A Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen faced backlash from his stance and found his poetry reading season on hold.
- China’s hopes as a key mediator in the Middle East might be challenged. Earlier this year, China had helped broker a deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to normalise relations, and even offered to mediate talks between Israel and Palestine. However, since the conflict began, China has maintained a neutral stance calling for a peaceful resolution. Critics are now questioning this stance as being driven by China’s economic benefits in the Middle East vs actively playing the role of a mediator. China announced it will boost coordination with Iran on multilateral platforms such as the United Nations, SCO and BRICS.
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