What It's Like to Use Tinder In Israel

It seems like everyone is on Tinder these days. And by everyone, I mean that even Americans working in the West Bank are on Tinder, using the app to find love (or something more casual) amidst the turmoil. Unsurprisingly, the dating app takes a distinctly political bent when employed under these circumstances, especially since Israel's small size means that most of the users in your area will probably be young Israelis. A group of Americans teaching English in the West Bank learned this lesson the hard way, and decided that the best thing to do with all their weird dating app interactions would be to create a Tumblr and share them with the world. And thus, Palestinder was born.

The group writes that their idea in all of this was to conduct "a little social experiment" looking at how "the Israeli occupation of Palestine [might be] reflected in dating apps." So they each joined Tinder or Grindr and started swiping. And the result is a little bit like if the hilarious, US-based Tumblr Straight White Boys Texting took on a weird geopolitical angle. Instead of being distastefully forward and desperate, the Tinder users whose responses are posted on Palestinder are distastefully nationalist and intolerant...and occasionally also forward and desperate.

Like so many dating app responses, these are humorous in their sheer outrageousness — which here is often heightened by the language barrier — but the responses also speak to broader problems. Just as posts on Straight White Boys Texting reveal sexism, objectification, and the male sense of entitlement to sex, the responses to these American teachers speaks to a denial of Palestine and Palestinians among Israelis.

Although, of course, we have no way to know if these types of responses are the most common type the Palestinder group receives — and hopefully they aren't — and we have no idea what kind of potentially inflammatory messages are being sent in the other direction. All in all, it doesn't bode well for the conflict — and it probably isn't getting these users any closer to a post-chat meet up either. Nothing says sexy like xenophobia (or being just good old fashioned inappropriate).

Ah, language barriers. But at least some things are universal:

...Yeah, when it comes to universal stuff, I would have preferred something nice, like compassion or understanding, but hey, it looks like instead we're stuck with the fact that dudes on dating apps everywhere will proposition you for sex at the drop of a hat. Oh well.

Images: Palestinder/Tumblr