Israel, Palestine Take PR War To Web
On the ground, it’s bombs, bullets and blood. On the Web, it’s a war of ideas. As Al Jazeera, via Twitter, stokes sympathies and outrage over Israeli force, the Israeli government fires back with information campaigns of its own on Facebook and YouTube.
Following Al Jazeera on Twitter, one encounters the claim they are “the only international broadcasting organization with correspondents based in Gaza.” The Arab-world news organization details rising death tolls at civilian sites, and how three-quarters of Gaza is without power.
Aside from prevailing sympathies at social news sites like Reddit and Digg, the Palestinian viewpoint of the crisis is outnumbered by Israeli counterprogramming, from both government and citizen organizations. The Israeli Consulate set up a Twitter account, quickly amassing 4,000 followers, after monitoring debates and discovering “unreliable info.”
The Consulate’s tweets focus on Israel’s “war on terrorism,” and various (non-Al-Jazeera) news reports and commentary. One tweet says Palestinians not in support of Hamas are handing over intelligence to Israeli officials.
Another Israeli Twitter account is manned by volunteers inside Israel and the crew there tweets about Israeli casualties and civilians hit by Hamas rockets. In much the same way Americans view their soldiers as patriotic humanitarians, the fromisrael Twitter group posts photographs of Israeli soldiers being kind to children, kittens, and elderly Palestinians.
In addition to an Israeli Defense Force channel on YouTube and a website called HelpUsWin.org detailing all the social network accounts that have been set up on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Flickr, and del.icio.us, Israeli supporters have also set up a group on Facebook and a corresponding Twitter account called Qassamcount. These keep a running tally of Hamas-fired rockets crossing over into Israel.
Hat tip to Robert Scoble.