Israel’s Online Response to Palestinian UN VoteSeptember 22, 2011 11:43 by Simon Plosker
Even in the realm of public diplomacy, Israel is singled out for trying to defend itself. Take this article from Politico that profiles the IDF’s New Media Desk:
The IDF is also proactive on social media, with accounts on Twitter (in English, French and Arabic), the photo-sharing website Flickr and the video-posting website YouTube. “We just launched a [Facebook] page a month ago – now we have over 127,000 ‘friends,’” [Lt. Col. Avital] Leibovich bragged.
While the Internet is populated with huge amounts of anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic content, why does the media prefer to make Israel’s public relations efforts the story? Tools such as Facebook and YouTube are available to anyone to use. Yet, when Israel and her supporters utilize these platforms quite legitimately, the media singles this out as somehow newsworthy.
The next few days will see a diplomatic battle with huge potential consequences taking place at the United Nations over the unilateral Palestinian bid for statehood.
At the same time, the public diplomacy battle is being fought to explain exactly why the US, Israel and many other European and Western democracies are opposed to the Palestinian course of action.
The message is clear – a declaration of Palestinian statehood at the UN will do nothing to achieve the ultimate goal of peace. Only direct negotiations between the two parties can bring an end to the conflict and offer Palestinians (and Israelis) a better future.
To assist Israel’s efforts online, many organizations, including HonestReporting, have produced videos in the run-up to the UN vote. Please view a few of them below and spread them as widely as possible to your friends, family and through social media networks such as Facebook.
With a critical mass behind them, these videos will be seen beyond Israel’s traditional supporters.
The Truth About the Peace Process
His last video “The Truth About the West Bank” was considered to be such a threat to the distorted Palestinian historical narrative that Palestinian Authority spokespeople publicly condemned it. Now, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon is back in time for the UN vote with his latest look at “The Truth About the Peace Process”.
Don’t Be Misled – Israel Wants Peace
HonestReporting’s latest video asks whether the media are misleading you on Middle East peace. Don’t follow the herd – watch this video to find out why Israel is not the obstacle to Middle East peace and see HonestReporting’s resources page for more information.
Real Partners. Real Peace – Peace Between Israelis and Palestinians Through Direct Negotiations
This video from the RPRP Initiative calls for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct negotiations with responsible partners.
No Conditions, No Taboos – Let’s Just Sit Down and Talk
Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor makes a direct appeal for Palestinians to return to the negotiating table with a message for his Palestinian neighbors: “You can’t evade the inevitable. You will not achieve peace and statehood without Israel.”
There are many possible scenarios that may occur as a result of events at the UN. But have the media already decided on how to frame the Palestinian UN statehood bid? To their credit many media outlets have recognized the inherent dangers of this situation, including: The Washington Post, LA Times, The Times of London (subscription only), The Australian, New York Post, Baltimore Sun and Wall Street Journal.
Others are likely to frame opposition to a Palestinian statehood declaration at this time as being “anti-peace”, despite the pleas of Israeli PM Netanyahu for a return to the negotiating table.
With the odds stacked against it at the UN, Israel has every right to ensure that its own concerns are heard around the world. You can help by spreading these videos and other materials. In the past, when Israel has utilized social media for its cause, it has been accused of “propaganda” by the BBC, while Israeli spokespersons such as Mark Regev have been presented in almost sinister terms.
Despite the fact that the pro-Palestinian or anti-Israel side has a virtual online army advocating on its behalf, only Israel’s online advocacy is treated by some as if it is an illegitimate enterprise. Indeed, HonestReporting has come under fire on many occasions.
Israel has the right to be heard at this critical moment. Spread these videos and, if you find other material that you recommend, post it on the comments section at the bottom of this page for others to see and spread.