Israel Armed with Internet Savvy

This weekend Israel was celebrating the first week of a “hasbara” campaign – the Hebrew word that has come to mean “spin” and “propaganda” – being waged on several fronts, including unprecedented use of the internet and other new media.

Despite a ratio of more than 100 Palestinians killed for every Israeli during Operation Cast Lead, officials said they are satisfied that Israel is winning sympathetic media coverage that has provided its military with the breathing space it needs to continue the strikes against Gaza.

The [Israeli Defence Forces’] YouTube channel, established the day after the first air strikes, is currently the most popular on the site. The two dozen videos relating to the current operation have recorded hundreds of thousands of hits. The channel also features a daily video blog – a vlog – in which army spokesmen justify the attacks on Gaza and the dozens of civilian deaths, as “humane action” in self-defence against Hamas provocation.

Israel has turned to other websites, such as Facebook, blogs and chat rooms, often relying on former army personnel and public relations consultants, to advance its case. According to the Israeli media, the army has been advising 50 influential bloggers in the United States alone.

Read the full piece by Jonathan Cook: Israel armed with internet savvy

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