Following is a quick list of what went on in my world today. I’m placing the majority of this post behind a jump, so you can skip it if you like without too much work. But sometimes I also use this format to share various links I’ve browsed for which I don’t have a lot of commentary, so consider giving it a look.

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Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

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The Israeli Army’s YouTube
channel

As fighting rages in the Gaza Strip an unprecedented ‘virtual war’ is being
joined in cyberspace.

A furious public information battle is taking place on sites ranging from
YouTube to Facebook between the Israeli state and Hamas.

It is part of an attempt by Israel’s political leaders to use the internet to
spread their message and has seen the country’s Army, the IDF, becoming the
first ever national force to set up their own YouTube channel.

More than 4,000 people have already subscribed to the IDF channel, launched on
December 29, which shows constantly updated video footage of bombing raids from
drones targeting Hamas infrastructure.

The Israeli consulate in New York has also hosted what is likely to be the
world’s first ever press conference on Twitter.

Meanwhile, on social networking site Facebook, a battle has emerged between
quasi-official pro and anti-Israeli posters. One group, ‘I Support the Israel
Defence Forces In Preventing Terror Attacks From Gaza,’ set up on Monday by a
former Israeli Army veteran, has so far accumulated 22,964 members.
Counter-groups have been set up opposing it.

The Hamas web operation has also sprung into action online. The group has
relied on shocking images of civilian casualties taken by local media workers to
rally people to its cause. The images have also been placed on Islamist
websites, along with messages calling for Israel’s destruction.

Hamas-supporting hackers have launched their own guerrilla conflict,
targeting Israeli-run websites of all descriptions with around 300 reportedly
defaced or taken offline in the first weekend of the conflict alone.

Nevertheless Hamas has produced nothing to rival the organisation and
sophistication of Israel’s PR war. Explaining the focus on information, Israeli
military spokeswoman Major Avital Leibovich said: “The blogosphere and new media
are another war zone and we have to be relevant there.”

Analysing the online blitz, Israel’s media says the country’s focus on using
the internet to put across its side of the story can largely be explained by two
factors.

It is claimed that, during the 2006 Lebanon War, Israel’s inability to put
across its ‘party line’ contributed to the immediate pressure it faced to
abandon its operation.

It is also felt that Israel is particularly keen to use the internet as an
alternative to more traditional sit-down interviews with international
television stations and media outlets because many mainstream stations are
slated as being unsympathetic.

Declaring that Israel was winning its online PR war, the English-language
daily The Jerusalem Post said that its presence both online and in the
international media had left Israel with vital breathing space in the
international arena.

“Israel has no small measure of understanding and support and even approval
from many countries,” Dan Gillerman, former UN ambassador told the newspaper.

“Even in the UN I didn’t see anyone happy to condemn us. Unless something
very dramatic happens, such as a blundered hit that kills large numbers of
civilians, then we will have enough time to do what we need to do.”

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Following is a quick list of what went on in my world today. I’m placing the majority of this post behind a jump, so you can skip it if you like without too much work. But sometimes I also use this format to share various links I’ve browsed for which I don’t have a lot of commentary, so consider giving it a look.

Read the rest of this entry »

Originally published at Customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.