Thursday, November 30, 2006

Israel's Internet Megaphone: Email Masada

David Seaton's News Links

The Israelis have come up with a new software, the "Internet Megaphone" which produces instant email campaigns in favor of Israel. This highlights something that has become very characteristic of their tactics of late: ingenious futility. The "megaphone" is obviously terribly counterproductive for four reasons I can think of right off the bat:
  1. Bad: As soon as editors, bureaucrats and politicians get wind of the megaphone's existence they will tend to attribute any batch of emails supporting Israel to the software. They will then discount even spontaneous shows of support for Israeli positions and nobody well never take any electronic polls on the subject that favor Israel seriously again.
  2. Worse: There are Muslim programmers who are perfectly capable of reverse engineering such a program and creating a Halal version.
  3. Much worse: I can see nothing to keep hundreds of thousands of Muslims all over the world from downloading the program and sending millions of well targeted messages attacking Israel.
  4. Even much worse: a combination of points two and three, leading to massive point one.
Lately supporting the Israeli position (behind all the endless smoke about "partners for peace") of basically not giving back any of the land they conquered in 1967 is like trying to keep a lead balloon airborne. One (you should pardon the expression) "hail Mary pass" after the other, beginning with the war with Iraq. By tainting the expression and evaluation of public opinion with such a childlike device as the Internet megaphone, they are writing an entire chapter for any sequel to the Mearsheimer/Walt saga. Masada is not a stone mountain, it is a place in the mind, the fatal allure of self-destruction.
Abstract From the Jerusalem Post (tip of the hat to John Brown - USC Center on Public Diplomacy): As Al Jazeera's 24-hour station takes to the air in English and with other new Arab English-language media initiatives such as the Ramallah-based Palestine Times fresh off the press, Israel has begun effectively using a new weapon in its public diplomacy arsenal to fight the media war on the Web - a locally-developed computer software tool called the "Internet Megaphone." The Foreign Ministry itself is now pushing the idea, urging supporters of Israel everywhere to become cyberspace soldiers "in the new battleground for Israel's image."The Megaphone(...)alerts activists about polls and articles about Israel on the Internet and enables them to express th eir support or opposition by e-mail. After just four months, it has been downloaded by more than 25,000 people from the Web site called GIYUS (Mobilization) which stands for Give Israel Your Support. (...) "An Israeli company developed a type of software that functions like a beeper from one central place. They send alerts and anyone who downloads the software gets a pop-up with links to an activity. It can be to vote for Israel in a CNN survey or react to an especially nasty article. We still have a long way to go, but this is our future."(...) When GIYUS noticed a poll on albawaba asking whether the violence in Lebanon had been an Israeli provocation, it sent a message with a link to the poll to its members and soon the results jumped from an overwhelming yes to a resounding no. The Megaphone was introduced by the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) during this summer's war with the aim of getting the pro-Israel community to respond in real time to developments on the Web. To attract users from around the world, translates polls into English, French, Hebrew and Spanish. Yonit Farago in The Times reported that "Israel's government has thrown its weight behind efforts by supporters to counter what it believes to be negative bias and a tide of pro-Arab propaganda. "The Foreign Ministry has ordered trainee diplomats to track Web sites and chatrooms so that networks of US and European groups with hundreds of thousands of Jewish activists can place supportive messages." WUJS's Jonny Cline said that Jewish students and youth were ideally placed to present Israel's side of the Middle East story. "We're saying to these people that if Israel is being bashed, don't ignore it, change it," Cline said. "A poll like CNN's takes just a few seconds to vote in, but if thousands take part the outcome will be changed. READ IT ALL

1 comment:

hANOVER fIST said...

I encourage everyone to use Megaphone so that their perfidy is available for all to see.