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December 2, 2015 / 20 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

IDF Launches New Media Weapon in Information War against Hezbollah

Friday, July 12th, 2013

The IDF has launched new interaction media websites on the Hezbollah terrorist network in a pre-emptive strike to expose the rapidly expanding empire for what it is.

The vastly researched sites provide media outlets and, more importantly, the general public with a wealth of information that is designed to help Israel overcome the worldwide media bias in favor its enemies,

Operation Cast Lead in Gaza four years ago and the war in Lebanon proved how much foreign media were hell-bent to serve up reportage with a strongly pro-Hezbollah and pro-Hamas viewpoint.

Hezbollah’s move into Syria creates a gigantic threat to Israel, much more than Hamas or even Iran at this point. Hezbollah crippled northern Israel and surprised the IDF with advanced weapons and guerilla tactics in the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and it has a huge stockpile of  missiles ready for launching to strike again.

Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitz, the IDF’s director of the new Interactive Branch, told the Jewish Press and a select number of other media outlets Thursday that in last year’s Pillar of Defense counterterrorist operation against a barrage of hundreds of missiles on southern Israel,  “mainstream media” did not accurately report the massive attacks on Israel.

Now the military is striking back with its new Interactive Media Branch, which is using 30 platforms for websites in several languages – Hebrew, English, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, French and Russian.

“I am not trying to change the media,” Lt. Col. Leibovitz said. In effect, the IDF is carrying the banner of social protest groups, from the Arab world to Europe and the United States, and getting its message across on a new website while counting on a growing following on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

“The idea is similar in its concept of the military adapting to new war zones,” she explained. “This is a new media war zone  of interactive media.”

As of midnight tonight, the IDF has made available nine Hezbollah websites that are stocked with data and researched intelligence information exposing Hezbollah for what it is.

Although Leibovitz said she is not trying  to write an encyclopedia, the websites in fact provide a vast amount of information, with photographs, interactive maps, videos, and documented research, exposing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and not just a  political party. One website covers its illicit drugs and money laundering operations that bring in the funds to finance terror.

Other sites deal with Nasrallah, the Hezbollah media empire and its army of terror.

It is difficult to believe that foreign media all of a sudden will be nice to Israel, but the availability of the new websites for the general public may generate an even larger following on social media sites that will make it more problematic for media to portray Israel in an unfairly negative tone while treating organizations such as Hezbollah as a “militants” and “resistance fighters” trying to eliminate a supposed threat from Israel.

The IDF’s YouTube postings have received 35 million views. It has 340,000 followers in English on Facebook and 130,000 followers on Twitter, according to Leibovitz.

The new websites have been in the works for six months, staffed by approximately 30 regular soldiers and officers and with the cooperation of intelligence units and the Northern Command.

One of the leaders in developing the sites is 25-year-old Gabriel Freund, an immigrant from Australia, “I have been working for several months to get the site ready to tell the story of Hezbollah in a way that will be easy to share and understand,” he explained.”

Click here to reach the overall IDF site on Hezbollah, which provides link for nine others.

The Hezbollah youth movement

The Hezbollah youth movement

Updated: Rumors From Syria

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Not a week passes without some new rumor from Syria tearing up the Arab social media channels. Usually these rumors are sent out by the Syrian Free Army Rebels as a mixture of propaganda and wishful thinking.

Today’s rumor is of a senior Syrian official taking off from a closed airport in Damascus and heading straight to Moskow on flight SYR411, which landed at 11:00 PM on Saturday.

This rumor says the passenger is none other than Assad himself.

Of course, as in previous social media rumors where they say Assad has died, most versions of this rumor say he’s dead too, in a few others, that Assad ran away to sanctuary and exile in Russia.

It probably didn’t help that Syrians didn’t have internet for the past 3 days and need to let loose today.

This rumor was so widespread that the Russian Minister of the Interior felt compelled to respond to it on Saturday evening to say there was no truth to it at all.

We’re waiting to see what next week’s Syrian social media rumors bring.

NY Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Gets a Watchdog

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

On the NY Times Public Editor’s blog, Margaret Sullivan talks about the leash they’ll be putting on Jodi Rudoren, the NY Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief.

After Rudoren’s not very well thought out foray into the world of social media, and the serious missteps that followed, the NY Times has decided to appoint an editor to handle Rudoren’s social media interactions, for the purpose of “not exposing The Times to a reporter’s unfiltered and unedited thoughts.”

The NY Times has some broad guidelines for their reporter’s use of social media.

Take care that nothing you say online will undercut your credibility as a journalist.

Newsroom staff members should avoid editorializing or promoting political views.

And we should be civil – even to critics – and avoid personal attacks and offensive remarks.

Some might say that Rudoren’s choice of twitter links, topics, and statements didn’t exactly meet the standards set by the first sentence in that guideline.


Edelstein: Don’t Blame Reporters for Israel’s Negative Image

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Minister of Public Diplomacy Yuli Edelstein told students and young professionals not to blame reporters for Israel’s poor image at a conference on media and hasbarah at Ariel University earlier this month.

“Some reporters are anti-Israel, others are pro-Israel and most are objective,” Edelstein said. “The reporters are here for one reason, and that is to cover the conflict . . . [e]ven if they did write a nice article about Israel, it wouldn’t be published.”

Edelstein also urged citizens to take an active role in Israel’s public diplomacy efforts, stating that, “Citizens, who photograph and share it on social media introduce to the world our human face.”

The conference was part of the week-long New Media and Public Diplomacy Seminar organized by Ariel University’s School of Communications and sponsored by the Ministery of Hasbarah as well as the Prime Minsiter’s Office, held September 9-14th.

The seminar brought together 40 young students and professionals from around the world to learn about how public diplomacy shapes the Middle East conflict and the increasing impact of social media.

Seminar participants toured Israeli settlements and Palestinians villages, meeting with their residents, visited the Temple Mount, the security barrier and heard from Israeli professors, reporters and military officials.

Another speaker on the seminar, Mudar Zahran, a Palestinian originating from Jordan who is currently in political exile in London, spoke at the settlement of Eli and surprised local residents with his objections to the dismantlement of Jewish settlements.

Zahran claimed that the Palestinian state should be established in Jordan.

“The Palestinians have 78% of the land and the Jews have 22%,” he added “so it’s a fair deal.”

Zahran also praised the settlements for helping the Palestinians by creating jobs, and blamed the “Arab regimes” for “inciting against Israel,” so that their people will focus on Israel and not on them.

Students also heard from critics of Israel such as a Palestinian named Omar from the village of Kalkilia, who said he works in Israel and that he must pass through an Israeli military check point on his way to work every day.

“Imagine,” he said bitterly, “you had to go through airport security checks just to get to your own land.”

While Omar said he supports Israel’s security, he said that “instead of building barriers we should build the peace.”

At the Habla military check point outside Kalkilia, participants met with Daniella, a representative of the Machsom Watch organization, considered by many to be an anti-Israel NGO.

Daniella complained about the difficulties Palestinians had to go through getting permits to work in Israel, “even after getting the permit” she added, “they need additional permits for their car, cart, donkey and sheep.”

“We volunteer for the benefit of Israel and the Palestinians,” Daniella said, adding that the “situation at the check points has improved incredibly.”

Participants concluded the seminar with a more positive view of Israel and the settlements.

“In Denmark, settlers have been stigmatized as evil people,” said Magnus Franck, a participant hailing from Denmark. Franck said he was surprised to find them to be “very nice people.”

Swedish participant Doron Keidar blamed the world of being detached from reality, due to “misinformation of the media.”

“The Arabs build with no restrictions, while the Jew’s are restricted from building even the smallest thing,” Keidar said.

Lara Berman a participant from the U.S. said that the media could never replace the experience of actually visiting the settlements.

“You can’t compare seeing the areas that are in the news, and interacting with people that are living it, with an article or a YouTube clip,” she said.

Berman said that she concluded the seminar with “more compassion and information on the situation.”

Branding Sold America on Obama like a Can of Soda

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

What’s the difference between a president and a can of Pepsi? When it comes to winning elections, the answer is very little. The 2008 election was not about issues, it was about image. Not just the image of the candidate, but the image of his brand.

In marketing terms, a brand is not just a label, it’s the way that the customer is meant to perceive the product and interact with it. Take the can of Pepsi. It doesn’t matter what’s actually in the can, you don’t have access to the full list of ingredients anyway. And if you did, it would take extensive research to even make sense of them. It’s not even about how the actual soda tastes. That matters, but not very much. All that really matters is how the customer perceives the brand. It’s not about the content. It’s only about how people view the brand.

From a marketing standpoint, it’s not what the product is, but how people perceive it in relation to themselves. This is an entirely image based approach, but a common one now. The ultimate question is – Is this a brand I want to be associated with? Do I want to be seen drinking this can of Pepsi? Is this a brand that makes me feel good about myself? Does it enhance my self-image?

The branding of American politics worked the same way. Obama was not sold as a set of positions and a track record, but as a brand. A brand that people were encouraged to feel enthusiastic about or at least comfortable with, using the same techniques that were used to sell soft drinks. Cheerful posters, meaninglessly simple slogans, celebrities, theme songs, merchandise, social media, viral videos, fonts, color schemes, logos and everything else that goes into pushing a billion dollar product from the shelves to the kitchen.

That transition took Hillary Clinton by surprise and hurt her most of all. Hillary had been working the party and the traditional campaign circuit, only to be sidelined by a media centered frenzy that centered around brands, not people. By the old political rules she should have won, but the new rules were in and they weren’t political anymore.

Few voters could really nail down the policy differences between Obama and McCain, a mistake that was in part McCain’s own fault and played into the image-over-substance approach of the Obama campaign. And those who couldn’t, mostly voted for the candidate they felt most comfortable being associated with. The election came down to a cultural split with the cultural weapons of mass distraction in the hands of an omnipresent media and social media empire.

There was no longer any point in discussing programs or issues. They had become details, like the fine print at the end of a television commercial that no one can read, and no one is meant to read. It’s there to fulfill an obligation, not to inform or play any meaningful role in the decision making process. All that mattered was the brand.

The approach was to make voters want to be part of the Obama “brand” and not want to be associated with the McCain/Palin brand. The Obama brand was positioned as cool and youthful, in the same way that soft drinks are. And the public was told over and over again that McCain was old and crazy, that Palin was stupid and crazy, and that both of them were uncool. Probably the most constant message repeated through the election and today, is that the Republican is for “old people”. In marketing terms this is worse than being called a Nazi. The constant pursuit of youth means that brands which appeal to old people are ruthlessly eliminated or limited to the export market. (That’s why you’ll find many classic American brands in South America or Asia where they have strong consumer loyalty, but in the United States they were replaced with more “youthful” brands associated with a new generation.)

2008 was certainly not the first time that liberals had worked to position themselves as the face of a new generation, and the Republicans as the voice of the past. The strategy dated back to Kennedy vs Nixon and saw use again with Clinton in 1992 and 1996, when Silent Generationers, George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole contended with the country’s first Baby Boomer President. And then in 2008, the boomer Hillary Clinton was pushed aside for a Generation X candidate. The progressive left enjoys being thought of as revolutionary and youthful, even if their ideas and funding come from eighty-year olds like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and George Soros. A youthful demographic is less likely to have the background and the life experience to know that their policies won’t work, and to be fueled by the same inchoate mix of outrage and blind optimism. And a willingness to act without understanding the consequences.

So Different Yet Similar

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Music played loudly while the men danced. On the women’s side of the mechitzah, we tried to speak over the sounds. I leaned over the table to hear what my co-worker’s wife was saying.

“Well, because we are both Belz, it just made sense,” Zeldy said with a smile, then continued picking at the chicken on her plate.

“The Belzer Rebbe even had a hand in our shidduch; he told both of our parents that it was a good idea.”

“By the time a young couple meets,” another woman, Toby, piped in, “the families know so much about each other. All that remains is for the couple to meet. They sometimes even get engaged that night. I remember when my brother was about to meet a girl for the first time, I caught my mother buying candy for a party, and I said, ‘Ma! You’ve already decided they’re getting engaged?’ But they actually did. They got engaged that night!” Toby said with a laugh.

Wow, I thought to myself. We come from such different worlds.

When I arrived home that night after the bar mitzvah of my boss’s son, I thought to myself how interesting it had been to interact with other Jews – but how strange it was not knowing much at all about their lifestyle.

Growing up as a second-generation Lubavitcher in Houston, the only chassidim to whom I had been exposed were the Chabad rabbis in my community. (And I never met the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who lived in New York from 1941 until his passing in 1994.)

My hometown community is an eclectic mix of observant Jews from various backgrounds, and as a child I was exposed to secular ideas and curriculums. Then, while attending a Lubavitch seminary in Israel, I observed other chassidim from afar.

I soon moved to Crown Heights to live near friends while attending university, and picked up the concentrated Lubavitch culture fairly quickly.

It was only four years later, when working alongside Belz, Satmar, and Bobov chassidim for a magazine based in Boro Park, that I developed an intense curiosity about the customs and lifestyle of these chassidim that seemed so different from my own.

Everything from their pronunciation of the holidays to the different ways they each curled their peyos to the mayonnaise-packed dishes for sale every few shops made me dizzy.

The chassidim around me at work periodically gave me a glimpse into their culture, but all I could see was how vastly theirs differed from mine. Still, I continued to observe them from a distance, figuring they valued their privacy.

Earlier that week I had attended a Satmar wedding. Everything seemed so new and exciting to me, but there was something that bothered me. These are my fellow Jews, I thought. Why do their ways seem so foreign to me?

Separate seating I was used to. The chuppah was traditionally Jewish. The fathers swayed back and forth in deep concentration as the bride approached the groom, stepping to the side as she encircled him seven times. The women looked radiant, angelic.

But some of the customs were, well, different. The mothers walked the bride down to the chuppah with an extra covering on their heads. The bride came down to the wedding reception with a wig on, her hair nowhere to be seen.

I had seen some of the customs before, of course. But there was a certain innocence, a purity I sensed, that made me yearn to know these people better. I looked at the girls around me and I ached inside; I didn’t quite know my own sisters, whom I loved nonetheless.

I decided to spend a Shabbos in Boro Park.

* * * * *

After lighting candles on Friday night, I left the house where I was staying to walk quickly through the raindrops to my co-worker’s house. Every person I passed rushed by me, looking in the other direction.

Soon I realized they were all men, so I should not expect a greeting nor should I offer one – of any kind. Men and women keep to their own gender in this neighborhood, I reminded myself. Greetings cannot be called out like in my hometown. Finally I spotted a woman and called out, “Good Shabbos,” to which she smiled and wished me the same.

Part VII: The End…The Beginning

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The first six sections of my story have focused on my struggles adapting to a strange college environment forced on me against my will. While that story is self-contained, I thought it would be worthwhile to at least partially answer the main question my book will address: What ended up happening to me? This is a fast-forwarded account that describes my watershed moment as a college student.

It is not often that someone can look back and divide their life into two separate and distinct sections—a before and an after. It may seem that the logical dividing point in my life was when I left yeshiva and started college, but that really is not the case. It was very possible, if not likely, that I could have spent my collegiate career as an overwhelmed and uncomfortable fish perpetually stuck out of water, without experiencing any significant personal change or growth. I get a lot of weird glances when I say this, but it is 100% true: Louis Farrakhan changed my life – for the better.

While the Nation of Islam is probably not a major part of most of our lives, they are rather prominent in Chicago where they are headquartered. I had been following the extreme racial and anti-Semitic antics of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam for quite some time. He was often in the news, and never for any particularly good reasons. The black and white world in which I lived had everything to do with right and wrong and nothing to do with race, but there were few people I deemed more radically evil than Farrakhan.

I had often seen members of the Nation of Islam on the train or handing out their propaganda newspaper, “The Final Call.” They were people I avoided at all cost.

As I became more active in my classes, it was clear I stood out. People I didn’t recognize would come up to me in the hallways or on the bus and comment about something I said in class. I attributed that visibility to my yarmulke, but the truth is I stood out because I was so actively engaged in my classes, much more so than my classmates.

The message I internalized, however, was that I was obviously different because I was Jewish, and my peers would always notice that. It was my job to represent my heritage well and successfully defend it when necessary.

I was absolutely shocked to find signs advertising a speech by Louis Farrakhan at the start of the fall 1992 semester. I could not understand how this was possible. The concept of political correctness was fundamental to the college experience in the 1990’s. We were consistently told that anything derogatory or in anyway insulting to a racial or ethnic group was forbidden and even grounds for dismissal, yet somehow, the most virulent of anti-Semites was speaking at a campus sponsored event!

To me, this was even more evidence that the persecution of Jews was unique in world history, how else can one explain the most basic principle of campus discourse being ignored to allow Farrakhan the opportunity to speak?

While the planned event did encourage some heated student discussions both in and outside of class, I chose to ignore them. I kept looking for signs and fliers about the counter demonstration that would surely take place during the speech, but none appeared.

I assumed that the protesters had taken a more secretive approach, and that there would be a major protest at the event itself, if not by the student body as a whole, at least by the Jewish students, even if I was not aware of who was organizing it.

The speech was limited to NEIU students only. While I was a student, I was having a tuition bill issue that semester (they could never read my FAFSA and I went through 5-6 revisions before we got it right—they have since moved to an online system). As a result, I did not have the stamp on my ID certifying that I was a current student.

That meant that I could not gain admittance to the speech itself. Security was tight on the day of the event. I showed up outside of the auditorium early, fully expecting to find a major protest underway, but I was sorely disappointed. There was not a single sign or person protesting. I was shocked. How could that be? How could a person like Farrakhan be allowed to speak in the first place? And even if he was allowed to speak, how could the college community ignore this provocation? I simply could not believe it.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/part-vii-the-endthe-beginning/2012/06/08/

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