During the Gaza-Israel conflict of July-August 2014, a large volume of creative, multimodal digital content aimed at influencing public opinion was disseminated on social media by belligerents and their supporters. This paper highlights two related features of this ‘viral agitprop’: the use of a diverse range of novel, hypermediated forms to represent a limited set of messages, and thematisation of the act of mediation itself. I argue that these practices are a response to the challenges of communicating with multiple publics within data streams that are crowded, competitive and fast-moving. I suggest this content represents a distinctive new Internet genre which problematises accounts of the relationship between war and media by Friedrich Kittler and Jean Baudrillard.
While the state’s blueprints for the social media future are currently being imagined by officials in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the political effects of this project are far from certain. What will digital statecraft mean for Israel’s relations with neighboring Arab states? How might it impact the everyday functioning of the Israeli military occupation and the everyday lives of Palestinians living under its thumb? For even as events in Egypt and Tunisia concretized state investment in social media as an information platform, and also as a tool for counter-insurgency, these revolutions raised other political specters as well. “We cannot but be impressed,” IDF spokesman Avi Benayahu noted recently in relation to current events in the Arab World, “at how Western technology harms regimes…one cell phone camera can harm a regime more than any intelligence operation can” (Fyler 2011). The fact that social media are concurrently employed by anti-occupation activists, Jewish and Palestinian, on both sides of the Green Line separating Israel proper from its occupied territories, is something that state officials interviewed for this article did not wish to address-and herein lie the risks. When viewed with the Arab Spring in mind, these countervailing digital trends raise the possibility of a very different digital future in Israel-far from that imagined in the IDF’s new media offices.
Kuntsman, Adi and Sanaz Raji. “‘Israelis and Iranians, Get A Room!’: Love, Hate, and Transnational Politics from the ‘Israel Loves Iran’ and ‘Iran Loves Israel’ Facebook Campaigns.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 8.3 (2012): 143-154.
So is there a room for Israelis and Iranians to inhabit, in cyberspace and beyond? Can they get a (“fucking”) room, and what would happen, if they do? The message of love sent by both sides seems to be strikingly powerful, when politicians—as well as ordinary citizens—speak the language of war. Yet, as our brief description of the Israel Loves Iran and Iran Loves Israel campaign suggests, “get a room” signals proximity that is not possible if political violence—inside each of the countries and elsewhere in the region—is not addressed.