Saturday, December 09, 2006
Last July, I wrote about "Hasbara--The Zionist War on Truth." Late last month, The Guardian (UK) ran an article by Stewart Purvis called "Israel ups the stakes in the propaganda war." Purvis reported from the David Bar Ilan conference on the media and Middle East in occupied (1948) Palestine (a.k.a. Israel). There, Israeli propaganda minister Amir Gissin "faced an audience of Israelis who were unhappy about the way the propaganda battle with Hizbullah was fought and lost during the war in the Lebanon. They wanted to know how it could be done better next time, because most people in Israel seem to think there will be a next time with Hizbullah soon."
Here's another excerpt from the article:
Gissin said the words of his English-speaking spokespeople could not compete with the power of the pictures of civilians killed in the Israeli attack on Lebanese towns like Qana. And the Israeli parliament will not spend the money on an Israeli counterpart to al-Jazeera.See also: Israel's Foreign Ministry provides Free Internet Tool to online activists (Electronic Intifada)
But Gissin was not down-hearted. He declared there to be a "war on the web" in which Israel had a new weapon, a piece of computer software called the "internet megaphone".
"During the war we had the opportunity to do some very nice things with the megaphone community," he revealed at the conference. Among them, he claimed, was a role in getting an admission from Reuters that a photograph of damage to Beirut had been doctored by a Lebanese photographer to increase the amount of smoke in the picture. This was first spotted by American blogger Charles Johnson, who has won an award for "promoting Israel and Zionism".
To check out the power of the megaphone, I logged onto a website called GIYUS (Give Israel Your United Support) last Wednesday afternoon. More than 25,000 registered users of www.giyus.org have downloaded the megaphone software, which enables them to receive alerts asking them to get active online.