December 6, 2011 by Emily Gian
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I am not sure how many of our J-Wire readers are engaged in social media but I am still trying to understand the world of Twitter and other such platforms…writes Emily Gian.

Emily Gian

Given that everything that is on Twitter is for the entire world to see, I was upset and dismayed to see that a topic that had become popular yesterday was “#IsraelHates”. For those who do not understand Twitter, the hash tag (#) helps you categorise your tweets by marking key words or topics (see more). The more people that use a particular tag (in this case, #IsraelHates) the more popular the topic becomes, meaning that more twitter users are able to see the topic.

The #IsraelHates topic to me was particularly alarming. People were using it to promote anti-Israel slogans with tweets such as: “#IsraelHates Freedom, Democracy, The Free Voice! & Resistance” or a shorter one from today “#IsraelHates Palestinian babies #DemographicThreat”.

This kind of demonisation of Israel is disturbing for many reasons, but to me the main reason is for the simple fact that if people continue to promote hatred, they will never find a common ground.

Thankfully many on twitter agreed with this sentiment, including Avi Mayer, who heads social media for the Jewish Agency, and decided to tweet, “The haters have gotten ‘IsraelHates’ to trend worldwide. Let’s counter with #IsraelLoves”. He continued, “It’s important for those who love Israel to talk about it in a positive way” (see more). This is a sentiment that I wholeheartedly agree with.

To that end, twitter is now abuzz with some amazing tweets about Israel and her achievements with people tweeting thing such as:

“#IsraelLoves the recent breakthrough of an Israeli device to help Alzheimer’s patients regain cognitive and decision-making skills” and “IsraelLoves that #IDF soldiers may take their oath on one of three books – a Tanakh (#Jewish Bible) a #Christian Bible, or a #Quran”.

The whole saga has made me think a lot about Israel and all of the things there is to love about this amazing country.

For example, I love that in the face of so much adversity, Israel is constantly inventing new technology and discovering new ways to leave a positive mark on the planet, whether it is through environmental, medical or other such ways.

I love that despite the vile worldwide BDS campaign, largely spearheaded by those that continue to spread hate, huge acts such as Madonna, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Lady Gaga and perhaps even Bruce Springsteen will be making their way to perform in Israel in 2012 (see more).

I love that despite this campaign, an Israeli shoe company operating in Canada, Teva Naot, has reported a 10% increase in sales in the past few months as a direct result of the negative campaign launched against it (see more). On Twitter, we call that a #BDSFail.

I love that on the same week that Israel’s detractors are spouting hatred and lies, a Hollywood star goes on a popular late night show in America and changes the perception that all of Israel is a conflict zone by telling what an amazing city Tel Aviv is where the bars hopping and the place is a real party town! (see more)

I love that while all over the world social justice protests were becoming violent and unruly, Israel’s citizens protested about the same issues in a peaceful way that ignited the whole country over the past summer.

I love that Israel is always among the first countries to offer to help whenever there is a disaster, be it in faraway Haiti, or in a country where relations have recently turned sour, such as Turkey. I love that in the case of Haiti, the IDF stationed there set up their own Twitter account and received tweets with leads of where they could find trapped victims from the earthquake. Following those leads led to some truly amazing stories of victims being pulled from the rubble.

There are so many more reasons to love Israel, so why not tell us about it? Tweet some love to Israel with the #IsraelLoves hash tag, and for those on Twitter please feel free to follow the ZCV’s official twitter page which is managed by our Public Affairs Director Elly Shalev, and follow my twitter account too! For those yet to join the Twitter world, send me through what you love about Israel, and I will post them on Twitter.

Please read The Liberal Case for Israel, by Jonathan Miller which appeared in the Huffington Post a few weeks ago. As he concludes, “Feel free to criticise Israel when it is wrong. But let’s not fail to celebrate it when it is right.”

Oh, and by the way, you can follow J-Wire on Twitter.   @JwireAustralia

Emily Gian is the Israel Advocacy Analyst at the Zionist Council of Victoria and a PhD Candidate in Israeli Literature at the University of Melbourne



3 Responses to “Israel@Twitter”
  1. Michael Gilovitz says:

    Emily’s idea to counter the use of Twitter to demonise Israel by promoting the #IsraelLoves threades is a brilliant strategy. Maybe also consider using the exiisting negative threads of #IsraelHates, that won’t go away, but give it a positive twist as in #IsraelHates violence, #IsraelHates intolerence, #IsraelHates child abuse, #IsraelHates anyone that treats women as second class citizens, etc etc

  2. ben says:

    Many of the media articles written by Arnon Sofer, Prof of geo-strategy at haifa (em), are about the “demographic threat”. headline sucha as “Arab majority in 15 years, wanrs Haifa Prof.”, “A demographic threat on the wane.’ Two headlines at random from Ynews (1.24.06)and Haaretz (19.2.08).

  3. ben says:

    Empty hasbara again. There are enough reports from Amnesty International, Red Cross, Gush Shalom, Israeli Committe Against House demolitions and even media reports and government papers to show that Israel views Palestinins as a demographic threat. The spate of andti-democratic laws being pased in Israel as well as the aparthied imposed on palestinians in the West bank ( military law for Palestininas civil law for Israelis for instance) are now widely known that a few years ago. The tweets are speaking the truth.

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