With a series of striking posts, and a real military escalation in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces’ English language Twitter account has been visible to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people this week. On Wednesday, it posted a particularly eye-catching message:
This was accompanied by another tweet touting the targeted assassination of Hamas commander Ahmad Jabari, followed by a YouTube video of the strike. The posts have drawn both praise and sharp criticism for their brazen tone and violent subject matter. Hussein Ibish, Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, tweeted shortly after:
Most commentators simply noted how strange it was to see messages about military operations on Twitter. Others said this was inevitable. Writing at CNET, Charles Cooper said “If you’re surprised, you haven’t been paying attention.”
The account has since doubled its followers.
Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson to the international press, told BuzzFeed FWD that she is “very proud” of what the IDF has accomplished on social media. “We still have a lot more to learn,” she said, “and maybe other platforms to join, but I think in a relatively short time it’s very progressive.”
Leibovich is in charge of the account, though she doesn’t tweet directly from it — that falls to an anonymous “team of soldiers and officers,” according to Eytan Buchman, who works with Leibovich. She manages the IDF’s entire social media outreach operation, which bears a striking resemblance to that of a political campaign, corporation or news organization. She was the one who, in 2008, started the IDF’s YouTube account, which has racked up tens of millions of views. (It was actually a month before the Cast Lead operation,” she recalled, referring to a bloody three-week conflict that began in December of that year).
The YouTube account was followed quickly by a Flickr account, a blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts. “The goal,” said Leibovich, “is to reach as many audiences as possible, and second, to convey our message, without the touch of an editor.” Messaging is messaging, in other words.
She said she’s only somewhat surprised by the attention the @IDFSpokesperson account, which is one of a vast array of Twitter accounts maintained by the IDF, has had this week. “The surprise has been the extent of the people that are following us — we have them by the thousands every hour.”
Leibovich rejects criticism that the messages have been cavalier in their discussion of violence — when asked if she thought the use of the “language of war” on a platform most people use for entertainment and light news was appropriate, she defied me to give her an example. Asked directly about the “faces above ground” post from Wednesday, Leibovich balked. “You call this violent language?”
“When rockets are falling on ours heads, and I’m referring to 500 rockets in the last 72 hours, if you can even imagine the extent,” she said, “then when you have certain time that you want to convey a message of deterrence to an audience, then that’s a good tool to do it.”
“As long as you respect the rules of engagement of that specific platform,” she added, referring to claims that the posts may have constituted direct threats of violence, and therefore violated Twitter’s terms of service. (Twitter has so far declined to comment on this issue.)
“It’s a unique tweet, you haven’t seen anything like it in the following days, or in the previous days,” she said, noting the the @IDFSpokesperson account is over two years old and typically posts non-conflict-related tweets. “I don’t find really any problem with that.”
“There are so many opinion shapers and world leaders and parliament members all over the world that are using Twitter,” she said, “I find it an essential tool to reach audiences and we use it constantly… I really don’t see how it could not be serious — I don’t think so.”
Still, this is new territory both for both the IDF and Twitter; the platform has dealt with plenty of advertising and propaganda before, but now we’re talking about war. The site isn’t very popular in Israel, but the IDF’s ranks are packed with young social media natives. Many soldiers have taken to Instagram in the last week, providing a surreal, utterly familiar glimpse of a youthful, conscripted army preparing for conflict.
Leibovich told BuzzFeed that she sees this as an asset, and a source of guidance. “One of the advantages that I have maybe compared to others,” she explained, “is the fact that I have 18-year-olds.”
“When [we recruit] the soldiers they’re 18… the age of someone who was almost born into social networks,” she said. “The creative side of the language almost comes natural.”
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I do not use Twitter, I use common-sense and if Israel has any sense she may consider this: It appears that Israelis are hell-bent to kill any one, even an American Rachel Corrie (2004), who stands between them and a Palestinian property. Israel dubs Palestinians as terrorists and the Palestinians dub Israel as terrorist and this blame-game and lies continue unabated, and of course Israel is always right and the Palestinians and the rest of the world are always wrong! Unfortunately, both the U.S. major parties are not judged by their programs for the American citizens, they are judged on how they play in the hands of Zionist Israel whose aim is to occupy the world’s resources. The Jews may not be confused with Zionists. They are two different things. The real Jews are quite noble and against this, it’s the Zionists who follow nationalistic, expansionist ideas without realizing that their killer approach might backfires one day. Jesus Christ had said, “The one who lives by the sword dies by the sword”. Both Israel and the American leadership know that Israel on her own cannot stand on her feet. Without the U.S. support Israel will collapse. Even an idiot such as myself knows this. The funny thing is that in the presence of “good excuses” to start peace, Israel always comes up with “bad excuses” to attack and kill the poor Palestinians. “Israel is a wicked and adulterous nation” (their own Book Torah is saying this), even Jesus Christ dubbed Israel as a wicked and adulterous nation. They were so wicked that they did not believe in Jesus Christ who was sent to the House of Israel to fix them, but crucified him; however, today even the Christians are playing in the hands of the killers of JC. If I may I quote Moses addressing the Jews: Deuteronomy Chapter 31 27 “For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the Lord while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die! 28 Assemble before me all the elders of your tribes and all your officials, so that I can speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to testify against them. 29 For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall on you because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord and arouse his anger by what your hands have made.” Also, if you care to study the Bible, the Curse of God had fallen on Israel because of their sins, wickedness, and dis-obeyance of God. They have committed crimes against God and they are hell-bent to destroy the God’s earth and everything that lives on it and they are so wicked that a super power like USA is compelled to bow before it. Dr. Henry Kissinger, a devout Jew, is not a Prophet of God but he has recently predicted, “In 10 years time Israel will be no more” and Israel it seems is trying to prove him right. The policy of death and destruction will lead them to nowhere. Dr. Kissinger issued this statement when citizens from 50 States were not filing petitions for secession. The USA is divided now on racial and ethnic lines and its economy is gradually melting down because of senseless wars she is fighting for the sake of Military Industrial Complex and Oil Companies, and the rise of China and India in the field of economy. Obviously, when USA will get busy to extinguish fire from her own clothes, she will not be able to support Israel then, and on her own Israel will collapse as predicted by Dr. Kissinger not only Israel will collapse but the world will collapse with it. The only chance in my view for Israel is to consider the proposal of the King of Saudi Arabia in which he had said, “If Israel would withdraw to 1967 borders and vacate the Muslim land it occupied in the war, the Muslim world will recognize Israel and do business with her”. The time to discuss this proposal is now. Mahboob Khan, the World’s Peace Activist
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Here is what the USA’s Founding Fathers had said about the Jews. Unfortunately, this has become a painful reality. They are now eating you and the world from inside-out because the blood of the innocent women and children will soon flow over the banks of Palestine and the entire world will get drowned in it:
“They (the Jews) work more effectively against us than the enemy’s armies. They are a hundred times more dangerous to our liberties and the great cause we are engaged in. It is much to be lamented that each state, long ago, has not hunted them down as pests to society and the greatest enemies we have to the happiness of America.” Source: Maxims of George Washington by A.A. Appleton & Co. As the American colonies rose in revolt against political oppression occasioned by the attempt of Jewish banking houses in Europe to consolidate their economic foothold in the New World, no man among the Founding Fathers was more alert to the designs of international Jewry than that shrewd elder statesman of the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin. Perhaps Ben Franklin’s most damning indictment of Jewry was contained in his famous prophecy at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia. In one of the most anti-Jewish utterances of all time, he declared: “I fully agree with General Washington, that we must protect this young nation from an insidious influence and impenetration. That menace, gentlemen, is the Jews. In whatever country Jews have settled in any great number, they have lowered its moral tone; depreciated its commercial integrity; have segregated themselves and have not been assimilated; have sneered at and tried to undermine the Christian religion upon which that nation was founded by objecting to its restrictions; have built up a state within a state; and when opposed have tried to strangle that country to death financially, as in the case of Spain and Portugal. “For over 1700 hundred years, the Jews have been bewailing their sad fate in that they have been exiled from their homeland, as they call Palestine. But, gentlemen, did the world give it to them in fee simple, they would at once find some reason for not returning. Why? Because they are vampires, and vampires do not live on vampires. They cannot live only amongst themselves. They must subsist on Christians and other people not of their race. If you do not exclude them from these United States in the Constitution, in less than 200 years they will have swarmed here in such great numbers that they will dominate and devour the land, and change our form of government, for which we Americans have shed our blood, given our lives, our substance, and jeopardized our liberty. “If you do not exclude them, in less than 200 years our descendants will be working in the fields to furnish them substance, while they will be in the counting houses rubbing their hands. I warn you, gentlemen, if you do not exclude the Jews for all time, your children will curse you in your graves. Jews, gentlemen, are Asiatics, let them be born where they will or how many generations they are away from Asia, they will never be otherwise. Their ideas do not conform to an American’s, and will not even though they live among us ten generations. A leopard cannot change its spots. Jews are Asiatics, are a menace to this country if permitted entrance, and should be excluded by this Constitutional Convention.” Franklin’s remarks were recorded in “Chit Chat Around the Table During Intermissions,” a section of the Diary of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina. Pickney (1746-1825) attended the Convention as a delegate, and took down excerpts of some of the outstanding addresses and discourses, which he later published in his diary. Perhaps the best proof of the Franklin prophecy—as with any prophecy—lies in its actual fulfillment. What Benjamin Franklin foresaw as an ominous possibility in 1787 has today—a little over two hundred years later—become painful reality.”
More Palestinians killed in Gaza one day this week than Israelis have been killed by projectile fire from Gaza in the past three years. As fitting the general trend in the larger conflict, in which roughly 7 times as many Palestinians are killed as Israelis. The largest group of victims on the Israeli side continues to be suicides among the Israeli military.
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