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Israel: Ministry to counter

BBC Monitoring

Text of report by Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on 15 May

    The Foreign Ministry is launching an information campaign on the internet's largest shared-video website, YouTube. Thousands of anti-Israel films and reactions have been uploaded on that website, claiming that the IDF [Israel Defense Force] is slaughtering the Palestinian people.

    The Foreign Ministry's Information and Media Division is initiating a counterattack, which includes uploading pro-Israel messages on many internet websites, particularly video websites. Among others, thousands of Jewish and Israeli volunteers from all over the world have engaged in sitting at the computer where, with the help of special programs, they "intercept" anti-Israel expressions on the net and react to them immediately with opposite messages.

    The initiative was launched after the Israeli consulate general in Chicago updated the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem that one of the most difficult problems in internet information is the YouTube website, the most popular video website on the net.

    "We have recently encountered an anti-Israel campaign that appears in the form of a comment in reaction to Israeli video clips on YouTube," said the wired message. This is a standard announcement saying: "To massacre the Palestinians on an 8:1 ratio and then maintain that you are a victim of terrorism and anti-Semitism is absurd in every respect: rational, logical, and religious - regardless of faith. No excuse is acceptable for such a level of terrorism, not even the holy Jewish Torah, which permits killing in the name of 'an eye for an eye.' This message must be memorized and distributed among all the films relating to Israel." Indeed, nearly every film that deals with Israel is complemented by harsh reactions against the country. According to the consulate's cable, "it seems that this campaign is successful. We recommend adding favourable reactions and recapture this important medium".

    According to Aviv Shir-On, deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry for Information and Media, "the internet information war has been going on for approximately two years. We are giving the matter our attention." Among others, the Foreign Ministry is planting talkback messages and pro-Israeli films in various ways, but the most effective and massive one is through young volunteers from all over the world, who, with the encouragement of the Foreign Ministry's Information and Media Division, devote their time to surfing the web and locating anti-Israel messages planted by other surfers.

    Source: Ma'ariv, Tel Aviv, in Hebrew 15 May 07



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