Wednesday, December 8th | 4 Tevet 5782

May 17, 2016 6:44 am

Standing Up for Israel on Social Media

avatar by Ronn Torossian

2010 Jerusalem stabbing victim Kay Wilson describing the incident at a StandWithUs event. Photo: Screenshot

2010 Jerusalem stabbing victim Kay Wilson describing the incident at a StandWithUs event. Photo: Screenshot

Too often when Israel is featured in the news, it is for something negative. Yet, the reality is that there are so many great stories always coming out of Israel — a democratic country with a highly educated, diverse and driven population. Against the backdrop of a hostile media, it is necessary for Israel to tell its own story.

StandWithUs (SWU) is an Israeli organization that is doing a great job proactively protecting and promoting Israel online. SWU also promotes Israel at conferences, rallies and particularly at universities, where its actions are desperately needed.

SWU’s Facebook page boasts more than 900,000 likes, ensuring that its wealth of videos and stories reach a wide network of social-media users. They post inspiring stories that directly refute the world media’s bias. And they do so in real time, which is vital in today’s fast-moving world.

In response to a UNESCO vote denying the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a new Jewish history seminar for UN officials and diplomats. SWU circulated that information and it generated more than 3,000 likes and nearly 900 shares within a short time.

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On Monday, May 9, when there were simultaneous attacks in Jerusalem and Munich orchestrated by terrorists, SWU posted an image of both scenes, with the caption: “Different countries. Same terrorism.” The picture was liked and shared thousands of times in just a few hours.

To provide context to the Mideast situation, SWU shares news stories about Hamas and Palestinian Authority hypocrisy — like how their own family members seek out Israeli hospitals for care and treatment, because they know that Israel has excellent medical care and will treat them. There is also the video of a school play performed by Palestinian children in Gaza, in which the young actors’ presentation consisted of stabbing children dressed as Jews, to gleeful applause.

Then there are the stories about Israel’s world-leading surgery-assisting robots; Israel’s booth at the Buenos Aires Book Fair; letters of support received from all over the world; an investment company run by an Israeli Muslim and an Israeli Jew that only invests in diverse start-ups; and an Arab-Israeli couple who welcomed identical triplets on Mother’s Day. These are feel-good stories that demonstrate the reality — and normalcy — of daily life in Israel. Sadly, these narratives are rarely seen in popular media.

Thank you, SWU, for so often being the voice of rational pro-Israel social-media users, for consolidating and disseminating stories, for bringing the truth onto the Internet, and for starting conversations that others are too timid to start. SWU deserves credit for showing the world that there is so much more to Israel than violence, chaos and death — as many would have us believe.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of one of the leading Public Relations firms in America.

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