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January 21, 2015 12:01 am

Israeli Government, StandWithUs Partner on New ‘Social Media Ambassadors’ Program

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An image posted during last summer's war between Israel and Hamas by the #IsraelUnderFire social media campaign, which aimed to tell Israel's side of the story during the conflict in Gaza. Credit: #IsraelUnderFire.

JNS.org The Israel education organization StandWithUs and the National Information Directorate of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office are partnering on the new “Social Media Ambassadors” program, which will educate young people (with an emphasis on university students) about how to use social media to educate others about Israel.

Participants of the year-long educational program—which will initially be offered in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Israel—will be trained to tell Israel’s story from their own points of view using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms.

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The effort comes against the backdrop of a social media environment in which anti-Israel activists regularly target the Jewish state.

“Much of [anti-Israel social media users’] output has no basis in reality, but they don’t care about what is true or not, as long as they take aim at Israel,” StandWithUs Israel Director Michael Dickson toldJNS.org. “But we can redress the balance and make an impact on social media for Israel, too. We need to expose these lies and, at the same time, reach out to people about the real Israel—democratic, diverse, and sizzling with creative energy and the ancient nation-state of the Jewish people that is also the modern, dynamic, start-up nation.”

In particular, anti-Israel activists took to social media after the recent Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris to float conspiracy theories that Israel was behind the attacks.

“Similar to every other forum, the Internet is a place where crazy theories regarding Israel and the Jews are often abound,” Dickson said. “We would advise participants in the [Social Media Ambassadors] program to judge each case on its merit. Some conspiracy theories don’t deserve the oxygen of publicity, but when a story gains traction it often needs to be exposed.”

StandWithUs, which operates social media accounts in 13 different languages, brings 4,000 followers on Instagram, 61,400 followers on Twitter (with tweets reaching more than a million users), and more than 500,000 “likes” on Facebook (with weekly posts reaching as many as 30 million users) to the ambassadors initiative. The Prime Minister’s Office chose StandWithUs as a partner “based on our experience and expertise, to deliver a program aiming at getting Israeli students, as well as some of their peers abroad, to share the reality of Israel,” said Dickson.

“The Prime Minister’s Office has rightly identified that the reality of Israel is best portrayed through the eyes of citizens and those who visit Israel,” Dickson said.

According to Dickson, StandWithUs set up the first-ever pro-Israel social media situation rooms in 2009 during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, and has worked with partners to do the same for every similar conflict since, including last summer’s Operation Protective Edge.

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  • Israel does not have to defend its’ legitimacy! r4
    Israel’s rights to the land is ingrained in history, archeological findings, international law and possession. Just like the Arab States have not been required to defend their legitimacy, Israel should also not be required to defend its’ legitimacy. The 21 Arab States and the State of Israel were set up by the Allied Powers after WWI, when the Ottoman Empire relinquished its title to the territories to the Allied Powers. The British were assigned as trustee for the Jewish people to help reconstitute the Jewish State as Implemented by the San Remo Treaty of 1920. The San Remo Treaty adopted the Balfour Declaration of 1917. Of importance is the fact treaty terms and documents prove there was no state allocation of land to any other people or nation other than the Jewish people in Israel. It should also be noted the League of Nations set up the Mandate for Palestine as a State for the Jewish people with exclusive political rights.
    The Jewish people who lived in Israel for over 4,000 had additional Jewish immigration in the mid 1800. The local Jewish people with the infusion of more Jewish immigration, resources, funding and with the explicit permission by the Ottoman government, started developing the land. Within a short time the Jewish people started turning the desert and desolation into green pastures, thus, building an economy, agriculture, housing and industry. Many Arabs from neighboring depressed states who viewed this development as an opportunity for work and an improved standard of living, came to work in Palestine.
    It is of interest in this conflict to take into consideration. The Arab countries expelled over a million Jews, confiscated their assets, businesses, homes and land 5-6 times the size of Israel. Most of these expelled Jews from Arab countries were resettled in Greater Israel.
    Over the past 68 years Israel has become a thriving nation with exemplary innovation in education, technology, high tech industry and medicine. Many nations admire Israel’s outstanding development and innovation. Israel has always been extending a helping hand to any nation that wants to learn and advance in industry, technology and medicine.
    The Arab-Palestinians saw an opportunity to get land and a country that was developed and flourished by the Jewish people. They decided that through intimidation, harassment and violence to usurp the Jewish habitants into capitulating to their scheme of an Arab-Palestinian State on Land allocated to the Jewish people . The Arab-Palestinians live on charity from the nations of the world. They are unwilling to help themselves. After the 1967 war when Israel defeated the 5 Arab armies who tried to destroy it, Israel started employing many of the Arabs in the liberated Jewish territory, educating them in agriculture and water resources. In the following years the standard of living of the Arabs jumped 5 fold and more, and their economy and housing blossomed. When the terrorist organization entered the picture and instigated the Arab population to start terror and violence against the Israelis, the economic advancement was slowed down if not halted. The dire predicament of the Arab-Palestinians is of their own making.
    If you look at Arab land it is desolate and barren, with few exceptions. At the same time, the Jewish land is blooming and developing at an accelerated tempo. The Arabs, rather than follow the example set by Israel, tried to take the Jewish land by force and lost 4 wars in a span of 25 years.
    The Arab-Palestinians current actions in the political and legal arena is a result of losing 4 wars and various battles with Israel. They not only could not win ground, but in fact have caused themselves a downward spiral toward economic desolation.
    The Arab-Palestinians have switched tactics and have now gained more ground and concessions by playing the peace game. The Arab-Palestinians obfuscation and disinformation campaign along with various pleadings in front of the U.N. and other International bodies has gained them more inroads. The power of oil and the Arab Countries, who do not want the Arab-Palestinians to return to their countries, are helping them promote the false information, and utilizing their numerical control in the U.N. to pass any resolution that they deem necessary to advance their cause.
    Money, power and greed promoted hate and anti-Semitism by the Arabs in order to force Israel into surrendering territory to the Arab-Palestinians. The Arabs are trying to initiate land piracy camouflaged as legal rights to the land of Israel.
    Jewish resistance to persecution by the Arabs and the world at large: Any level headed individual would think that after WWII and the 6 million Jews exterminated in the Holocaust (plus another 5 million of other ethnic groups) would diminish, if not eliminate anti-Semitism and baseless hatred. It seems that no matter the amount of unwarranted persecution, and no matter the sacrifices the Jewish people have endured through the ages, Anti-Semitism continues to raise its ugly head.
    The Media is guilty of escalating hostilities and violence in Israel and elsewhere. The Media has a responsibility to deliver fair and unbiased reporting. They influence the information that people rely on. It is an awesome responsibility and it must be handled with factual un-slanted reporting. Peoples lives depend on it; maybe yours or someone you love. Do we need a legal task force to discipline the Media when they intentionally distort the truth and or stage events for Media sensationalism? I would like your comments and input.
    The affects on the world at large: Has humanity lost its values and fairness? The answer is no. In order to lose something, one must first possess it and the truth is, the world has never had total control of values and fairness. In today’s world, where money and power is pursued at all costs (see Machiavelli) , the core family unit is disintegrating and family values deteriorating. Honesty, integrity and fair-play seem to be a thing of the past. Where are we as human beings of the 21st century heading? Obviously downward.
    Take some time to reflect on the truth of what is stated here. Do you really want this kind of world for your children? Senseless hate and destruction must not be tolerated. I urge you to wake up, take the bull by the horn and pursue a path of correction, or we are doomed as a civilized people.
    YJ Draiman
    P.S. How many holidays do the Arabs celebrate due to historical events in the land of ancient Israel. The Jewish people celebrate most of their holidays and fast days in memory of and the goal and aspiration to return to Israel and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem – where it was before it was destroyed and desecrated by the enemies of the Jews. Many of the Jewish prayers for thousands of years recite the love of Israel and the Jewish aspirations to return to their ancestral land and bring back its glory and holiness.

    In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.
    Ben Gurion

    “Nobody does Israel any service by proclaiming its ‘right to exist.’ [As a Jewish State] Israel’s right to exist, like that of the United States, Saudi Arabia and 152 other states, is axiomatic and unreserved. Israel’s legitimacy is not suspended in midair awaiting acknowledgement. . . .There is certainly no other state, big or small, young or old, that would consider mere recognition of its ‘right to exist’ a favor, or a negotiable concession.”
    Abba Eban

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