“Digital Militarism: Israel’s Occupation in the Social Media Age” by Adi Kuntsman and Rebecca Stein— Social Media, Israel and the “Occupation”

digital militarism

Kuntsman, Adi and Rebecca Stein. “Digital Militarism: Israel’s Occupation in the Social Media Age”, Stanford University Press, 2015.

Social Media, Israel and the “Occupation”

Amos Lassen

Social Media has changed our lives drastically and we saw that the Egyptian revolution was the product of it. Today we get news of events as they are happening or of events that happen because of social media. It has certainly changed the way we look at what some call Israel’s occupation. Adi Kuntsman and Rebecca Stein maintain that during the last yen years, military rule in the Palestinian territories grew more bloody and entrenched. In the same period, Israelis became some of the world’s most active social media users. What they do not say is that Palestine, without the use of social media, has continued to wage war against Israel just as other Arab nations have done the same of the last sixty-plus years with the goal of ridding the world of the “Zionist pigs”.

Stein and Kuntsman further maintain that “in Israel today, violent politics are interwoven with global networking practices, protocols, and aesthetics. Israeli soldiers carry smart phones into the field of military operations, sharing mobile uploads in real-time. Official Israeli military spokesmen announce wars on Twitter. And civilians encounter state violence first on their newsfeeds and mobile screens.” Again they do not say that the Palestinians also have equal advantage to social media but do not use it. I can only wonder if this is because they have never been trained to use it or have never learned to use it. Whatever the reason may be, I can assure you that it is not because of lack of education or good schools. The education, the schools and the teachers are there for those who want them but unfortunately that is not the rule of the majority who are content not to pursue education. It gives them one more thing to bitch about but it is NOT true that the schools in Gaza and the West Bank have lower educational ideals and goals. It is many of the Palestinians who have to desire to be educated formally.

The authors here explore “the rise of Israeli digital militarism in this global context—both the reach of social media into Israeli military theaters and the occupation’s impact on everyday Israeli social media culture.” Social media in Israel is used as “a crucial theater in which the Israeli military occupation is supported and sustained.” They attempt to show

online militarization and the extension of state politics in the virtual realm. They claim to “expose the machinery of the Israeli state power at work within social media, and show the possibilities for countering the force of this machinery.” Israel has one of the finest intelligence systems in the world and we can be sure that none of the information from within has been doled put to others not involved especially if they want to write a book about it. Nonetheless, the authors’ thesis is powerfully argued, researched (with what they were indeed allowed to see). It is also to some degree thought provoking in that I think that this is a very one0siderd and inaccurate picture of what is going on. It does show “how information and communication technologies have turned into wartime arsenals, and the Internet and social networks into digital battlefields.” However, it is completely one-sided and we really do not get satisfactory information about Palestine as regards social media.

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