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Hashtags, Hamas And Israel-Gaza On Social Media

Social media is changing how the world sees and talks about Israel and Gaza, Israelis and Palestinians. We’ll look at the impact.

Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rises over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. (AP)

Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rises over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group’s control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip’s only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. (AP)

The battle over Gaza, Hamas and Israel is not only played out in bomb shelters and obliterated streets.  More than ever this time, it is playing out in social media all over the world.  Twitter feeds, Facebook, YouTube – all full of images and emotion from both sides.  A torrent of instant reports and reactions to terrible scenes of fear and suffering.  From reporters, governments, militaries – and lots of civilians.  There has always been a battle for world opinion here.  Now it’s bigger than ever.  This hour On Point:  social media in the thick of the battle over Gaza.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Roger Cohen, international op-ed columnist for the New York Times. Author of the forthcoming memoir, “The Girl From Human Street: Ghosts of Memory in a Jewish Family.” Also author of “Hearts Grown Brutal” and “Soldiers and Slaves.” (@NYTimesCohen)

Mona Eltahawy, writer and public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues. (@monaeltahawy)

Michael Dahan, lecturer in the department of communication and public policy at Sapir Academic College in Ashkelon, Israel. (@panopti)

Emily Neilson, director of operations at the Face of Israel, a non-profit advocacy group. (@emilyneilson3)

From Tom’s Reading List

Slate: Twitter Is Changing How the Media Covers the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict — “Twitter was not even three years old when Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, its last, and far bloodier, incursion into Gaza, and Twitter was certainly not the indispensible tool for gathering and disseminating news that it has since become.”

New York Times: At Front Lines, Bearing Witness in Real Time — “My social media feed has taken a bloody turn in the last few weeks, and I’m hardly alone. Along with the usual Twitter wisecracking and comments on incremental news, I have seen bodies scattered across fields and hospitals in Ukraine and Gaza. I have read posts from reporters who felt threatened, horrified and revolted.”

Reuters: In Gaza, new arsenals include “weaponized” social media — “The public relations tug-of-war has long been understood as a central element of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian leaders like Yasser Arafat were credited with skillfully courting international media during the first Intifada to highlight the Palestinian struggle and help sway public opinion.”

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