On May 5th, the United States officially moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, sparking praise from end-of-days zealots, protests from Palestinians, and a volley of bullets and tear gas from Israeli soldiers posted on the border.
What’s shocking to me is how badly Israel has handled the PR nightmare from this event.
Make no mistake, when Israel committed to killing 62, shooting 1,359 more and shooting a doctor and 18 medics, it was terrible, perhaps even amounting to war crimes. But the social media response has been far, far worse for Israel.
This story would have blown over in 18-hours, but Israel just can’t let it go. They started with the “look what you made me do!?!” defense, which didn’t pass the sniff test. Protests do not force you to fire into a crowd.
They claimed the Palestinians were trying to breach the border wall with “explosives” but rarely mentioned the only ones found were molotov cocktails. Those would be meaningless against a reinforced concrete barrier, let alone the chain link fence visible in many photos. Unless it was made of wood, paper, or low-grade recycled plastics, these wouldn’t work on the barricade, and that’s why these designs were chose.
Then they tried saying they had no choice because Israel had dropped leaflets saying not to protest, and thus they were acting in self defense.
That doesn’t add up when the casualty count is roughly 2,000 to zero. The disproportionate use of force has come to center stage due to all the apologists “attacking” this ever since on social media, and in all the wrong ways. That’s why this article exists.
Bad deflections badly handled…
So what was it that the social media warriors said, exactly, that made this whole story so explosive?
They have a number of stock standard deflections and attacks, and none of them work.
- Lies – They just don’t work in the information age like they used to. When facts are distorted, they’re going to be called out. While outright lies being told as fact might have been persuasive ten or even five years ago, the information age has moved past them, and sees through it quicker than ever.
- Insults – Blasting people responding to the comments on personal, insulting levels isn’t just a dick move, but it motivates organic users to seek out citations, which they end up sharing en masse with one another. This makes the lies come unraveled that much faster.
- Downvote Brigades – Specifically on Reddit, there’s an option to not merely “like” a post, but to also “dislike” it. These can lead to erosion in user’s karma scores, and even their lifetime karma scores. While this will definitely silence some, it invigorates others, specifically those who realize that the points are meaningless, or who have already amassed so many they wouldn’t notice even a tidal wave of downvotes.
In these cases, you’ll see a number of users on social media who have nothing better to do that crawl deep into a story to prove their downvoted comment was actually, factually, verifiably correct.
This doesn’t silence the apologists, but what they fail to realize is that it’s not about them. It’s about the thousands or tens of thousands who will see the refutation with links and take sides with the facts over the propaganda.
- Fuel to the Fire – By their insistence on being the “right” voice defending the indefensible, Israel is literally keeping the story alive by posting thousands of comments across social media. When the news sees a story is hot, they keep covering it. When users feel engaged, they keep sharing and upvoting new headlines. It’s like they’re standing next to a fire that’s almost burned out screaming “Come look at this, there’s no fire over here, and also bring some gasoline to throw on it!”
- Calling everyone anti-semitic. This isn’t just mistaken, though it’s clearly that, but it robs the term of any value. If everyone is anti-semitic, then no one is. Save that term for people who actually know what a Jew is, let alone actually hates them. No guys, the hate isn’t directed at Jews, it’s directed at the people who murder protesters and the doctors and medics who attend them.
- The Myth of the Infallible IDF. Whatever they did, whoever they shot, no matter how callus and heinous, it’s all justified for the Israeli Defense Forces. if you can’t admit when you’re wrong, it’s effortless to dismiss the bulk of your claims out of hand.
- Inciting Quote w/o Citation. The final favorite is quoting something that proves their might or righteousness, but that’s conspicuously missing the citation that would allow you to verify it. Invariably when you look it up, it’s either devoid of the nuance necessary to reach an informed understanding, or taken wholly out of context.
It’s fascinating to me to see how many of the most passionate apologists for these actions have low activity accounts. A lot of them seem to lie dormant for months at a time only to pop up to prop up Israel. I’m not saying any one in particular is a paid actor, though that is something they do, but to suggest none of them are would require a tremendous leap of faith.
It just frustrates me…
The people of Israel are so intelligent, industrious, and passionate, but their government is just ruining it for everyone. Kids will die, surely more Muslim than Jewish (as the conflict death rate is roughly 7:1 against the Palestinians), and their hamfisted campaign is only making it a more certain and protracted bloodbath.