The IDF Spokesperson describes its work as part of the army’s operations arm, speaks of ‘media operations,’ and defines ‘tarnishing the name of Israel’s enemies’ as one of its main goals.
“In the past few months we at the IDF Spokesperson’s Office have come to the understanding that we are actually conducting media operations,” IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis told a room full of Israeli journalists earlier this week. “The IDF’s digital platforms are operational tools in the operational arm of the IDF.”
In the chief spokesperson’s words, the military is engaged of “a war over consciousness” — changing what and how people think of Israel, its army — and if you’re an Arab, what you think of your own leaders, government, and society.
“We actually define different goals for each audience, different platforms, and most fundamentally, different messages,” added Manelis, whose background is as an intelligence officer. “We come up with an operational strategy. We conduct media intelligence about who we are trying to reach with what message.”
For Arabic-speaking audiences, the chief spokesperson explained, those operations are meant “to create deterrence and to blacken (tarnish) the enemy — either by explaining that our enemy is really bad and to tarnish his name and to say don’t join them, or to deter them against Israel.”
By effectively taunting Arabic-speaking audiences, including Hamas leaders, with pointed and controversial messages and posts on social media, the IDF is able to game social media algorithms so that audiences who would otherwise have no interest in interacting with Israel, let alone its army, are exposed to its propaganda, Manelis explained, giving the example of a recent Twitter face-off with senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk.Read More