Cyber Terrorist or Cyber Activist? The Complex Role of the Information Revolution in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

TitleCyber Terrorist or Cyber Activist? The Complex Role of the Information Revolution in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Ishida, S., and J. Potter
Affiliation (1st Author)Hamline University St.Paul, MN, 55104, U.S.A.
Section or WGInternational Communication Section
DateThurs 27 June
Slot CodeINCT3a
Slot Code (Keyword)INCT3a
Time of Session14:00-15:30
RoomCG86
Session TitleGlobal online media, crisis and activism
Submission ID7282
Abstract

Social media and the information revolution have changed the landscape of news media and mass communication in ways that have yet to be understood. The political and legal implications of social media, even in an information democracy like the United States, are complex and largely undefined. Such complexities are magnified and intensified in the Israeli-Palestinian context. In the Gaza Strip, where Israeli occupation is not only physical, but also digital, even the most casual Internet user must navigate a moral and legal gray area, where dominant narration and definition are mostly derived from Western media in labeling Palestinian internet users as part of an extreme dichotomy,, terrorist or activist. To uncover this narrative, this study seeks to examine, analyze, and compare social media representations of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with elite Middle Eastern and American mainstream coverage. An analysis of stories relating to Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2013 election for a period of one month (from two weeks leading up to the election and two weeks afterwards) will allow us to understand the disparity and quality of information. Arguably the most influential variable in the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the regional and global implications of Netanyahu’s leadership are essential to understanding the circumstances in Israel and the Gaza Strip. Particular attention will be paid to Netanyahu’s role in Israel’s physical and digital occupation of the Gaza Strip. The data used in this study are based on Twitter accounts such as @palestinethink, @palestinian, and @watchpalestine, which focus on Palestinian civil rights. A one-month analysis of Israeli news outlet Palestinian Media Watch and the civilian Middle Eastern news aggregate Al-Monitor will offer a broader, mediated scope of regional coverage. In addition, a comparison of elite and civilian Middle Eastern coverage with Western coverage, primarily via news articles in the New York Times, will present a clearer picture of important political and cultural differences in reporting.

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