Facebook users’ engagement with Israel’s public diplomacy messages during the 2012 and 2014 military operations in Gaza
- 132 Downloads
In an attempt to broaden our understanding on current uses of public diplomacy tools and their effectiveness, the study focuses on an Israeli citizens’ initiative (Israel Under Fire) that promoted messages via social media in the two recent rounds of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict (2012, 2014). The study examines the message strategies used by the initiative in their English Facebook page (N = 926 posts), and the users’ engagement they generated. Four message strategies were identified: (1) Israel has the Right to Defend Itself; (2) “What Would YOU Do (if you were in the same situation)?”; (3) Exposing Hamas’ Propaganda; and (4) Free Gaza from Hamas. The analysis revealed that the “What would YOU do?” strategy generated significantly greater audience engagement compared to the other message strategies. The study indicates that countries such as Israel, which suffer from a Goliath image problem, may benefit more from messages that encourage online audiences to engage in perspective taking and to think about the conflict vicariously than from messages that refer directly to the positions of the conflicting sides.
Keywordscivic public diplomacy digital diplomacy Israeli–Palestinian conflict facebook engagement
- AFP. (2012) Russia condemns ‘disproportionate’ strikes on Gaza. The Daily Star. 15 November 2012, http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Nov-15/195155-russia-condemns-disproportionate-strikes-on-gaza.ashx#axzz2CJLCPknc.
- Alexa Top 500 Global Sites. (2015) Retrieved from http://www.alexa.com/topsites.
- Aouragh, M. (2016) Hasbara 2.0: Israel’s public diplomacy in the digital age. Middle East Critique: 1–27.Google Scholar
- Avraham, E. and Ketter, E. (2008) Media Strategies for Marketing Places in Crisis: Improving the Image of Cities, Countries and Tourist Destinations. Burlington, MA: RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
- Beaty, A. (2003) Poll controversy as Israel and US labelled biggest threats to World peace. Eurobserver, 30 October, https://euobserver.com/foreign/13324.
- Benoit, W.L. (2015) Accounts, Excuses, and Apologies: A Theory of Image Restoration Strategies. New York, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Business Wire. (2006) Anholt Nation Brands Index: Global survey confirms Israel is the worst brand in the world. 21 November, http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20061121005222/en/Anholt-Nation-Brands-Index-Global-Survey-Confirms#.Ve7XYhGqpBd.
- Coombs, W.T. (2014) Ongoing Crisis Communication: Planning, Managing, and Responding. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Cull, N.J. (2013) The long road to public diplomacy 2.0: The Internet in US public diplomacy. International Studies Review 15(1): 123–139.Google Scholar
- Di Caro, G. (2012) D(e-)plomacy: Do social networks really contribute to the transparency of diplomacy? Equilibri 16(3): 481–484.Google Scholar
- Frederick, H.H. (1993) Global Communication and International Relations. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
- Gibson, M. (2014) Top 10 hashtags that started a conversation. Time, 2 December.Google Scholar
- Gilboa, E. and Shai, N. (2011) Rebuilding public diplomacy: The case of Israel. In A. Fisher, and S. Lucas (eds.), Trails of Engagement: The Future of US Public Diplomacy. Boston, MA: Brill, pp. 33–54.Google Scholar
- Graffy, C. (2009) The rise of public diplomacy 2.0. The Journal of International Security Affairs 17, 23 November, http://www.securityaffairs.org/issues/2009/17/graffy.php
- Guttman, S. (2005) The Other War: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Struggle for Media Supremacy. Michigan: Encounter Books, http://time.com/3591923/top-10-hashtags-that-started-a-conversation/
- Hanson, F. (2012) The History of eDiplomacy at the U.S. Department of State, a Brookings Institute report. October 25, https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-history-of-ediplomacy-at-the-u-s-department-of-state/
- Hayden, C. (2013) Engaging technologies: A comparative study of U.S. and Venezuelan strategies of influence and public diplomacy. International Journal of Communication 7: 1–25.Google Scholar
- Jeffries, C.H., Hornsey, M.J., Sutton, R.M., Douglas, K.M. and Bain, P.G. (2012) The David and Goliath principle cultural, ideological, and attitudinal underpinnings of the normative protection of low-status groups from criticism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 38(8): 1053–1065.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Keinan, A., Avery, J. and Paharia, N. (2010) Capitalizing on the underdog effect. Harvard Business Review 88(11): 32–34.Google Scholar
- Kunczik, M. (1997). Images of Nations and International Public Relations. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Lazaroff, T. (2012) Ashton, Merkel say Israel has right to defend itself. The Jerusalem Post, November 16, http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Ashton-Merkel-say-Israel-has-right-to-defend-itself
- Lemelshtrich-Latar, N. (2014) The legitimacy of Israel – Can nation branding affect change? Lecture presented at the Herzliya Conference, June 11, Herzliya, Israel, http://www.herzliyaconference.org/_Uploads/dbsAttachedFiles/LegitmacyofIsrael.pdf
- Malhotra, A., Kubowicz Malhotra, C. and See, A. (2013) How to create brand engagement on Facebook. MIT Sloan Management Review 54(2): 1–4. Retrieved from http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/how-to-create-brand-engagement-on-facebook/
- Manheim, J.B. (1994) Strategic public diplomacy and American foreign policy: The evolution of influence. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Neureiter, M. (2012) Sources of media bias in coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: The 2010 Gaza flotilla raid in German, British, and U.S. newspapers. Masters Theses. Paper 1051, http://thekeep.eiu.edu/theses/1051
- Peterson, P.G. (2002) Public diplomacy and the war on terrorism. Foreign Affairs, http://www.cfr.org/terrorism/public-diplomacy-war-terrorism/p4762
- Prusher, I. (2014) Israel and Palestinians reach open-ended cease-fire deal. TIME, August 26, http://time.com/3182848/israel-gaza-ceasefire-abbas-netanyahu/
- Samuel-Azran, T. (2010) Al-Jazeera and US war coverage. New York, NY: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
- Shamir, E. (2012) Operation pillar of defense: An initial strategic and military assessment. Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies Perspectives Paper no. 189, December 4.Google Scholar
- Stocker, K.P. (1997) A strategic approach to crisis management. In: C.L. Caywood (ed.). The Handbook of Strategic Public Relations and Integrated Communications, (pp. 189–203). Boston: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
- Thussu, D. K. (2000) International Communication: Continuity and Change. London: Arnold.Google Scholar
- Wolfsfeld, G. (1997) Media and Political Conflict: News from the Middle East. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar