A technophobe reporter tries online Israel advocacy — and nails it
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A technophobe reporter tries online Israel advocacy — and nails it

Who knew that you can do your part to defend Israel online and in under a minute?

A screenshot of the 4IL homepage.
A screenshot of the 4IL homepage.

The internet can feel like a pretty hostile place sometimes to the Israel supporter, partly due to the sheer volume of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel material out there — whether it’s in the form of a meme, a video, or a slew of hateful comments.

It’s possible to report posts that are overtly racist or which incite violence, but frankly, that doesn’t seem to register with the people at Facebook and YouTube. Weeks after filing a complaint, the posts are still up, or even more new ones have sprung up in their place.

Fortunately, it’s 2017 — Israel has got it covered.

For every problem there is a solution, and for the problem of online anti-Israel bullying, the solution is 4IL, an online suite of tools available as part of a pro-information campaign put forth by Israel’s Ministry of Strategic affairs.

4IL empowers homegrown Israel advocates to educate others against the biased and inaccurate information presented by anti-Israel propaganda machines such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement via a host of cartoons, articles, videos, and other media.

Sharing is caring

 

Easily shareable videos like “Honest BDS News” make it easy to expose BDS for what it really is on a large scale – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 4IL comes out with more videos all the time, dealing with subjects like campus awareness, Israeli history, and political topics of the day.

The material is at the ready, all you have to do is post it to your Facebook or Twitter account.

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For those who are looking for something even shorter than a video clip (hey, we’re living in a fast-paced world!) 4IL equips users with a series of satirical cartoons to share. These cartoons are snarky, pithy, and made for the cynic in all of us. When faced with an enemy as ridiculous as BDS, sometimes the only option is to laugh!

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There is also a library of educational articles to read and share, because not everything has to be packed into a 10-second sound bite. These articles have lots to offer – they highlight Israeli cultural accomplishments, expose historical inaccuracies, and provide strategic insight into the fight against misinformation.

Sometimes it’s worth it to take the extra minute – you get out of an education just what you put into it!

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Taking down the bad guys

There are two approaches to dealing with BDS bullies: going on the offensive, being proactive, and spreading positive information, as well as being defensive and taking down posts and pages that harm Jews and Israel supporters.

The 4IL website links to Act.il, a new, student-backed initiative coming out of the IDC in Herzliya that not only locates hate speech online and makes it easy to take it down — it also guides users towards areas where they can provide positive comments and feedback on behalf of Israel.

While it might feel good to report a menacing page or post, one voice can easily get lost in the online tempest, giving social media platforms little reason to listen to complaints. Act.il gives Israel supporters a united voice – and even rewards top performing advocates for helping defend Israel against online slander.

Signing up was a breeze — check it out and join the team of online Israel defenders.

Here’s a quick walk-though of my experience using Act.il. As you can see, completing a mission was so easy, even a technophobe reporter could do it.

Pick your groove

Users log in and find a list of available “missions” from which they can select one and get started. Types of missions include “Comment,” “Report,” “Share,” and “Call to Action.”

In the mood to report incitement on Facebook? Take down a violent YouTube video? Petition a Congressperson? Take your pick from the Act.il home screen. You can even filter missions by category.

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In this mission, users choose to take down a YouTube video calling for violence against Jews. Clicking the blue bar labeled “Take Down Violent YouTube Video” takes you to a page explaining the mission.

Scroll down and there is a link directly to the YouTube page.

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It shows where to click report, which you can see is open on the above screenshot. The goal is to tell YouTube that this video called for violence — as you can see above, it contains instructions for inflicting maximum damage while conducting a stabbing attack.

When the task is complete, click “Submit Mission” to collect the reward for having completed the task. A happy little screen pops up proclaiming the mission’s success.

The whole process is so easy, a user can easily accomplish a mission in a minute or less. And it’s a great way to do something worthwhile in your spare time — whether you’re waiting for a page to load or looking for a diversion while using your personal computer, or you’ve got a minute to kill while you’re out and about using the mobile app.

The strategy is extra efficient because the many responses together have an added weight, and in addition to being a part of a vocal movement rather than a lone voice of reason lost in a sea of internet traffic, advocates don’t have to spend time looking for missions — Act.il brings them right to you.

In the end, there’s a great lesson learned from using 4IL — Israel advocacy doesn’t have to be difficult to be effective!

This article is published in collaboration with the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

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