Gaza War's New Front: Facebook

January 09, 2009

Israel, at first glance, seems to be dominating the information war over Gaza. The Israeli government has launched a campaign to dominate the blogosphere <>: Pro-Israel hackers are waging cyberwar <> against Hamas, and the Israeli military has kept the international press off the battlefield <>.

But as the /Financial Times/ notes, social networking site Facebook <> has become an important venue in the Arab world for protesting the Israeli campaign, as well as a potent fundraising tool for supporters of the Palestinian cause.

Correspondent Abeer Allam writes from Riyadh <>:

 /Arab governments often control public protests, leaving donations
 as one of the few means available to express support for the
 Palestinians and anger at the Israeli offensive./

 /Facebook has played a pivotal role, coordinating groups of young
 people who pray or donate money to the United Nations Relief and
 Work Agency for Palestine Refugees, Red Crescent Society and other
 relief organisations./

This <> Facebook page, for instance, includes links to the Palestine Red Crescent Society <>, Muslim Aid and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees <>. It also has a link to a Facebook page opposed to pro-Israeli hackers.

Of course, Israel has plenty of Facebook friends as well. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported today <> how Matt Freelander, a young Jewish Londoner, organized a pro-Israeli demonstration through Facebook; around 1,000 people showed up for the rally. Radio Netherlands notes <> another Facebook site that aims to round up a million supporters of Israel.