In the Jerusalem Post, Ruth Eglash concedes that Israel is “losing the fight” in public relations and that traditional hasbara no longer works. One reason is the demographic threat of the internet. This is very similar to what former State Department director of policy Anne-Marie Slaughter said at J Street, Everyone on twitter just asks me about the Palestinians. Eglash:
However, what continues to be starkly apparent to me as I interact widely on social networking sites is that traditional hasbara, or the set of arguments used in the past to defend Israel’s right to exist or explain its right to act or react, is becoming less and less effective or believable.
One of the possible reasons for this could be put down to sheer online demographics. A recent study in Israel, which was funded by Google Israel and carried out by the School of Media Studies at the College of Management Academic Studies (COMAS) in Rishon Lezion, showed that while in a general sense Israelis are highly connected digitally, their online activity seems confined to mere socializing. The study showed that the majority of Israelis using social media were in their teens or pre-teens and most preferred their activities to be in Hebrew – not very useful for making Israel’s case to the world.
Additionally, statistics show that Israel is only 44th on the list of global Facebook users, with some 3,486,520 using the social networking site and only roughly 5 percent of the country appearing on Twitter, a platform used more for social action.
In contrast, an Arab Technical News Gateway report from last month shows that the overall number of Arab users on Facebook worldwide has already surpassed 43 million, and on Twitter, it’s more than 1.3 million.