The IDF Spokesman’s office is trying to make online hasbara an epic battle. The new web application IDF Ranks virtually “enlists” hasbara-ites to become Israel’s most revered soldier in only a few clicks by sharing articles about Israel’s military. Each share is awarded points, earn enough points and subscribers can move up from a lowly recruit to a Zionist Rambo. From IDF Spokesman:
Have you ever wanted to join the military and fight to defend Israel? Well, now you can, with IDF Ranks — embedded directly in all IDF social platforms!
IDF Ranks promotes YOU for your activities around IDF-related material. Your every action — commenting, liking, sharing and even just visiting — rewards your efforts, as well as helps spread the truth about the Israeli army all over the world.
Lock, stock and load; share, Tweet and email. Do it from your sofa, bed or toilet if you have a smart phone.
Yet the application is basically a dressed up version of a Facebook/Twitter share feature (we have one on Mondoweiss, it’s on the upper left side of the page). But what distinguishes IDF Ranks as a “game” with “virtual soldiers” is its bombastic copy that equates selecting an icon in the name of Israel to a venerable activity:
“TO INFINITY, AND BEYOND!
That’’s the spirit, soldier! Welcome aboard. Now get started and score some badges! You can earn badges by completing several specific tasks. For instance, ‘like’ 3 different articles in the front page and you’ll get a brand new badge for that. (Shiny.)”
Using simple technology to turn a mundane activity—like reading—into an epic battle? Virtual soldiers? Using a video game as a front to “join the military and fight to defend Israel?” Perhaps Israel is now taking its lead from 1980′s movies?
Just a game, or a training ground for fighting in a alien army?
Trailer for The Last Starfighter (1984).
The promotional copy for IDF Ranks is also overzealous in the expected reach of the application. The web tool only shares posts on the IDF’s Blog, limiting hasbara-ties are retweeting whatever the military’s mouthpiece deems newsworthy.
Last week there was a big story about a supermarket in Gaza with cans stocked on the shelves. The article, “The Gaza You’ve Never Seen,” included a picture intended to refute charges that Israel’s siege has turned the coastal piece of Occupied Palestine into one “big concentration camp.” With IDF Ranks, now sharing that same article not only protects the military from criticism of creating a humanitarian disaster for Gaza’s 1.5 million people, it is worth three points and a badge.