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The Making of an Icon
HonestReporting's social media editor, Alex Margolin, contributes occasional posts on social media issues. He oversees HonestReporting on Facebook.
It is difficult to overstate how much impact the IDF’s videos have had on swaying public opinion on the Flotilla of Violence. Even journalists who assumed the worst about the IDF when they first heard about the incident admitted that the army's footage changed their minds.
Previous IDF videos, often released long after the media finished reporting on an incident, tended to be grainy and difficult to follow. But these videos were different, as Jerusalem Post editor David Horovitz put it:
This footage is also far from perfect, but it is conclusive. The clarity with which it shows the commandos coming down onto the deck and being pounced upon and thrashed is sufficient to render the footage nauseating. The clubs and the irons bars rise and fall with sickening force and frequency.
Those images of “peace workers” with batons over their heads as they pound IDF soldiers – reminiscent of Rodney King being beaten by police in Los Angeles – may well develop into iconic images of the battle.
And they may come to represent the truth about organizations such as the IHH, which have ties with Hamas.
We have seen that images have power. The iconic image of Mohammed al-Dura inflamed the whole Palestinian population during the Second Intifada. Photos of Iranian protestor Neda Agha-Soltan lying dead after a clash with police energized the anti-government movement in that country.
Now, the Flotilla of Violence has revealed the true face of the Free Gaza Movement, and the IDF has captured it. It is no longer be possible for the group to claim that it is against the use of violence.
Previously in Alex's series: Why Facebook Is Sweeping Aside Arab Media
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Yes, it feels like the tide has turned on this one. Israel is finally winning a media battle.
It was well done. They released evidence in footage slowly and steadily, after the Free Gaza initial blitz was spent. The press looking to prolong the story, had only the Israeli releases to use.
Like any war, the media war is based on tactics and strategy. I can only hope that the Israeli strategy was by design, and not by happenstance.