“This is a groundbreaking project aimed at strengthening Israeli national diplomacy and adapting it to changes in information consumption”
These were the words of an official statement released on Wednesday by the Israeli Government. In an attempt to curb anti-semitism, Israel has offered to give select students full or partial scholarships to actively advocate on behalf of Israel and combat calls to boycott Israel online. The students would work independently and wouldn’t identify themselves as government-linked.
Paid shills aren’t anything new – China’s infamous fifty cent army have long spread pro-Chinese messages online. Israel’s intiative is, however, the first of it’s kind that is done in such an upfront and blatant manner.
When Israel launched it’s offensive on Gaza last year, a large subsection of the army and dozens of volunteers were relegated into a “media bunker” to post veiled updates on social media reflecting the Israeli point of view.
“We are (operating) on four fronts: The military front, the home front, the diplomatic front and the public diplomacy front,” Netanyahu said. “We must fight for the truth, for the facts … refuting the industry of lies.”