Israel use social media to moralise Gaza massacre

By Nicola Perugini | Nov 25, 2012 | Sabbah Report

Israel has effectively ‘weaponised’ PTSD by disseminating bites via social media in order to legitimise its offensive.

Social media and the discourse of trauma during ‘Pillar of Defence’

Israel use social media to moralise Gaza massacreThe first Israeli military tweet reads “‘Harmless’ rockets? Staggering number of kids in southern #Israel have PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder]“. And a few minutes later: “Photo: Israeli children and parents sleeping in a shelter in Ashkelon yesterday”. Clearly, the use of social media during war is becoming more and more extensive, but what, one might ask, lies behind the communicative strategy that accompanied operation “Pillar of Defence”?

On one level, it is a struggle over “facts”. Using , Facebook and YouTube, the Israeli military provided information about the targeting of Palestinian militants, houses, public buildings and infrastructures. To assume the aura of “facts”, they offer figures, images, videos, and statistics. Other more explicative messages tried to convince the audience that Israeli assaults were carried out in accordance with International Humanitarian Law: “VIDEO: #Israel Air Force Calls Off Airstrike When Civilians Seen Near Target in #”. A number of posts tried to persuade the international public about the “necessity” of Pillar of Defence: “ has been firing rockets at #Israel for over a decade. Months & years ago, rockets from # were still a regular occurrence”.

But besides the communicative form it adopts in the era of social media, this campaign tells us something about another chapter in the claim of morality by the perpetrators of colonial violence. We have to keep in mind that the ultimate goal of these messages was that of adorning the supposed military right to kill with an aura of morality – while trying to “demoralise” the resistance of the colonised: “Hamas’ strategy is simple: Use civilians as human shields. Fire rockets from residential areas. Store weapons in mosques. Hide in hospitals”.

The Israeli Army often claims to be one of “the most moral army in the world”. This false assumption has been widely criticised and debunked, but in order to keep this important work of demystification alive we have to continue to pay attention to the new forms mystification takes. During “Pillar of Defence”, this claim of morality has welded with the reference to trauma and PTSD: A new assemblage – intertwining moral legitimacy and politics of trauma – emerged.

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One of the most striking elements during Pillar of Defence is the Army Spokesperson’s frequent reference to some unusual figures about trauma, like in this tweet: “75% of children in Sderot, Israeli town bombarded by rockets, suffer from PTSD. RT [Retweet] to show their reality”. A link opens a YouTube video produced by the Army in which young people look for a shelter while sirens sound. A military official states: “No democratic state would accept a situation in which its citizens experience suffering like this”, and the mayor of Sderot quotes alleged figures about children with PTSD. The south of Israel is presented as an area subject to traumatisation. The continue to flow; new “surgical killings” are announced.

It would be a mistake to consider this reference to PTSD as an element of complete newness in the political debate. The Israeli army has progressively accepted to deal with its through the lenses of PTSD. Israeli society at large is more and more recurring to the notions of distress and the discursive arsenal of the politics of trauma. A conspicuous scientific production has emerged in the last decades, one in which the grammar of distress, political violence and violence of politics have repeatedly merged at the public level. The recent assault on Gaza highlighted this welding between scientific, public and military spheres. Some articles in the mainstream Israeli media (ie Ha’aretz) accompanied the Israeli army tweets by abundantly referring to this scientific production on PTSD in southern Israel. The clinical weapon of PTSD and its aura of scientificity become tools for the moralisation of killings. Thus, the subtext reads: Killings are moral because they help to reduce and prevent PTSD.

Israel use social media to moralise Gaza massacreThe main question is not that of denying or asserting the presence of trauma among Israelis living in the proximity of the Gaza Strip. Rather, it is important to understand how the reference to a scientific literature postulating the existence of widespread trauma is transformed into an instrument for legitimising the assumption that Palestinian lives can be sacrificed. Killings assume a sort of macabre therapeutic function.

In many social contexts, trauma and PTSD are instruments for claiming different forms of rights. What is striking here is that in the case of Israel, these same instruments become discursive and practical tools for inflicting death and collective punishment. We cannot isolate PTSD from its colonial relationality, that is to say from its weaponisation against the Palestinians. The moral economies of violence – destruction and killing as “prevention of suffering” and “trauma” – unveil the forms that colonial discourses and practices can assume, and the different values attributed to the lives of colonial citizens and subjects.

Nicola Perugini is an anthropologist who teaches at the Bard Honors College in Jerusalem. His work focuses on colonialism, space and law. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

© Sabbah Report: http://sabbah.biz/mt/?p=15582


For who does not understand the need or concept of resistance of Palestine, recommended read: The History of Resistance | The Eagle of Palestine


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  • Truths and lies behind Israel’s attacks on Gaza and its whining about rockets ~ by @AliAbunimah
  • Israel is not looking for peace. Nor talks. But:  This


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PHOTOGRAPHY

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Photos #GazaUnderAttack Nov 21, 2012

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Photos #GazaUnderAttack  June 23, 2012

Photos  #GazaUnderAttack June 1-22, 2012

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Photos #GazaUnderAttack December 2011

Photos #GazaUnderAttack Oct & Nov 2011

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PHOTOS | Israel’s Massacre Cast Lead on Gaza 2008-2009




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ஜ۩۞۩ஜ

Martyred By Israeli Occupation Attacks

انّا للہ و انّا الیه راجعون

May Allah Subhana wa Ta’ ala grant the Shuhada Jannatul Firdaus, and ease it for their families, loved ones and anyone around them. Allahumma Ameen ya Rabbil Alameen. ‘ Inna Lillahi wa ‘ Inna ‘ Ilayhi Raji’un, Allahu Akbar

ஜ۩۞۩ஜ



* The list of shuhada does not display, the numerous victims of the zionist occupation which are undocumented by media. Nor it displays the victims of the “silent onslaught” due to restrictions of movement, ability to go to hospitals for treatment or life saving surgery, due to lack of medication because of the blockades and so on. For example: The Slow Motion Genocide by the Siege on Gaza only, killed 600 patients since Gaza got under Israeli Siege.

For an overview of All Israeli Massacres Palestinians go here

Neither does this list, display the avoidable mortality. A clear and statistical factual evidence, about the number of deaths due to indecent ruling by occupation forces. For even an occupier has obligations under International Laws, Geneva Convention and the Hague regulations, which it is neglecting. These circumstances, together with deliberate policies of the occupier to neglect and even deny every basic human right, severes avoidable mortality which is totally silenced by media or reporting organisations. While in the Holocaust, 1 on 6 Jewish people directly died of deliberate neglect, so if we believe the facts over 1 million due to avoidable mortality, neither should these same circumstances be ignores which are ongoing in Palestine. For this report displays a avoidable morality of at least 0,5 million Palestinians.

How many more dead corpses of Palestinians does the international community need to see in order to act? How many more cruelties and violations of Human Rights, Regulations and International Law will be needed to intervene so this ongoing warcrime is being stopped once and for all.





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