The Immigrant Absorption Ministry announced on Sunday it was setting up an “army of bloggers,” to be made up of Israelis who speak a second language, to represent Israel in “anti-Zionist blogs” in English, French, Spanish and German.
The program’s first volunteer was Sandrine Pitousi, 31, from Kfar Maimon, situated five kilometers from Gaza. “I heard about the project over the radio and decided to join because I’m living in the middle of the conflict,” she said.
Before hanging up the phone prematurely following a Color Red rocket alert, Pitousi, who immigrated to Israel from France in 1993, said she had some experience with public relations from managing a production company.
“During the war, we looked for a way to contribute to the effort,” the ministry’s director general, Erez Halfon, told Haaretz. “We turned to this enormous reservoir of more than a million people with a second mother tongue.” Other languages in which bloggers are sought include Russian and Portuguese.
Halfon said volunteers who send the Absorption Ministry their contact details by e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org, will be registered according to language, and then passed on to the Foreign Ministry’s media department, whose personnel will direct the volunteers to Web sites deemed “problematic.”
Within 30 minutes of announcing the program, which was approved by the Foreign Ministry on Sunday, five volunteers were already in touch, Halfon said.
Sounds like New Media engagement by Civilian Irregular Public Diplomacy Auxiliaries. I’d love to see the Foreign Ministry’s list of ‘problematic’ English-language Web sites. The Bush Administration could have done something almost exactly like this, could have rounded up an Army of Counter Insurgent Supportive Bloggers to represent the pro-victory side on anti-war blogs, could have pushed back.
UPDATE 200901200010: Latest hasbara weapon: ‘Army of bloggers’