Israeli Minister of Strateic Affairs Gilad Erdan (center) with pro-Israel online activists in Jerusalem [Photo Credit: Yair Eddie Fraiman]
Today is the 3rd and final day of the government-sponsored conference for pro-Israel online activists, that is being referred to as #DigiTell18. Last week, 4IL, a project of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, announced that the conference would be held this week, but offered few details apart from the following, general description: “A Global Gathering of Pro-Israel Social Media Experts”
4IL, made the following anticipatory tweet in advance of the conference, “Participants from 15 countries & with over 20 million people in social media reach will gather next week in Jerusalem for a one of a kind event.”
The Ministry of Strategic Affairs is hosting a first-ever conference for pro-Israel online activists. Participants from 15 countries & with over 20 million people in social media reach will gather next week in Jerusalem for a one of a kind event. Stay tuned! #DigiTell18 pic.twitter.com/rLenextJMx
— 4IL (@4ILorg) March 8, 2018
Some of the notable speakers at the event included Minister of Strategic Affairs and Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan, Former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, the current IDF spokesperson and head of social media of the IDF Jonathan Conricus and spokesperson for the Jewish Agency Avi Mayer.
— Hananya Naftali (@HananyaNaftali) March 13, 2018
The human face of the IDF soldiers is the best tool we have to fight against lies and delegitimization"
— Yaron Fishelson (@YaronDeJa) March 14, 2018
In addition to participating in discussions and panels surrounding the role of social media in fighting against international anti-Israel bias, the participants of the event also attended the 5th annual Sounds of the Old City music festival, an event which hosts Israeli musicians who present live performances throughout the old city of Jerusalem.
— EIPA (@EIPA_EU) March 12, 2018
The #DigiTell18 conference is the latest social-media related effort by Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs to combat the rise of online anti-semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric. In 2016, the Israeli government, represented by Gilad Erdan and Ayelet Shaked met with Facebook executives and agreed to work together to determine how to tackle incitement on the social media network. Last year, Gilad Erdan announced the launch of 4il, which he called “the Iron Dome of Truth,” a reference to the highly-effective missile-defense system that Israel uses to shoot down enemy rockets.
In addition to Israeli government officials working to combat the anti-Israel rhetoric and online incitement from social media channels, private organizations such as the Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center also work with law enforcement agencies and the court system to bring online abusers to justice. In 2015, during the so-called “knife intifada” during which Arab terrorists targeted Israeli civilians to stab them, the Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, together with 2 other parties, filed a lawsuit against Facebook on behalf of a number of terror victims. According to Haaretz, the lawsuit said, “the 20,000 Israeli plaintiffs claim [that the] Facebook posts have inspired many recent terror attacks and that Facebook’s algorithms and platform connect inciters to terrorists who are further encouraged to perpetrate stabbings and other violent attacks against Israelis.”
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