Published on October 5th, 2010 | by Eli Clifton1
“Online Public Diplomacy Platform of Israel” Shifts Focus to Iran
Give Israel Your United Support (GIYUS), a “coalition of Jewish and pro-Israeli organizations” with mostly a college youth and advocacy focus, appears to be shifting its focus towards Iran. Its latest alert points its users to a Yale Daily News article about Hillary Mann Leverett’s graduate seminar at Yale. Leverett hosted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for an hour-long discussion with 13 Yale students.
The alert reads:
Last week, after Ahmadinejad accused the US of perpetrating Sept. 11th attacks, Yale Univ. hosted him for dinner. Click Act Now to send your protest and demand a public apology from Yale.
Users who click the “Act Now” button will find an e-mail form — pre-addressed to Yale Spokeswoman Dorie Baker; Yale School of Management Professor James Levinsohn; the Yale University President’s office; and (on the BCC line) email@example.com — popup in their email client.
GIYUS, which is endorsed on a number of of Israeli embassy websites as “the online public diplomacy platform of Israel,” has been sending out increasing numbers of Iran related alerts and calls for action.
On August 29, GIYUS pointed users to an interview with “an ex-Mossad expert on Iran” that promoted a U.S. attack on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and suggested that negotiations with Tehran only serve to give Iran more time to develop a nuclear weapon. (I wrote about this interview here.)
The GIYUS operation is designed to manipulate social media platforms and target pro-Israel traffic to certain articles, polls, blog posts and YouTube videos. Megaphone, the program which GIYUS asks users to download, sends out links which appear as popups on users’ computers.
The number of alerts issued by GIYUS’s homegrown Megaphone software sharply increases during periods of crisis, such as the 2008-2009 Gaza War and the latest Lebanon War. The the program was first introduced during that 2006 clash with Hezbollah. Until recently, GIYUS has been rather quiet since its burst of activity surrounding the Gaza Flotilla in June.
GIYUS’s increased focus on Iran suggests it sees Israeli and U.S. policy towards Iran as the dominant public diplomacy challenge for Israel, and wants to leverage all networks at its disposal.