Giyus Megaphone desktop tool
New instrument for Israeli Internet manipulations
The Jews have developed new instruments so that their minority views will be heard with unproportional strong effect, and thus affect opinion on Israel. Their latest gadget in this war effort is the Megaphone tool of Giyus.
Advertisement for Giyus at Zionism-Israel Center Forum:
Check this out, a very powerful tool to support Israel through the Internet: www.giyus.org
From the Giyus´ MySpace section:
More about Giyus.org
Giyus.org is a growing community of online activists working together to promote pro Israeli messages in the media and expose Israel's side of the conflict to the broader audience of print and online media destinations. Our members, currently 28,000 in number, work together from all across the globe, participate in our campaigns, submit articles for review, and engage in online discussions at our forums and blog site.
While the term Giyus in Hebrew refers to mobilization, Giyus also stands for Give Israel Your United Support. The initiative was launched at the beginning of the war in Lebanon in the summer of 2006. Armed with a unique technology from Collactive (e.g. the Megaphone), an Internet company, weve been endorsed by Israels Foreign Ministry and have dramatically impacted the "war on the web". Today more than 15 Jewish organizations are affiliated to Giyus.org spreading the word about the project to their members.
Screenshot showing Giyus´ white Megaphone symbol
and the desktop tool as it appears in the Windows toolbar
Israel's Foreign Ministry provides Free Internet Tool to online activists
By Arjan El Fassed
The Electronic Intifada, 26 July 2006
Screen image of the giyus.org website from which the Megaphone desktop tool can be downloaded.
The following letter was sent by Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to a variety of pro-Israel organisations, so-called 'hasbara'-groups and other supporters of Israel.Dear friends,
Many of us recognize the importance of the Internet as the new battleground for Israel's image. It's time to do it better, and coordinate our on-line efforts on behalf of Israel. An Israeli software company have developed a free, safe and useful tool for us - the Internet Megaphone.
Please go to www.giyus.org, download the Megaphone, and you will receive daily updates with instant links to important internet polls, problematic articles that require a talk back, etc.
We need 100,000 Megaphone users to make a difference. So, please distribute this mail to all Israel's supporters.
Do it now. For Israel.
Director Public Affairs (Hasbara) Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem
Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs understands that today's conflicts are won by public opinion. They mobilize pro-Israel activists to be active and voice "Israel's side to the world." The Megaphone desktop tool, built by Giyus, which means "mobilization", sends desktop alerts on key articles on Israel and surveys, online polls where activists could click on the button to support Israel and click alerts to easily voice pro-Israel opinions.
The tool tracks down online articles and polls that members should act upon. After installing the tool, members receive alerts on those articles. With this tool Israel's Foreign Ministry obviously thought it would help Israel's fight in cyberspace. However, having used this tool, for others, it is quit useful as well. There is also a weblog and a forum.
To download Megaphone Desktop Tool click here [*.exe file for Windows].
For non Windows users and others who would like to to track the alerts being posted via RSS or the Web, visit this page.
Amir Gissin's letter was posted on July 22 on the website of www.standwithus.com -- an pro-Israel advocacy organization.
GIYUS calls Jews of world to web duty
By Linda Harel
YNetnews.com / Israel News, 07.27.2006
Want to support Israel online? Just download Megaphone from WUJS website and get all needed updates
When Giyus.org noticed a poll on Albabawa.com, a popular Arabic website, asking whether the current violence in Lebanon is an Israeli provocation, they decided to help balance the results.
A message with a link to the poll popped up on the desktops of GIYUS' Israel-loving members and soon, the poll results jumped from an overwhelming yes to an over 80 percent no.
GIYUS (Give Israel Your United Support) is a new project that has recently been released by the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) in order to balance anti-Israel sentiment expressed on the web and influence public opinion.
To accomplish this, they created Megaphone, a free tool that can be downloaded from their website. Megaphone allows alerts to pop up on users' desktops every time it finds an attention-worthy article, poll or forum on the internet. Students and members of pro-Israel organizations are encouraged to visit the sites and express their opinions.
In addition to making users aware of problematic biased articles and anti-Semitism, GIYUS encourages them to write letters of approval to the editors of sites that publish positive articles to help increase their popularity.
The project is designed to be interactive. Megaphone users can contribute to its growth by reporting both biased and commendable websites and polls for consideration.
To attract users from around the world, GIYUS translates polls into English, French and Hebrew, and soon Spanish.
Israel backed by army of cyber-soldiers
From Yonit Farago in Jerusalem
The Times, July 28, 2006
WHILE Israel fights Hezbollah with tanks and aircraft, its supporters are campaigning on the internet.
Israels Government has thrown its weight behind efforts by supporters to counter what it believes to be negative bias and a tide of pro-Arab propaganda. The Foreign Ministry has ordered trainee diplomats to track websites and chatrooms so that networks of US and European groups with hundreds of thousands of Jewish activists can place supportive messages.
In the past week nearly 5,000 members of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) have downloaded special megaphone software that alerts them to anti-Israeli chatrooms or internet polls to enable them to post contrary viewpoints. A student team in Jerusalem combs the web in a host of different languages to flag the sites so that those who have signed up can influence an opinion survey or the course of a debate.
Jonny Cline, of the international student group, said that Jewish students and youth groups with their understanding of the web environment were ideally placed to present another side to the debate.
Were saying to these people that if Israel is being bashed, dont ignore it, change it, Mr Cline said. A poll like CNNs takes just a few seconds to vote in, but if thousands take part the outcome will be changed. Whats vital is that the international face of the conflict is balanced.
Doron Barkat, 29, in Jerusalem, spends long nights trawling the web to try to swing the debate Israels way. When I see internet polls for or against Israel I send out a mailing list to vote for Israel, he said. It can be that after 15 minutes there will be 400 votes for Israel.
Its very satisfying. There are also forums where Lebanese and Israelis talk.
Israels Foreign Ministry must avoid direct involvement with the campaign but is in contact with international Jewish and evangelical Christian groups, distributing internet information packs.
Amir Gissin, the Israeli Foreign Ministrys public relations director, said: The internets become a leading tool for news, shaping the world view of millions. Our problem is the foreign media shows Lebanese suffering, but not Israeli. Were bypassing that filter by distributing pictures showing how northern Israelis suffer from Katyusha rocket attacks.
Israel ups the stakes in the propaganda war
By Stewart Purvis
The Guardian, Monday 20 November 2006
Following its invasion of Lebanon this summer, Israel was said to have largely lost the PR battle to Hizbullah, but armed with a major web offensive, it's fighting back
Amir Gissin runs what he calls '"Israel's Explanation Department". Which is why it is surprising to hear him admit that many Israelis think "the whole problem is that we don't explain ourselves correctly".
Last week, as al-Jazeera launched an Arab view of the world into English-speaking homes worldwide, Gissin was a man under pressure. At the David Bar Ilan conference on the media and Middle East, he faced an audience of Israelis who were unhappy about the way the propaganda battle with Hizbullah was fought and lost during the war in the Lebanon. They wanted to know how it could be done better next time, because most people in Israel seem to think there will be a next time with Hizbullah soon.
Gissin said the words of his English-speaking spokespeople could not compete with the power of the pictures of civilians killed in the Israeli attack on Lebanese towns like Qana. And the Israeli parliament will not spend the money on an Israeli counterpart to al-Jazeera.
But Gissin was not down-hearted. He declared there to be a "war on the web" in which Israel had a new weapon, a piece of computer software called the "internet megaphone".
"During the war we had the opportunity to do some very nice things with the megaphone community," he revealed at the conference. Among them, he claimed, was a role in getting an admission from Reuters that a photograph of damage to Beirut had been doctored by a Lebanese photographer to increase the amount of smoke in the picture. This was first spotted by American blogger Charles Johnson, who has won an award for "promoting Israel and Zionism".
To check out the power of the megaphone, I logged onto a website called GIYUS (Give Israel Your United Support) last Wednesday afternoon. More than 25,000 registered users of www.giyus.org have downloaded the megaphone software, which enables them to receive alerts asking them to get active online.
It did not take long for an alert to come through. A Foreign Office minister, Kim Howells, had issued a press statement condemning that day's Palestinian rocket attack which killed an elderly Israeli and wounded other civilians. GIYUS wanted site users to "show your appreciation of the UK's response".
One click took me to a pre-prepared email addressed to Dr Howells, and a slot for me to personalise my comment. A test confirmed that the email would arrive at his office, as if I had spotted his comments on a news website, in this case Yahoo, and sent it to him with a supporting message. In the emails, there would be no indication of the involvement of GIYUS, although Howells may have been suspicious that so many people around the world had read the same Yahoo story about him and decided to email him. The Foreign Office confirms that emails were received last Wednesday but will not go into any more detail.
The most popular target of the online activists is the foreign media, especially the BBC, the news organisation which they love to hate. Earlier this year I was a member of the independent panel set up by the BBC governors to review the BBC's coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We reported on the high number of emails we had received from abroad, mostly from North America, and the evidence of pressure group involvement. A majority of email correspondents thought that the BBC was anti-Israel, however if the emails that could be identified as coming from abroad were excluded, the opposite was true - more people thought the BBC anti-Palestinian or pro-Israel.
The BBC has already had one encounter with GIYUS - an attempt to influence the outcome of an online poll. BBC History magazine noticed an upsurge in voting on whether holocaust denial should be a criminal offence in Britain. But the closing date had already passed and the result had already been published, so the votes were invalid anyway. GIYUS supporters claim success elsewhere in "balancing" an opinion poll on an Arabic website by turning a vote condemning Israel's attack in the Lebanon into an endorsement.
For some of Israel's supporters, a primary aim of their war on the web is an attempt to discredit what they see as hostile foreign media reports, especially those containing iconic visual images.
One particular target has been the respected French TV correspondent, Charles Enderlin, whose Palestinian cameraman filmed 12-year-old Mohammed al-Dura being shot and killed, as his father tried to shield him at the start of the second intifada. Enderlin accused Israeli troops of shooting and killing the boy. French supporters of Israel went online to claim the report was a distortion based on faked footage. His network, France 2, responded with legal action and, last month, in the first of four individual cases, a French court found the organiser of a self-styled media watchdog website guilty of libel.
Another online target has been the TV footage of bloodshed on a Gaza beach earlier this year. A Palestinian girl was seen screaming as she saw the bodies of dead family members killed by what Palestinians allege was Israeli shellfire. When I mentioned the impact of these pictures at last week's conference, members of the audience shouted "staged".
One person came up to me afterwards to suggest that the family had somehow died somewhere else and that their bodies had been moved to the beach to be filmed. Where, for instance, was all the blood? I pointed out that I had seen everything that the cameraman had shot and that some pictures were too gruesome to be shown.
It is clear that the government of Israel wants to fight back against the impact of foreign media pictures like these. Amir Gissin talked last week of plans to get Israeli video onto sites like YouTube which he said were viewed by opinion "shapers". And his cousin Dr Ra'anan Gissin, formerly Ariel Sharon's media adviser, has endorsed the idea of having picture power at the country's disposal ready for future conflicts. Referring to Israel's opponents, he put it in his usual direct way: "You need to shoot a picture before you shoot them."
Stewart Purvis is professor of Television Journalism at City University in London. He is a former chief executive and editor-in-chief of ITN.
Israel's newest PR weapon: The Internet Megaphone
By Steve Linde
The Jerusalem Post, Nov 28, 2006
As Al Jazeera's 24-hour station takes to the air in English and with other new Arab English-language media initiatives such as the Ramallah-based Palestine Times fresh off the press, Israel has begun effectively using a new weapon in its public diplomacy arsenal to fight the media war on the Web - a locally-developed computer software tool called the "Internet Megaphone."
The Foreign Ministry itself is now pushing the idea, urging supporters of Israel everywhere to become cyberspace soldiers "in the new battleground for Israel's image."
The Megaphone, which was first reported on in The Jerusalem Post when it made its debut in July during the Lebanon war, alerts activists about polls and articles about Israel on the Internet and enables them to express their support or opposition by e-mail.
After just four months, it has been downloaded by more than 25,000 people from the Web site called GIYUS (Mobilization) which stands for Give Israel Your Support.
Amir Gissin, who heads the Public Affairs Department at the Foreign Ministry, has been working behind the scenes to promote the idea.
"During the war an initiative began, and we had the opportunity to do some very nice things with the Megaphone community," Gissin recently told the David Bar-Illan media conference in Ariel.
"An Israeli company developed a type of software that functions like a beeper from one central place. They send alerts and anyone who downloads the software gets a pop-up with links to an activity. It can be to vote for Israel in a CNN survey or react to an especially nasty article. We still have a long way to go, but this is our future."
Among the accomplishments of the Megaphone community during the war, Gissin said, was its role in obtaining an admission from the Reuters news agency that a photograph of damage done to Beirut in an Israeli air strike had been doctored by a Lebanese photographer.
The extra smoke in the picture was first noticed by American blogger Charles Johnson who then alerted others, and later won an award for promoting Israel's case.
Stewart Purvis, a journalism professor at London's City University who also attended the Bar-Illan conference, wrote in The Guardian last week that following Gissin's speech, he decided to check out the power of the Megaphone by logging onto the Giyus site.
"It did not take long for an alert to come through," he said. "A Foreign Office minister, Kim Howells, had issued a press statement condemning that day's Palestinian rocket attack which killed an elderly Israeli and wounded other civilians. GIYUS wanted site users to 'show your appreciation of the UK's response.'" One click took him to a prepared e-mail addressed to Howells and a slot to send a personal comment, Purvis said. He went ahead and did, later confirming with the Foreign Office in London that it had received the e-mails.
"In the e-mails, there would be no indication of the involvement of GIYUS, although Howells may have been suspicious that so many people around the world had read the same Yahoo story about him and decided to e-mail him," Purvis concluded.
He also noted that GIYUS supporters had claimed success in "balancing" an opinion poll on a pro-Arab Web Site by turning a vote condemning Israel's war in Lebanon into an endorsement.
When GIYUS noticed a poll on albawaba asking whether the violence in Lebanon had been an Israeli provocation, it sent a message with a link to the poll to its members and soon the results jumped from an overwhelming yes to a resounding no.
The Megaphone was introduced by the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) during this summer's war with the aim of getting the pro-Israel community to respond in real time to developments on the Web.
To attract users from around the world, Giyus.org translates polls into English, French, Hebrew and Spanish.
Yonit Farago in The Times reported that "Israel's government has thrown its weight behind efforts by supporters to counter what it believes to be negative bias and a tide of pro-Arab propaganda.
"The Foreign Ministry has ordered trainee diplomats to track Web sites and chatrooms so that networks of US and European groups with hundreds of thousands of Jewish activists can place supportive messages." WUJS's Jonny Cline said that Jewish students and youth were ideally placed to present Israel's side of the Middle East story.
"We're saying to these people that if Israel is being bashed, don't ignore it, change it," Cline said. "A poll like CNN's takes just a few seconds to vote in, but if thousands take part the outcome will be changed. What's vital is that the international face of the conflict is balanced." Gissin has gone as far as sending a letter (posted on the Israel advocacy Web site, www.standwithus.com) that urges supporters of Israel to use the Megaphone.
"Dear friends," he writes, "Many of us recognize the importance of the Internet as the new battleground for Israel's image. It's time to do it better, and coordinate our on-line efforts on behalf of Israel.
"Please go to www.Giyus.org, download the Megaphone, and you will receive daily updates with instant links to important Internet polls, problematic articles that require a talkback, etc.
"We need 100,000 Megaphone users to make a difference. So, please distribute this mail to all Israel's supporters.
"Do it now. For Israel."