Israeli students to get $2,000 to spread state propaganda on Facebook
The National Union of Israeli Students (NUIS) has become a full-time partner in the Israeli government’s efforts to spread its propaganda online and on college campuses around the world.
NUIS has launched a program to pay Israeli university students $2,000 to spread pro-Israel propaganda online for 5 hours per week from the “comfort of home.”
The union is also partnering with Israel’s Jewish Agency to send Israeli students as missionaries to spread propaganda in other countries, for which they will also receive a stipend.
This active recruitment of Israeli students is part of Israel’s orchestrated effort to suppress the Palestinian solidarity movement under the guise of combating “delegitimization” of Israel and anti-Semitism.
The involvement of the official Israeli student union as well as Haifa University, Tel Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University and Sapir College in these state propaganda programs will likely bolster Palestinian calls for the international boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
PAYING STUDENTS TO SPREAD ISRAELI PROPAGANDA ONLINE
This is our opportunity, as Israeli students, to provide hasbara [state propaganda] that is correct and balanced, to help in the struggle against the delegitimization of the State of Israel and against hatred of Jews in the world.
That is one of the exhortations in a Hebrew document issued by NUIS, and translated by The Electronic Intifada, inviting Israeli students to apply for a program to help spread Israel’s message.
The project seeks to take advantage of the fact that “Many students in Israel master the Internet and are proficient at using the Internet and social networking and various sites and are required to write and express themselves in English.”
The paid scholarship will allow them to get training and then work from home for five hours per week for a year to “refute” what it calls “misinformation” about Israel on social networking sites.
Among the stated goals of the scholarships is “to deepen and expand hasbara activities of students in the State of Israel.” The document explains:
The Internet allows uncontrolled access to content from marginal groups and therefore can influence many audiences who are exposed to such information, particularly young people who are more easily influenced.
The Internet, then, is used as a major tool for the dissemination of anti-Semitism, hatred of Israel and of Jews and thus the Internet is also the place to battle against such sites, pull the ground from under them and to provide reliable and balanced information.
WORK FROM THE "COMFORT OF HOME"
The NUIS program document explains:
After training, the student will begin his activities. The student will do the activities in the comfort of his home, where every week he will be obligated to about 5 hours of activities for a period of one calendar year (not academic year). Students will be paid a total of NIS 7,500 [$2,000] to perform the tasks of the project, at least 5 hours weekly for a total of 240 hours of activities under the project umbrella.
What is completely missing from the program is any indication that criticism of Israel could be valid. Rather the National Union of Israeli Students apparently seeks to indoctrinate Israeli students that every criticism of Israel is “hate” and “anti-Semitism” and that the Internet should be seen as a battlefield on which they are foot soldiers.
USING E-LEARNING TOOLS FOR GOVERNMENT PROPAGANDA
An interesting aspect of the NUIS program is that it uses the common open source virtual learning environment Moodle as its interface with program participants. This interface can be found at students.digitalchange.co.il.
Whereas Moodle was designed for education – to spread mind-opening learning beyond the constraints of geography – the Israeli innovation here is to use it for mind-narrowing propaganda: getting students to be uncritical, to not think for themselves, but rather to spread Israel’s state-sponsored propaganda.
SEE THE WORLD, SPREAD MORE PROPAGANDA
NUIS has also partnered with the Jewish Agency, the Israeli state body that encourages Jews from around the world to settle on stolen Palestinian land, to spread propaganda on college campuses around the world.
The Jewish Agency website announces, as translated from Hebrew by Dena Shunra for The Electronic Intifada:
For the first time in Israel – a unique, world-encompassing scholarship, in cooperation between the Student Union and the Jewish Agency.
Every year the Jewish Agency of Israel sends approximately 150 emissaries to various places around the world - North America, England, South Africa, Australia, Germany, Italy and South America, who engage in Jewish education and hasbara in three main streams - Hillel emissaries (to campuses around North America), community emissaries and youth movement emissaries.
Training for these overseas missions for successful applicants will take place at Haifa University, Tel Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University and Sapir College, after which the would-be missionaries “will set off for a one-year mission in the various Jewish communities around the world, and will also receive a scholarship of up to NIS 5,000 [$1300].”
Applications are open to Israeli citizens who have lived in the country for three years, those who have completed service in the Israeli army, and those who speak foreign languages, among other criteria.
A STUDENT UNION IN THE SERVICE OF THE STATE
In most countries student unions often find themselves at odds with state authorities, fighting for the rights of students. But it would appear that Israel’s “student union” does not so much represent students and fight for their rights, but represents the state in the state’s efforts to recruit students to do its political bidding.
In this sense, the NUIS functions in a very similar way to Israel’s “trade union” the Histadrut.