The Israeli regime has undertaken a new bid to recruit students to work at universities as “covert units,” posting messages on social networking websites on behalf of Tel Aviv.
The recruited students taking part in the clandestine propaganda project for the Zionist regime will be part of the “public diplomacy” arm of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, with leaders of the “covert units” receive full scholarships as compensation for their online pro-Israel publicity campaign, Israeli daily Haaretz reported .
“The main subjects that the campus-based [secretive]units will deal with are diplomatic- and security-related issues, efforts to combat boycotts of Israel, anti-Semitism and the de-legitimization of Israel,” the daily reports, citing sources in Netanyahu’s office.
The students, the report adds, will focus on the Zionist regime’s purported “democratic values, freedom of religion, pluralism and other subjects that give expression to the Israeli government’s public diplomacy policy.”
The undercover student units will post messages on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on behalf of the Israeli regime without identifying themselves as Zionist agents, according to the report.
The Israeli PM office is further planning to have the regime’s “student union” recruit up to 550 students with foreign language skills from Israel’s seven universities.
The student union, the report adds, will then publicize the secret publicity project among “tens of thousands of students,” and will provide computers and work space for a project headquarters at all university campuses.
“With social media, you can’t wait,” said another unidentified Israeli official about the propaganda project as cited in a Jerusalem Post report.
“We will get authoritative information out and make sure it goes viral,” the official further added. “We won’t leave negative stories out there online without a response, and we will spread positive messages. What we are doing is revolutionary. We are putting public diplomacy in the hands of the public.”
According to the reports, the “covert units” will be set up and structured in ‘a semi-military fashion’ at each university.
“The national public diplomacy unit in the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) places an emphasis on social network activity,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. “As part of this, a new pro-Israel public diplomacy infrastructure of students on Israeli campuses is being established that will assist in advancing and disseminating content on the social networks, particularly to international audiences.”
Moreover, according to details published in the Israeli media, a liaison officer for the Zionist regime will oversee the dissemination of “rapid responses” from Israeli officials to respond to news events, and coordinate with the regime’s other official bodies that deal with public diplomacy, including the Israeli military forces.
The Israeli publicity project, according to these reports, is the outcome of the regime’s eight-day ‘Operation Pillar of Defense,’ a military aggression launched against the besieged, Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, in which the Palestinian Islamic resistance group was widely regarded as victorious in the “war of words on online media.”
Haaretz further reported that following the Israeli military operation, the hashtag #GazaUnderAttack with 170,000 mentions easily surpassed Israel’s own #IsraelUnderFire, with a comparably meager 25,000 mentions.
“The perception dominating the online discourse was that the IDF had embarked on an unjustified attack,” said Israeli researcher Tomer Simon, who studied social networking activity during the eight-day aggression against Gaza.
The Israeli prime minister’s office plans to invest nearly 850,000 dollars “to recruit, organize and fund the activities of hundreds of university students” for the propaganda effort, the reports also state.
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