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IDF Digital Rebellion

digital rebellionIn late April of 2014, an amateur video of Israeli army aggression in the occupied West Bank began to circulate online. The content was neither new nor surprising: a soldier shoving, kicking and pointing his gun at unarmed Palestinian teenagers in Hebron’s old city. What was new, however, was the form and scale of the public response. When the soldier was suspended, the Israeli public mobilized on social media in unprecedented numbers to support their ‘brother in arms,’ and his right to ‘self-defense’ in the face of insurgent Palestinian youth wielding smartphone cameras. Pundits called it the army’s first ‘digital rebellion’. Thousands of soldiers uploaded mobile snapshots of themselves holding handwritten protest banners: ‘We are with David the Nahalite’ (the suspended soldier was in the Nahal Infantry Brigade). In some of the selfies, the message was written on the soldiers’ half-naked bodies; in others it was spelled out in ammunition. The meme then spread to civilians, who uploaded pictures of themselves at home or at work, with pets and household objects rather than guns.

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Participant: Rebecca Stein
Dept. of Cultural Anthropology | Duke University
Presentation: "Occupation In Camera: New Photographic Technologies of Israeli Military Rule"