Students going head-to-head: Behind the scenes and far from the battlefield in the north and in Lebanon there is public relation front of students from both sides, who have been running their own mind battle since the beginning of the conflict.
A couple of days ago, the students' newspaper at the University of Atlanta published an article condemning Israel for its attack in Lebanon.
The article describes an anti-Israel rally held in Bangladesh with 25,000 Muslim students who shouted slogans against Israel, calling it "the enemy of Muslims" and calling on world and Muslim leaders to launch an attack on the Jewish state.
The article also describes another anti-Israel rally held by Muslim students in Indonesia. The article goes on to say that Israel is to blame for the death and injuries caused to Lebanese and Palestinian civilians. The article features interviews with Muslim students who attack Israel. Not one pro-Israeli side was introduced.
The Israeli students, on their part, are running a battle of their own. In an international effort they launched a campaign called "Take three minutes." Starting Friday, some 500 students and activists of the Israel at Heart organization will start different type of war: The talkback offensive.
The students are set to log onto different websites considered hostile to Israel, with the goal of visiting few sites every day and flooding the different polls on the legitimacy of Israel's operation with pro-Israel answers and points of views.
Each student sends the poll to his/her email list with a request to take three minutes and send the link to that poll to each person's own email list, thereby hopefully creating a positive public opinion regarding Israel in the world.
The Israel at Heart organization was established by the American-Jewish businessman Joey Lowe.
According to Lowe, "along with the work done by the Foreign Ministry and the IDF's Israeli spokespersons on international television networks we must not abandon the arena of the leading news sites. Those news sites allow surfers to respond to articles and participate in polls that they publish daily in response to the situation.
Supporting Palestinians in Indonesia (Photo: AP)
In recent days, many leading news and newspaper sites, such as Sky News, the BBC, and the New York Times' website, have published anti-Israel articles in their opinion pages. These types of articles that criticize Israel's operation in Lebanon cause hundreds of anti-Israel, contemptuous talkbacks.
"The campaign's goal is to balance the comments and even tip the scale toward pro-Israeli reactions," explained Lowe.
The polls' results and readers' reaction are published occasionally also during the extensive networks' coverage of the conflict, like CNN is doing.
Bangladesh. Against Israeli terror (Photo: Reuters)
The National Union of Israeli Students was also recruited to the cause and sent a letter to the International Students Forum, calling to support Israel.
According to Itai Shonshain, chairman of the National Union of Israeli Students, "students around the world, especially in Arab countries, are incited by false and inflammable media. I would actually expect them to be the voice of active opposition against warmongers in their countries and outside abroad.
"The academia and students everywhere in the world need not support aggression emanating from fundamentalism. From talking to students' leaders in the West I can say that we receive wide support for the war that Israel was forced into," he said.
Foreign-language speakers who want to join the mailing list of the Israel at Heart organization can turn to the organization's website for more details.