Friday, January 12

Google Earth: Dissing Israel one slanted post at a time

This is a story/meme that I have noted repeatedly to Foreign Ministry officials, bloggers here, as well as others involved in Israeli activism - so far, without much positive response:

So much of of what passes for "successful" efforts to combat anti-Israel reportage, propaganda, etc always seems to overlook "viral," bottom-up, grassroots activism, with proponents preferring top-down "dreiing with the machers," and, all too often coming out looking overwrought, and counterproductive.

Along with ubiquitous online tools like Wikipedia, Google Earth is a great example of how skewed coverage of Israel begins, from a nominally neutral source, that is then picked up by the ill-informed as "fact," and then spread at the speed of "enter." This - yet again - forces Israeli supporters into a reactionary mode, instead of taking charge of the agenda in the first place. To wit: A report appearing in the UK's Totally Jewish reports that:

Google has launched an enquiry into its interactive atlas program Google Earth after a TJ investigation revealed the online mapping and navigation service is replete with anti-Israel propaganda.

Google Earth, which claims to provide “local facts” and “critical tools for understanding a story” about the world, also contains factually incorrect data and biased images relating to Israel and the Middle East.

One Israeli settlement is displayed alongside comments implying citizens are stealing water from neighbouring Palestinians, while other images purport to show copies of land confiscation orders as well as plans to extend the security fence into Bethlehem.
Read the rest. (And just wait till you see what Hizbullah supporters have done with maps of the Lebanon War...)

Another glaring example is here, in a previous entry about avid "amateur" photography sites, like TrekEarth (along with its sister sites, TrekLens, and TrekNature) where I wrote, "PA area shots are accompanied by agitprop, in a sort of "soft-propaganda" exploitation..."



John said...

I noticed this too when using Google Earth to find my pad in Tel Aviv. Thanks for you work on this issue.

Dave said...


Thanks for the kind words.

Can we cross link blogrolls? I already added you to mine.



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