Category Archives: Academic

09Jun/09

The Other Gaza War: Hamas Media Strategy during Operation Cast Lead and Beyond

Chiche, Fabrice & Boms,Nir  (2009) “The Other Gaza War: Hamas Media Strategy during Operation Cast Lead and Beyond” in  Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, Vol. 3. No. 2.

A simple search in Google for the word “Gaza” will yield over 67 million results, while a search for its neighboring Israeli city of Sderot-located just a few miles away from Gaza City and a target of the last few rounds of confrontation between Israel and Hamas-will yield a little over a million (a ratio of 60:1). A more interesting comparison demonstrates that a search for “Hamas,” a local terrorist group, receives twice the number of “hits” (27 million) as a search for the international terrorist network “al-Qa’ida.” These results can be explained by a number of factors, including the high level of interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the way different terms are coded on the internet. But the rather impressive Hamas media presence that was apparent during the recent campaign in Gaza can also be attributed to the calculated and successful media strategy implemented by Hamas and some of its supporters. The notion of a “media war” is nothing new when it comes to terrorist groups. Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qa’ida’s second-in-command, declared in 2005 that: “We are in a battle, and more than half of it is taking place in the battlefield of the media. We are in a media battle for the hearts and minds of our umma Continue reading

20Dec/08

Education for Tolerance: A Ray of Hope in a Troubled Region

The enclose piece  is the fruit of collaborative work with two dear colleagues, an Israeli (David Oman)  and a Kuwaiti (Khaled AlJenfawi) who are both involved with an NGO where I serve as a board member. It deals with an important key for peace in the region,  namely the issue of  education for peace and tolerance toward the “other”.

“Europe’s soul is tolerance,” said Angela Merkel at the official ceremony to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome. “Our history,” she added, “obliges us in Europe to promote tolerance throughout Europe and across the globe and to help everyone practice it.” Merkel is not alone. Other European leaders often speak of the value of tolerance that indeed appears to be the bon-ton of Europe. But to what extent is it manifested in policy?

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30Jul/08

DISCOURSE OF CHANGE

By Nir Boms

(Lecture notes given in Melbourne, Australia)

The main domestic objective of most Middle Eastern governments is to maintain the status quo regarding the balance between citizen freedoms and oppression.

Opposition movements can be roughly divided into two main groups: Islamist opposition, which think the governments are too secular, and the democratic or reform-minded opposition.

The Islamists seek to replace governments, but the democrats are not yet in that position. They seek reforms, the creation of greater freedoms and the like. There is an inherent difference between the ability of these two groups to achieve – or go about achieving – their goals; radicals are more focused in their objectives, and have easily defined goals. Intellectuals generally do not, nor do they have the infrastructure (such as mosques, access to money, etc.) to support their objectives.
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28May/08

Immigration, Radicalisation and Islamic Discourse in Europe

  

I have a more technical point to make today. I stand here as a French citizen. I want to make clear that I am not French and have no relation. I’m a sworn enemy of France. So I want to make this in the record that I’m not French, okay? I tell you I am a Muslim, and I have nothing to do with a nation of homosexual Crusaders. And I am not a frog. That’s the first thing. . . .

Zacarias Moussaoui, the 20th hijacker to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Colombia

‘ I am not only British. I am English – because England is the only home I have ever  known- even though I am a Muslim and I have an Indian name’ 

Munaf Zeena, director of the North London Muslim Community Center 

Many great and heated debates are hiding between these lines that represent only a fraction of the many voices expressed by Muslims in Europe.

In the recent years, I believe that many of us have become increasingly aware to the voices of extremism such as those of Zacarias quoted above. These voices often fall into a stereotype that links Islam, immigration and extremism.  

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