Thursday, July 15, 2010

IDF Video: An Analysis

Here are the two videos the IDF Press Desk released today giving the timeline of the Mavi Marmara raid:

The videos contain many arguments made by the IDF before, but do so much more cohesively. The videos themselves are also likely to receive more views in the long term than the IHH report about the raid.

However, the key question of the target audience remains open. The graphics and effects used indicate the intended audience to be pro-military and likely pro-IDF. And the video makes no mention of the individuals beign shot in the head or chest even though this is widely understood to have been the case. Ultimately it looks as if the audience most likely to be swayed by the videos are supporters of Israel looking for an articulation of their case.

But that's not the same as arguments which resonate with a centrist, leftist, or otherwise indifferent audience. Convincing these audiences requires finding points of resonance, not trying to argue that they all think wrong or ignoring facts.

Another issue is that the IDF tries to project itself as a faceless force. However, in asymmetrical conflicts, putting a human face on the military is a critical need. The videos are computer generated and clean. The narration is professional and impersonal (except when she refers to "our forces" of course). But the resonance of the human rights issue in the Arab world and international community is high. This doesn't necessarily mean the identity of the soldiers should be released to the world. But it does mean that the IDF needs to put a more human face on itself and its operations.

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