Death (almost) live on YouTube

It seems that assassination and social media have become bedfellows, so to speak.  Wired magazine reports:

The Israel Defense Forces didn’t just kill Hamas military leader Ahmed al-Jabari on Wednesday as he was driving his car down the street in Gaza. They killed him and then instantly posted the strike to YouTube. Then they tweeted a warning to all of Jabari’s comrades: “We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead.”

The Jabari hit is part of the biggest assault the IDF has launched in more than three years on Gaza, with more than 20 targets hit. And it’s being accompanied by one of the most aggressive social media offensives ever launched by any military. Several days before Jabari’s elimination, the IDF began liveblogging the rocket attacks on southern Israel coming from Gaza. Once “Operation Pillar of Defense” began, the IDF put up a Facebook page, a Flickr feed, and, of course, a stream of Twitter taunts — all relying on the same white-on-red English-language graphics. “Ahmed Jabari: Eliminated,” reads a tweet from 2:21 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday.

. . .

“I believe the video is aimed to deliver three different messages to three different audiences,” emails Gabriella Blum, a professor of international law and international conflict management at Harvard Law School. “A warning to militants in Gaza (we can get you anywhere, anytime); an appeasing message to the Israeli public (we will not remain helpless in the face of repeated rocket attacks), and a reassuring message to those concerned about the use of targeted killings, especially for its potential collateral damage (we can do this with utmost precision).”

There’s more at the link.  Here’s the video in question.

It’s chilling to think that more and more wars might be fought in this way . . . death and destruction, live in technicolor!  So much for ‘civilized’ warfare (not that there’s any such thing, of course).


EDITED TO ADD:  The first video clip was taken down by YouTube.  I found a second (well, half a dozen copies, actually), so I’ve replaced the link;  and if YouTube goes on being silly about this, I daresay I’ll be able to find others on the Web.


  1. As a strong supporter of the state of Israel and the IDF, I applaud their tactics. This combines sound weapons tactics using modern weapons with a new wrinkle in Psywar using new tools. I wish we were as innovative.


  2. Maybe… but they're getting eaten alive on Twitter. It's wall-to-wall "Evil Israeli Occupation BabyKillers" over there. The OWS crowd is coming out in full force to.

    I'll say this – the firm alliance between the hard left secular-progressives and the hardline Islamic terrorist factions we see in modern left-media sometimes make me wonder about that whole "powers and principalities" thing.

  3. Excellent points Peter, but I think it's ALSO a pointed statement to the US that they WILL carry out the actions they believe they need to do to survive, and we'll find out on youtube…

  4. Israel gave BO every chance to pony up, which he failed to do. What they said in effect was, we'll do it without you, but we'll do it. We CANNOT wait. Kudos, Israel. The sad part is that the vote was 2:1 for the troll over here, and 2:1 against over there. Now why is that? Because over there is where the stark truth is, not here. Fantasy rules in Hollywood.

  5. On one hand, I applaud Israel's tactics on this; that it plays terribly in the West is perhaps a recognition of the current state of affairs.
    And yet…well, a further blur of the virtual and the real, which will be used for the titillation of the jaded…it chills me.

  6. Muslim Palestinians: random unguided rocket attacks, suicide bombings targeting civilians, human shields.

    Israeli Jews: pin-point attacks targeting attackers and decision-makers, minimum collateral damage, taking casualties while trying to avoid killing those human shields.

    Yep, Islam good, Judaism bad!

  7. Battles and other military activities ('assassinations'??) have been filmed by militaries around the world as a matter of routine since WWII. You know that, so I'm surprised at your surprise. Is your argument with making these film public in a timely manner?

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