Online Activism: Palestine Solidarity Movement
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Abu-Ayyash, S 2013, ‘Online Activism: Palestine Solidarity Movement’, paper presented at the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association ‘MeCCSA’ conference, Derry, 9-11 January.

Abu-Ayyash, S 2013, ‘Online Activism: Palestine Solidarity Movement’, paper presented at the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association ‘MeCCSA’ conference, Derry, 9-11 January.

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  • 1. MeCCSA 2013 PGN Panel: “Social Movements” Online ActivismPalestine Solidarity Movement National University of Ireland, Galway Shadi Abu-Ayyash 10-1-2013
  • 2. ISMThe Palestine solidarity movement is made up of internationalgroups and societies that are active in supporting the Palestinianpeople rights of freedom and self-determination and opposing theIsraeli occupation. The International Solidarity Movement (ISM),which is a major global movement defines it self as “a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli apartheid inPalestine by using nonviolent, direct-action methods andprinciples…. It aims to support and strengthen the Palestinianpopular resistance by providing the Palestinian people with tworesources, international solidarity and an international voice withwhich to nonviolently resist an overwhelming military occupationforce.”The solidarity societies, groups and campaigns that are widelyspread around the globe are created on local and national levels;including on-campus.
  • 3. CampaignsThe work of the solidarity groups could be classified under two levels:1) On-going campaigns that focus on- Raising awareness of the Palestinian cause (online websites, socialmedia, on ground activities, stalls)- Organising visits to Palestine- Supporting the BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel)campaign- Lobbying media, politicians and decision makers in favour of thePalestinian people rights2) Responding to major incidents occur in Palestine (such as recent attackon Gaza, Palestinian prisoners hunger strike)- Organising demonstrations and protests- Contacting local media and MPs- Galvanising online campaigns through social media sites
  • 4. Study Case:Pro-Palestine Groups Activity on Facebook & Twitter During Attack on Gaza/Operation Pillar of Cloud 14-22 November 2012
  • 5. QuestionsExamining patterns of online activities in particular type of materialsposted on Facebook pages and Twitter accounts during the selected timeframe:- Nature of content- Similarities and differences between local and regional groups- Number of posts related to on-ground /offline activities- Priorities of the pro-Palestine groups during crisis
  • 6. Data Collection• Data were extracted from the selected groups’ Facebook pages and twitter accounts using Nvivo software• Content posted between 13th to 23rd November 2012• Materials posted only by the group admins were analysed , excluding other content posted by group members/pages fans• Studied groups are local, national and university based groups• Non-active groups online were excluded form the analysis• FB posts were classified into several categories• Analysis of Twitter accounts is based related hashtags tweeted Off Campus On CampusIreland 3 0England 3 0Northern Ireland 1 1Scotland 0 2
  • 7. Ireland Based Groups Activity on Facebook1) Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC): HQ in Dublin, has branches in mostIrish cities; active in organising protests, cultural activities, lobbying and BDScampaigns- content related to the attack and Gaza news were the top two subjects- The group on-ground/offline activities related materials came on 3rd and 4th places(including the group branches activities)
  • 8. Ireland Groups cont.2) Act for Palestine: Small group, but active in organising constant protests in Dublin- Top content were related to the attack news;- Group and similar groups activities, mainly protests, took the next place
  • 9. Ireland Groups cont. 3) Sadaka - the Ireland Palestine Alliance: The Dublin based organisation focuses onlobbying politicians and NGOs; active in issuing reports - Low activity on the group page on Facebook during the war - The few posts were about news from Gaza - Has not posted content related to its activities
  • 10. Northern Ireland Groups on FB1) Derry/Irish Friends of Palestine: Most active group in Northern Ireland; constantlyupdating it s Facebook page content with materials related to its on-ground activities,mainly its members’ visits to Gaza.- Vast number of posts were news from Gaza and the war news update, compared tofew on-ground activities related news
  • 11. Northern Ireland Groups cont.2) University of Ulster Palestine Solidarity Society: Relatively newly formed group- Shows limited activity online, in particular on its FB page- Lobbying MPs comes in the second rank
  • 12. England Based Groups on FB1) The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC): the London based group, is active on thenational level in lobbying decision makers and organising grass roots activities- Almost all of the content posted on the group page related to the war on Gaza- The group local activities, including announcements and the actual activities news took the second place- News about England based protests in solidarity with Palestine and “sister” groups news ranked on the 3rd place
  • 13. England Groups cont.2) Leeds Palestine Campaign: Leeds based solidarity group with Palestine, oftencoordinates its on ground activities with the Leeds University based group.- Active FB page compared to other national and regional groups- Similar to other groups in terms of posting about the war and Gaza news- Significant number of its all posts on FB page were related to media advocacy, and media lobbying campaigns
  • 14. England Groups cont.3) Liverpool Friends of Palestine• Similar to Leeds group in terms of focusing on Gaza news and local media advocacy, although less number of posts
  • 15. Scotland Based Groups on FB 1) Glasgow University Palestine Society: One of the most active Scottish groups; a lotof its on-ground activities are carried on the streets of Glasgow city- Relatively small number of posts during the war time- Shares similar groups activities on its FB page- Uses the page to announce internal activates such as the group meetings
  • 16. Scotland Groups cont.2) Students for Palestinian Rights (Caledonian University): Glasgow based group;carries out a lot of shared activities with other Scottish universities groups.- On-ground activities, in particular demonstrations organising and news comes on thesecond place after the war related posts
  • 17. The Bigger Picture• Although groups differ from each others priorities, most of their FB pages were focusing first on news coming from Gaza followed by the groups local activities, adverting other groups activities, and less focus on lobbying media and decision makers. 9 6 25 Lobbying Media & MPs On-Ground Activities (meetings & protests) Palestine (Gaza) News Other Regular Campaigns (BDS, Settlements) 92
  • 18. Ireland groups and Twitter #hashtags1) Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (@ipsc48)- Mostly tweeted about the war using the hashtags, Gaza and GazaUnderAttack trending tweets- Mentioning and tweeting Irish cities names indicates announcements of and news about local on-ground activities
  • 19. Ireland groups and Twitter #hashtags cont.2) Act for Palestine (@ActForPalestine)- Similar to IPSC in terms of using Gaza and GazaUnderAttack the most- Tweets about on-ground activities focused on Dublin as a primary place for the group activities
  • 20. Northern Ireland groups and Twitter #hashtagsIrish/Derry Friends of Palestine (@IrishPalestine)- Low volume of activity on Twitter during the study frame time- GazaUnderAttack along with local related tweets were on same level of focus
  • 21. England groups and Twitter #hashtags1) Kent University Palestine Society @KentPalSoc- GazaUnderAttack was used massively compared to other trending hashtags
  • 22. England groups & Twitter #hashtags cont.2) Labour Friends of Palestine (@lfpme)- Gaza tweets were first (29 times), followed by BBC Question Time (bbcqt)
  • 23. Scotland groups & Twitter #hashtags• Although, Scottish activists were using twitter during the war to tweet about events in Gaza, studied groups twitter accounts administrators, have not been so active.• Could be tweeting through their personal accounts• More effort dedicated to Facebook or other social media sites
  • 24. Gaza News vs. Local Activities News160 140140120100 Gaza news related tweets80 67 Tweeting about local events Other solidarity campaigns & activities604020 14 13 15 8 4 2 0 Ireland Northern Ireland England
  • 25. In other words…1. FB & Twitter sites are used mainly for sharing news about the central point (Palestine/Gaza)2. Second priority is announcing local events, sharing other groups activities3. Similar language (attack, occupation, solidarity)4. Major/National level working groups is much more active online5. The smaller the group, the more it shows interest in organising demos within its local area6. Level of effort put on lobbying decision makers and local media advocacy is less than other areas of work7. No sign for organising online campaigns8. The online activity level/volume of materials posted, does not always represent the effort carried out offline/on-ground9. The mission and organisational nature of the groups decide their work priorities; towards focusing on decision makers lobbying or on streets demonstrations organising
  • 26. Thank You Shadi Abu-AyyashHuston School of Film & Digital Media,NUI Galwayshadi.abu-ayyash@nuigalway.ie @shadi3000