Some social media campaigns are just destined to backfire.
In 2014, #MyNYPD set off a scorching storm of criticism and sarcasm, instead of stories of positive police encounters, in the wake of all the police shootings that year. #BringBackOurGirls by first lady Michelle Obama went horribly wrong on Twitter when people reminded her of the children killed as a result of President Barack Obama’s drone attacks in South Asia.
So, when Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Twitter to ask him questions, it was more or less expected the PR stunt would backfire spectacularly — and it did.
The live Q&A with the Israeli prime minister was set to take place at 3:30 p.m. local time on Thursday, May 12, to mark the occasion of Israel’s Independence Day.
However, a few hours into #AskNetanyahu, social media users inundated the hashtag with questions about alleged corruption involving the Israeli leader as well as accusations of committing war crimes during the military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
#AskNetanyahu— joel rayner (@joe_n1nety) May 10, 2016
Do you realise how you've trivialised antisemitism into a gross version of the 'Boy who cried wolf'?
which war crime is your favorite hobby? #AskNetanyahu— Ramah Kudaimi (@ramahkudaimi) May 10, 2016
The PR campaign comes at a time when the international community is criticizing Netanyahu’s decision to expand illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank as well as the Israeli military’s use of excessive force against alleged Palestinian attackers, especially minors. Naturally, a lot of people pointed that out:
Why do you support freedom and dignity for Jews, but not Palestinians? #AskNetanyahu— IfNotNow (@IfNotNowOrg) May 10, 2016
“Tough questions aren’t a reason not to engage people. The prime minister is looking forward to engaging the public and spreading the truth in new mediums,” said David Keyes, Netanyahu’s spokesperson. “This is an opportunity for normal people to ask whatever they want of the prime minister of Israel. It’s opportunity to engage and challenge him in a respectful way. Such engagement is exciting and refreshing for the leader of a country.”
If that's the case then Netanyahu should definitely ask all the questions asked above, as most of them are based on true reports and posed in a very respectful manner.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Ronen Zvulun