“This is going to sound insane,” Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett introduces during a social media message on Iran published Saturday. He explains that Iran blocked internet access after mass anti-government and economic grievance-driven protests spread to some 100 cities over the past weeks.
“Most social media sites in Iran are still banned as we speak,” he notes, while also describing a typical young Iranian’s frustration at being prevented from logging in. He then calls for all programmers and techies to unite for a “worldwide hackathon” to free the Iranians from their regime-imposed internet ban.
“So, here is a crazy idea. How about every techie in the world — Israelis, Arabs, Iranians, Americans, Europeans and everyone else unite for one purpose: to help the long-suffering Iranian people gain open access to all social media. A worldwide hackathon for freedom,” Bennet says.
— Anna Ahronheim (@AAhronheim) November 30, 2019
It’s among the more bizarre tactics over the years involving Israeli attempts to make a ‘hip’ appeal to the Iranian public to rise up against their government, which has also lately included the Israeli Embassy in the US using “Frozen 2” movie images to “remind people that the Iranian regime has frozen 80 million Iranians from the internet for a whole week.”
“Elsa has a message for the regime in Teheran – Let It Go!” the unusual appeal posted to Twitter reads.
Thus it appears Tel Aviv is hoping some kind of home-grown revolution can topple the power of the Ayatollahs using crude Disney movie-themed propaganda.
With #Frozen2 coming out today it is a good time to remind people that the #Iranian regime has frozen 80 million Iranians from the #internet for a whole week. #Elsa has a message for the regime in #Teheran – Let It Go! pic.twitter.com/nVclkxvJop
— Embassy of Israel (@IsraelinUSA) November 22, 2019
Defense Minister Bennett’s social media video also has a youthful and progressive sounding ‘rise up for regime change’ vibe to it. Making a global appeal, he says everyone “has a role to play” whether a senior IT engineer at an AI startup or merely someone “tinkering” in their own garage.
“Call up your most brilliant friends, grab some Red Bull and code through the night to do the impossible,” he urges, with his words also appearing in Farsi on the screen.
So far the social media reaction appears to be one of widespread mockery at the comic appearance and strangeness of the appeals. Likely few if any actual young Iranians believe that Tehran’s arch-enemy Israel is on the side of ‘the people’ and cares about their fate and future prospects for democracy.
The Jerusalem Post in a new report has also noted that inside Iran, Israel’s new Defense Minister Naftali Bennett is openly mocked on TV and social media as the “Zionist minister of war”.