This chapter provides the historical and theoretical parameters of the book, defining the term "digital militarism" and outlining the ways it has changed during the first two decades of the twenty-first century. It sketches the relationship between the changing Israeli political playfield of these years and the growth of the national culture in social networking and digital literacy. Through a focus on the Instagram accounts of Israeli soldiers during Israel's 2012 assault on the Gaza Strip, the chapter studies the ordinary ways that patriotic militarism can be translated into social media grammars (e.g., selfies, hashtags, "likes").
This chapter traces the growth of digital militarism in the first two decades of the twenty-first century, chiefly the ways that social media have been incorporated into the toolbox of the Israeli state during times of war and military operations in the occupied Palestinian territories. It focuses on the use of social media by numerous Israeli and pro-Israeli actors – civilians and military users – during two Israeli military assaults on the Gaza Strip (2008-9 and 2012), and during the Flotilla affair of 2010. The chapter also traces the rise of personalized militarism by means of social media and the ways it functions to obscure and excuse Israeli violence.
This chapter focuses on a landmark case in the history of digital militarism: the 2010 exposure of a Facebook album of former Israeli soldier Eden Abergil, containing her joyful self-portraits with bound and blindfolded Palestinian detainees. The chapter traces the social life of this scandal, with a focus on the varying strategies used by Israeli publics to manage the event's dangerous virality by turning away from matters of military occupation onto questions of social media.
This chapter studies the digital doctoring charges that proliferated on Israeli social networks during the 2012 Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip. Israeli social media users took aim at images of Palestinian dead and injured, using digital forensics and everyday modes of what we term "digital suspicion" to assert forgery claims. This is a study of the ways that Israeli and pro-Israeli social media users have employed doctoring charges as a tool of digital militarism. This study is framed within the much longer history of Israeli suspicion of Palestinian political claims and associated evidence.
The book's final chapter reflects on the development of Israeli digital militarism from 2008 to 2014, tracking key shifts in this formulation. It focuses on the changing ways that soldiers have used selfies—the popular genre of mobile self-portraiture, images shared on photo-sharing platforms such as Instagram—to document their experience of life in the Israeli armed forces. The chapter proposes that digital militarism began as an aberrant phenomenon, the activity of marginalized Israeli youth, and has since become an ordinary Israeli practice, an everyday way of living with and representing Israeli military rule.