Visually framing the Gaza War of 2014: The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Twitter

Manor, Ilan and Crilley, Rhys (2018). Visually framing the Gaza War of 2014: The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Twitter. Media, War & Conflict, 11(4) pp. 369–391.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1750635218780564

Abstract

Recent years have seen the migration of Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFAs) to social media in a practice referred to as digital diplomacy. Social media enable MFAs to craft frames so as to influence audiences’ perception of foreign affairs. Such framing is especially relevant during times of war as states seek to legitimize their policies. Notably, given that social media are inherently visual platforms, MFAs are now visual narrators. Few studies to date have extended the reach of framing theory to that of digital diplomacy during conflict. This study addresses this gap by analysing 795 tweets published by the Israeli MFA during the 2014 Gaza War. The authors’ analysis demonstrates that the Israeli MFA crafted 14 linguistic frames that were used to legitimize Israel’s policies. Notably, the MFA used images to support these frames and it is through images that the linguistic frames were made to resonate with Israeli strategic narratives. The authors pay attention to how images published by the Israeli MFA constitute three visual tropes and highlight how images function to augment frames (which focus on the present) to broader narratives that involve the past, present and future. Here, they explore how images invoke the past to illuminate the present and future, and create a shared identity in the context of the Gaza War.

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