Journal of Social and Political
ISSN 2615-3718 (Online)
ISSN 2621-5675 (Print)
Published: 23 September 2019
Social Media and New Politics in the Middle East
Holon Institute of Technology, Israel
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Keywords: Arab Spring, Social Justice, Facebook Twitter, Uprising
Social media determined dramatic changes in the balance of political power in the Arab world and in Israel. In the new politics of the Middle East the political environment and the communications between people are different then what used to be before 2011. Two major civil demonstrations – the Arab Spring and the Israeli Social Justice movement - were motivated by the masses through social media and received tremendous media coverage. The revolutions proved that the internet is truly a powerful tool that changed the world in ways that no government can stop social movements. The research finds similarities between the uprisings in the Arab world and in Israel, which created a new environment of "new politics." The uprisings that began on Facebook, and Twitter changed the way societies function and caused governments to change old policies. Despite the long-lasting conflict in the Middle East, involving the Palestinian issue, which traditionally occupied governments and public agenda, the uprisings raised social and economic issues. The events started with isolated acts of young people through social media and brought together people from all walks of life and across all political spectrums. The legitimacy of the protest to be considered as social revolution came only after the media started live transmissions – global media of the Arab Spring and Israel's national media services of the Social Justice movement. This proves the crucial role of traditional media, since only after the social media revolution was accepted by the media, a new reality could be created, in which the public rather than governments and social media and not the traditional media are dictating public agenda and enforcing political changes.
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