Stockholm For Israel: Social Media In Action
by Anna Berg
An idea was born from frustration, anger and sadness. An idea that something needs to be done about the biased news reporting and the general anti-Israeli sentiment in the Swedish media.
We started with an online petition on Facebook and asked people to send in protest letters to the media. We got a huge response (and over 1000 signatures that has been sent out with an official protest letter) and we could see that many more in Sweden felt the same frustration, anger and sadness.
Yet another idea was born – what if we invited people via Facebook to join us in a rally for Israel and against biased news reporting? Would people come? Yes, they did – and this despite -16°C outside and cancelled trains!
We decided to have the rally outside the offices of Aftonbladet in Stockholm – a major newspaper in Sweden that is extremely biased.
On December 9, 2012, the rally came to life with great speeches from Ilya Meyer and Dmitri Vasserman. It was amazing to see all the Israeli flags and people's high spirits outside Aftonbladet. It also felt great that we, four ordinary people, finally got to DO something and bring everyone together.
It was a simple rally but effective and we are already planning another one this spring! I'm so happy and proud that we did this on a very low budget and with no help from big organizations – and all via social media: Facebook and Twitter! Hopefully this will inspire others to do the same!
As Ilya Meyers shared at the rally, "It’s encouraging to see just how much support there is in Stockholm for the only functioning democracy in the entire Middle East – the Jewish state of Israel."
We will never give up. Enough is enough!
With this single effort, we showed ordinary people that everyone can do something, even with a small budget. I'm hoping it will inspire people to take action, to arrange similar events in support for Israel and, most importantly, to be part of the change they want to create in affecting public opinion to be more positive when it comes to Israel!
How do I stay connected to Israel you might ask? Through my many Israeli friends, by taking trips to Israel (at least twice a year) and through media, social media and by being involved in other pro-Israeli organizations and events. Israel is such a wonderful country and I hope that many more will travel to Israel and see for themselves. We all love Israel and we should be proud of this and not afraid to show our love and support - in small or big ways.
Many have given up hope, thinking they can't change anything especially when it comes to the very negative public opinion. The biggest challenge is to make people see that change is possible! If you want to change things you need to be part of the change by taking action!