During the Israeli attacks on Palestine earlier this year, I was in Indonesia. I was struck by both media coverage and discussions with students about the conflict. At that time, I co-authored a paper with Mark Woodward which analyzed Indonesian press claims that the Israelis used “Nuclear Weapons.” To Western readers these reports appear to be wildly inaccurate, but they reveal local interpretive strategies that bring order to a complex body of information concerning the conflict. The coverage analyzed here evokes the shared Jewish, Christian and Muslim narrative of David and Goliath, and is an example of demonization that is common in such conflicts. Such narratives construct reality for local populations regardless of whether they are literally true. It has been published, in pdf format, by the Consortium for Strategic Communication here.

Ron Lukens-Bull