It’s no secret that US and Israeli relations are at their lowest point in decades. This is for a variety of reasons, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, allegations of Israeli spying on the United States, and most recently, Israeli objections to a United States foreign policy agreement with Iran
This dispute has just turned into a social media fight, with the United States trolling Israel on Twitter, only to have Israel return the favor. The Twitter spat started with this tweet about their agreement with Iran:
The bomb image is a clear reference to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the United Nations, in which he discussed Iranian efforts to develop a nuclear weapon, complete with a diagram:
You’ll notice that the bomb images in the White House’s tweet and Netanyahu’s diagram are virtually identical. In discussing the two countries differences over the agreement, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said:
“Prime Minister Netanyahu has issued very strong criticisms of this deal. That’s entirely his right, but we are also going to issue strong defenses of this deal. It would make no sense for us to essentially not make our case.”
That tweet was last week. Then, earlier this week, Israel returned fire when their US Embassy tweeted:
That report is a State Department document which noted that Iran was added to the list of countries that sponsor terrorism in 1984.
So, on the whole, we have two major world powers acting like angry 8th graders and subtweeting each other. Awesome.
In all seriousness, what is fascinating about this incident is that Twitter is being utilized as part of diplomatic relations – for better or for worse – between two countries. It is simply remarkable that we have reached this point in social media and foreign policy history.