Saturday, July 2, 2011

(BLOG) Israel vs Gaza On Google Images

NOTICE: This article I submitted won in the quarter-finals of the Pro-Israel blog-off competition.

When we seek information on new technologies, new medical discoveries, economic statistics, social networks and countries of interest who do we turn to? Google of course!

So we open up the Google homepage, enter the search criteria and voilà there it all is displayed to us in a matter of seconds... but how does Google decide which results to display first?

The way that Google determines which results to display first is based on a technology called PageRank... "PageRank is a link analysis algorithm that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of "measuring" its relative importance within the set. The algorithm may be applied to any collection of entities with reciprocal quotations and references." ...Confused?

In simple terms the algorithm determines multiple factors such as the amount of other webpages linking directly to a website in question plus the ranking level of the referring websites... So for instance if 1000 websites link to your website then you will have a high ranking and if a few of those 1000 websites are already ranked highly then your ranking goes up even more which means your pages will be displayed higher up in the list of Google search results... Got it? Ok moving on...

If you run a search for Israel and then for Gaza you will see results from commonly used and high ranking websites such as Wikipedia, NY Times and the BBC... These results will contain links to articles and information regarding the search criteria you insert and is usually fairly balanced in the quality of the results displayed...



But as most people prefer to look 'n' learn from pictures and videos rather than to have to read up about a specific subject - "seeing is believing" - then who do they turn to? Google Images of course!

Google Images works on a similar but simpler system to display their results... It relies on the naming conventions used for the images as well as the content of text displayed around the images on the webpage it appears on, nonetheless also relies on the PageRank system and a few other SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tricks...

By now you are probably wondering why I am explaining all this to you, what the in's and out's of Google search has to do with Israel or Gaza... while it may seem irrelevant, it is in fact an important foundation for what I will explain to you next...

If you did not click the links I posted above that referred to the Google search results comparing between Israel and Gaza then please use these links here as it is important that you see the results that are displayed: Israel | Gaza

When comparing the results of the above links, it is clear that the results displayed seem fairly balanced: each had a Wikipedia link, a Guardian link, NY Times link and a CIA factbook link; however as "seeing is believing", a picture is literally worth a thousand words, a thousand words more than any article of information could ever deliver... especially when the results are visually shocking to us...

Let us see what happens when we run a Google Image search for Israel and Gaza... well we end up with this...
Google Image results for Israel

Click the image to enlarge it...

...and this...

Google Image results for Gaza

Click the image to enlarge it...

It is clearly and visually a whole different impression you now have of Israel and Gaza, for obvious reasons... the shock value!

You will notice that if you scroll down the results of Israel, out of a selection of 13 pages you see nothing more than pictures of Israeli flags, maps of Israel, the Dome of the Rock, some of the major cities and the IDF... Here & there you will see a few out-of-context propaganda pics showing Israel & the IDF as the aggressor as well as some pictures of war, but all in all the impression people have of Israel is as clear-cut as the images of Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Libya portray... it all looks pretty normal considering what is currently taking place in those countries...

So why then do search results for Gaza make it look like a complete war-zone full of the 3-d's namely death, destruction and disease?

Well the answer is really simple! The more websites, news sites, blogs and forums, that are of high ranking on Google, which post articles with images of Gaza in the context of war only, the more the results of Gaza appear as shown in the image posted above... While it is important that news agencies and activist bloggers want to and should show the world what takes place in Gaza, like any other place, the major problem is the fact that they only report on and show the negative situations that take place, which therefore creates only a negative impression of the subject at hand... The same goes for image results of Iraq... if I was educated by Google Images then Iraq would seem like a country full of American soldiers along with death and destruction only...

I am 100% sure that if every Pro-Israel website out there, be it news sites, forums and blogs, had to excessively display the images of the destructive force of Palestinian terrorism during the 1st and 2nd Intifada's and thereafter, that the standard image results of Israel would look something along the lines of this... not a pretty picture of Israel at all... I doubt any tourist would want to risk visiting such a "war-zone" and I am sure that almost every humanitarian/peace activist of the world would be flocking to Israel to save us from this destruction... but as it seems we are not in the business of lies, distorted truths and propaganda so we always fall short in the media game...

Now you could be asking yourself, but what if the images of Gaza shown in the results of Google Image search are actually the only images of Gaza due to it really being in a complete war-zone? This would be a fair assumption and question to ask yourself but if you are like me then you would use your common sense and dig deeper to find out more about Gaza instead of taking it at face value like a large amount of people clearly do...

Once you dig deeper you will find that Gaza is nowhere near to being a war-zone, holocaust or open air prison and that Israel's level of "brutality" is pale in comparison to the Arab world...



While researching, keep in mind that the Gaza-strip is only 360 square km's versus Israel being 20,700 square km's, its borders with Egypt and Israel total 62km's and Gaza City itself is only 45 square km's which means that from a low height one can pretty much see the whole of Gaza. So logically if Gaza was truly a complete war-zone then it would only take one aerial photograph to show Gaza in total ruins...if it were true... but from the research I and many others have done regarding whether Gaza is in fact a complete war-zone, it turns out that it is completely untrue... you will see more below.

If, based on the Google results of what Gaza looks like as a whole were true, then how would it be possible that such up-to-date images of Gaza exist like the one's below? Surely you would see at least some destruction in these images below, after all Google has shown us what Gaza "really" looks like, right?

Note that almost none of the images below, including the 5 albums of images I have uploaded of Gaza, were found by searching Google Images at all...

As you can see below, Gaza is as normal looking as any other place on the planet...

Click the images to enlarge...

Now let's perform a comparison between Israel and Gaza, does it really look that much different when put into context? The left column shows Gaza and the right shows Israel...


This shows that one should not educate oneself by using Google, Youtube or Wikipedia alone, like so many do... I spend much time discussing the Israel/Gaza situation on various different forums & social network sites and a large majority of opposing arguments rely solely on the use of out-of-context imagery/videos as their source of knowledge regarding what Gaza is like, the same out-of-context imagery that people obtain from Google Images... This tells me one thing, that these people who argue against Israel are seriously lacking in a complete picture of what Gaza is like and their entire argument is therefore based on their own out-of-context impression that Gaza is a complete catastrophe "all thanks to Israel"... A lot more attention to detail and solid information is required in order to determine facts and realities...

Based on all of this, it is understandable why so many people find it so easy to condemn Israel and to blindly support the Palestinians purely from the things they see and not from the things they know... We face a serious problem when people across the world are educating themselves with only the use of Google Image search to learn about Gaza, all thanks to Pro-Palestinians only showing negative imagery of Gaza in blog posts and news sites while Pro-Israelis show balanced imagery of Gaza, but obviously not enough of it as it seems...

Our honesty, lust for life and refusal to publicize or parade the dead around makes us always fall short when up against the media whores but I honestly wouldn't trade any of that for the world and neither should any other Israeli or Jew...Am Yisrael Chai!

If you liked this article then please vote for it in the Israellycool Pro-Israel Blog-Off Competition - Click Here To Vote



To see more positive imagery of Gaza, feel free to peruse through these albums that Google Image search will not display to you so easily... there will be many more albums to come...

Album 1
Album 2
Album 3
Album 4
Album 5








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