Is it an accident that today’s Internet is being heralded (and condemned) as a Jewish invention? In contrast to the Internet in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s—built by veterans of the top-down, systems-oriented hardware and information technology businesses—the new Web is a paradise for commentary, an elastic and amorphous collection of like-minded people bound together by shared and self-selected affinities and a global search for kinship and knowledge. Decentralized, diasporic, and sustaining what author Benedict Anderson has called “imagined communities” across national and ethnic divides, the complex architecture of social networking sites and search engines reflects and transmits a deep-seated affinity with what might be called the Jewish Basic Operating System (JBOS). And this merry-go-round of social networks, viral YouTube videos, and chains of conspiratorial misinformation and debunking—propelled by Jewish-owned companies like Google, Facebook, and Oracle—isn’t just affecting our daily lives; it’s also reshaping our idea of diplomacy, governance, and war—especially in the Middle East.
In this week’s Web Wars! series of articles, Tablet Magazine explores the “Jewishness” of the Web, “messaging” and “counter-messaging” in information warfare, and the capability these new offensive weapons may have to succeed where diplomats and military commanders have so far failed: in halting Iran’s march toward a nuclear bomb.