The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

Jared Cohen: Tweeting with the Enemy

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The Jewish Daily Forward has chosen Jared Cohen for this year’s Forward 50, “an impressionist picture of the American Jewish story during a given year”:

Cohen’s first endeavor with Google Ideas embodied the formula he has used for investigating intractable world problems since his days as an Oxford University graduate student: Eschew official sources and get the story from the grass roots; think in broad, unencumbered strokes and harness technology to effect change. Cohen deployed these techniques as a U.S. State Department staffer in 2009, getting into hot water with the Obama administration when he asked Twitter to delay its scheduled maintenance and keep its site live for Iran’s tweeting revolutionaries.

Cohen makes it a point to text and tweet teens in the Middle East, especially those from countries with chilly relationships with Israel: Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Cohen visited those countries as he was researching his book, “Children of Jihad: A Young American’s Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East.” His book takes note of how young Arabs are using technology to communicate with one another and with the outside world, beyond the watchful eyes of government officials — a narrative that seemed to presage the Arab Spring.

Indeed. Cohen also had the foresight to arrive in Cairo just in time to tweet the anti-Mubarak protests.

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

November 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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