conflict & communication online, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2011
ISSN 1618-0747




Elie Friedman
Talking back in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Rational dialogue or emotional shouting match?

The Internet has facilitated a broad global conversation among citizens, enabling cross-cultural dialogue on a range of issues, in particular through Web 2.0 tools. This study analyzes the nature of the talkback discourse on news web sites within the framework of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The study's findings demonstrated that several talkback writers engage in rational-critical discussion of issues essential to the conflict, although they often use rational arguments to de-legitimize conflicting opinions. Talkback dialogue is characterized by engaged discussion, though the majority of respondents engage in dialogue with the article, rather than with other talkback writers. The findings showed that talkback discourse enables a lively, eclectic, and inclusive version of a public sphere, which facilitates the exchange of heterogeneous opinions, though favoring exhibitionism over engagement.


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On the author:
Elie Friedman is a doctoral candidate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in the Department of Communication and Journalism. He completed his MA degree with high distinction in 2009, at Bar-Ilan University in the Political Studies Department. He is a research associate at the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue, Netanya Academic College. His current interests include discourse analysis of the Middle East conflict and New Media.

Address: S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue, Netanya Academic College, 1 University St., Netanya, 42365, Israel.