War sporno: How the Israeli army uses sex and Instagram to sell its racism and violence

Note: This post contains discussion of obscenity and images which include partial nudity.

Nisim asis 22 year’s old. Jerusalem-Israel.. I like dead Palestinian ppl :-)

Meet Nisim Asis. Until 23 December — when I discovered him — that was his profile on the image-sharing service Instagram.

According to his Facebook profile, Asis is a 22-year-old Israeli soldier who lives in the occupied West Bank settlement of Beit El.

Since then, he has changed his bio and his name and hidden or deleted some of his comments, but not before I captured them.

One image on his profile is a drawing of a pig wearing a Palestinian headdress standing on a Koran. On 23 December, the description Asis gave for this image was “Arab is fucking pig!!! Muhammad is fucking gay!” One user who commented in English said “Youre very mature” to which Asis replied “Shut up you fucking Arab.”

Image captured from Nisim Asis’ Instagram profile. See full size.

Another image shows Asis licking the end of a knife. His caption is “Fuck all Arabs their blood is tasty.”

Image captured from Nisim Asis’ Instagram profile. See full size.

One image shows Asis in an Israeli military uniform with insignias that identify him as a Sergeant First Class or Staff Sergeant.

Most of the other photos on his Instagram profile are probably typical for many Israeli young men: Asis with his friends, Asis on vacation in Paris, Asis working at an Israeli military base, and Asis posing mostly naked wearing only some pieces of his military uniform.

Nisim Asis poses wearing some of his military uniform. (Source)

Israel’s use of Instagram for propaganda

In September 2012, the Israeli army announced that it would begin using Instagram as part of its propaganda operations.

During “Operation Pillar of Defense,” Israel’s eight-day bombing campaign on Gaza in November, which killed more than 170 Palestinians, including three dozen children, the Instagram outlet was exploited to disseminate photos of soldiers and square infographics specially formatted for Instagram.

Major media outlets including BuzzFeed, MSN, and CBC published photos from individual soldiers’ accounts which were ostensibly personal.

In the past, the Israeli army has regulated soldiers’ use of social media when soldiers’ posts exposed military secrets, embarrassed the army or hinted at abuses and crimes.

Using sex to sell Israel

Israel has in the past used sexuality to promote itself to western publics. For example, in 2007, Israel worked with men’s magazine Maxim to develop a photo feature titled “Women of the Israeli Defense Forces.” The BBC reported:

Israel has decided to reach out to young US men by publishing images of semi-clad female former soldiers in US men’s magazine, Maxim.

The pictures are part of a public relations drive to improve the image of the country within the US.

Maxim said it was “pleased” with the result of its collaboration with the Israeli consulate in New York, which came up with the idea.

In recent years, Israel and the Tel Aviv municipality have specifically promoted Israel as a destination for gay male sex tourism. The work of right-wing extremist Islamophobic pornographic filmmaker Michael Lucas has turned Israeli soldiers into an attraction for gay tourists while Omer Gershon — the gay flotilla hoaxer and hasbara activist — has said that tourists find Israeli men “very exotic.”


Nisim Asis is far from the only Israeli soldier whose nude adventures can be found on social media. There’s plenty of evidence that using sexuality is part of the official propaganda operation of Israel.

Given the Israeli army’s efforts to police soldiers’ social media usage, how should we interpret social media posts from ordinary soldiers that eroticize militaristic imagery?

Sporno is a term defined by British writer Mark Simpson:

Sporno [is] the post-metrosexual aesthetic that sports and advertising are using to sell us the male body…

According to Simpson, we encounter “sporno” when we see increasingly pervasive images of athletes, such as David Beckham, in sexual poses to sell products like perfume or underwear. Simpson also noted the number of media features in the run up to the 2012 London Olympics that presented athletes in spornographic poses.

I’m going to expand this definition to include the Israeli army’s “war sporno,” which is the use of male and female bodies to eroticize the military, to displace violence against Palestinians, to encourage Western publics to identify with Israeli soldiers, and to identify Israeli soldiers with these pervasive and attractive advertising images of the human body.

In some cases, the effort to obscure violence against Palestinians fails because the same soldiers — such as Nisim Asis — freely post their hatred and lust for violence and killing.

Asis, while wittingly or unwittingly producing war sporno, has definitely missed the point by openly announcing his taste for Arab blood.

I found most of these images by searching the #idf tag on Instagram. For all of these photos, the soldier who owns the account is either the photographer or the subject of the photo.




First of all, you should change the website so when people click on "comment policy" it opens in a new tab or window. I wrote a thoughtful comment that is now lost thanks to this oversight.

Second. You score an own goal by giving platform to 17 pictures of sexy and fun Israeli soldiers - and even include links for interested readers to find more. Instead of drawing attention to the banal and insidious nature of Israeli propaganda, you just help them disseminate it. You will definitely receive many site visits thanks to this. But they will not be from people with whom I have shared this article, because I won't share it at all.


In my view, those pictures were gross. Some of them, specially that of the "Arab blood", give off the impression that the people being pictured suffer from some disturbance, perhaps not psychological but certainly moral. The conflation of blood and sex is also stomach-turning. But perhaps to some, making jokes about dead Arabs is funny, endearing or sexy.


You are obviously not Israel's target audience. This is not about me or you. Never forget just how superficial are the societies we inhabit. Israel's attempted Instagram campaign demonstrates their understanding of this. EI's use of 17 photos to make their - ostensibly anti-Zionist - point also demonstrates their understanding of this.


But a lot of people even in USA and even Jewish are starting to be fed up with Zionism and its cult of blood porno.

So, stop pretending that EI is "ostensibly anti-Zionist" - they are anti-Zionist, and the some pictures they post were removed by IOF "heroes". It means IOF is NOT so happy with a lot of people seeing them as they are - rabid racists and brainless bodies.


First, for the record, I never said EI is "ostensibly anti-ZIonist." I said EI's "point" about Israel's Instagram campaign is "ostensibly anti-Zionist" (but functionally pro-Zionist, through it's free dissemination Israeli propaganda materials in making that point).

Second, it is a non-sequitur to jump from "some Jewish Americans are starting to be fed up with Zionism" to "Therefore EI is anti-Zionist." If you are trying to prove EI's anti-Zionist credentials (and "why?" would be my first reaction to anyone attempting to do so) then you fail because your argument makes no sense.


Ramzy Nasr. Without ANY reservation that it is supposedly "sexy and fun" only for Zionist readers. I.e. RN himself sees IOF stupid bloodsuckers as "sexy and fun". II have no more time to person with such views.

I suppose RM has nothing better to do than write how the piece unmasking IOF PR is all about "sexy and fun Israeli soldiers". IOF occupator was NOT happy with his stupid pictures made well-known, he hid them. But RM still goes on ....

One more time, there were persons who saw Nazis as "sexy and fun", even under the gallows with the body of the anti-Nazi resister.


Are you well? Did you look at the pictures? There is no blood, let alone bloodsucking, in any of the pictures. They depict partially or totally naked soldiers jumping in water, kissing, smiling and goofing around. Without the context provided by EI - or an Instagram feed - one would, in most cases, be hard pressed to even prove the photo subjects are Israeli. Your use of all caps; sensational language; non sequiturs (that some of the soldiers have since changed their privacy settings does not prove anything); personal attacks against me; and quick resort to Nazi analogies ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G... ) - all this suggests that you may not be fit to participate in reasoned, civilised discourse.


I fail to see what your point is. And if this is really aimed at Israelis, then the IDF is more short-sighted than I thought. Do you really think Israelis need more reason to worship the army?


If you think these were "sexy and fun" you have a serious problem. Linking sex and violence is disgusting and perverse and the pictures needed to be included.


Your ad hominem response is not very interesting, both to the degree that it is reactionary and how it completely misses the point. You are obviously not Israel's target audience. This is not about me or you. If you think sexism, racism, and short attention spans - and the normalisation violence in conjunction with those phenomenon - are not endemic within the societies targeted by Israel's Instagram campaign, well, then you live in a parallel universe.


Very well said. Dont peovide a platform for zionists by showing their images. We know u r enthusiastic abt journalist work but publishing these photos shows immaturity on ur side.
Hope you learn from this and become better bcuz your message is vry important and much needed. Good luck


I wrote this post because I wanted to make people — especially in the Palestine solidarity community — aware of a tactic that is being used with increasing frequency by Israel. It is possible that some people who find this post will be positively impressed by these images, but I don’t think that will be the majority of EI readers, especially when they are juxtaposed with the horrifying racist comments that accompanied some of them and when placed in the context of the broader Israeli propaganda efforts using “sex” to sell.

It was simply not possible to expose these Israeli tactics without including the images. I was very selective in choosing images that were representative and diverse, but there are many others that I did not include. On balance, I think that informing the community about how such imagery is used justifies including them and far outweighs any possible “positive” value.


is better confronted head on. So thanks for exposing it.


You are stalking Israeli soldiers and claiming that their "sexy pictures" are somehow all part of a concerted campaign by the Israeli military to shore up Western support for its cause. Next, for contrast, I expect you would show how Palestinian militants exploit the Quran and Islam in general to shore up support for their strategic purpose. I'm looking forward to it.


Those pictures certainly reflect a public image that Israel has actively attempted to project.

And both sides use religion to promote their goals. After all, Israel's IDF clearly works in close collaboration with the right wing settler movement, supporting their primary goal to "re-create" a mythologized Hebrew paradise on top of the Palestinians.


jeorge enoughie, shame you not open enough to use your own name.
would you know a militant from anybody else? or do class all palestinians the same?
both sides of the debate do daft things from time to time, but lets be straight about this, the pics are in very bad taste and show the young man to be rather a weirdo, it shows the young man in a very bad way and by that the army.


seems to me much more perverted and weird than any picture that guy puts on the internet.

I don't class all Palestinians the same, but I know that the vast majority of Palestinians (over 80%) prefer to continue the conflict until the destruction of Israel over living in an independent state in peace with Israel. And that, quite frankly, says it all.


they are NOT 'stalked", they posted their own stupid images of their own trying to boost IOF image. When they were busted, they removed the evidence of their lust for Palestinian blood.

And Israel is a settler colony on Palestine land. WHY should victims of colonialism be nice to their killers, who rob them of their land and then demand the natives be happy with some "independent" banstustan?

But of course, Zionists just unable to see Palestinians as human beings with rights, and not as just obstacles for their robbery of natives' land.


hi jeorge, problem is though that most palestinians know that israel does not want a free palestinian state. Where do you get your 80% figers from? I dont want to argue with you ,and i respect your right to your point of veiw. but its a good debate. i find that many people who are against israelie policy are classed wrongly as anti jewish, myself i dont care a hoot what religion israel is, or any other state for that matter.
It is what israel does thats what i am strongly against. thay always find a way to always do something that they know will lead to conflict.


It is NOT about "very bad taste" - it is about the colonial Zionist army, and Palestinians are NOT colonizers. Try to process it and see that it is the same as USA troops posting with severed heads of non-white people whose land they come to colonize.


IOF could use any mean to PR and still remind colonialist war criminals. And IOF not "stalking" Palestinians, but murder them, including in their beds, in schools and on the football fields, including children. IOF also torture, rob and humiliate Palestinians.And the article is NOT about "stalking" poor little IOF soldiers, it is about them bragging openly about their racism and their stupidity.

And Palestinian resistance (whom Zionists call "militants")could use ANY argument to defend their case, because their case is the rightful one - the anti-colonial liberation. If they use religion, it is their right, but they often stress that it is NOT about religion, but about Zionist colonisation.


Context takes the wind out of it.

It needs to be seen to be understood.

If a few idiots jerk to it. They would have anyway.

Idiots shoot themselves by being purists. Less constipation more demonstration will lead to less frustration and more education.


OK, i've read all the comments and what i'm left with is that the israeli military is trying to sell genocide of the Palestinian indigenous people using sexual imagery. in my view,reveling in racism and white supremacy while they have the upper hand will only last for a while. the Palestinian people have always resisted and no doubt one day it is they who will have the upper hand.