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Defense of a Master’s Thesis by Ahlam Abdullah in the Contemporary Public Relations Program

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Researcher Ahlam Ibrahim Abdullah, a student in the Master’s program in Contemporary Public Relations, has defended her thesis titled “Religious Diplomacy: Framing Israeli Propaganda for the Abraham Accords via Social Media Platforms.”

This study aimed to identify how Israel frames the Abraham Accords religiously through its digital propaganda directed to the Arab public, on the “People of the Book” platforms on YouTube and “Israel in the Gulf” on Twitter. The reason for choosing two platforms that differ in identity and content is the importance of researching the framing mechanisms and appeals that Israel employs to address the Arab public through its direct and indirect propaganda.

This study is classified as a mixed study that combines quantitative and qualitative methods. Although it relies directly on a content analysis form, the contexts of content analysis and extrapolation, including content frameworks, appeals, and the use of appeals among others motivated the research to an analytical reading of the results.

The study concluded that the “People of the Book” channel implicitly promoted the Abrahamic religion, and in its components, focused on Judaism and the religious and historical roots of Jews in Arab countries. “Israel in the Gulf” focused on promoting coexistence between religions and freedom of religion and belief. Both accounts also focused on the framework of moral principles, the framework of human concerns, and special framework of an issue. Neither platform used intimidation appeals, but rather employed emotional appeals more than rational ones in an attempt to more attraction of the audience.

The researcher recommended conducting more in-depth research on Israel's use of religious diplomacy, allocating media programs to educate the public about religious discourses and awareness-framing processes, and raising the public's ability to detect messages embedded in digitized content and messages.

The thesis was supervised by Dr. Mohammad Abu Rub. The committee of examiners included Dr. Bassam Aweida and Dr. Hussein Al Ahmad.