Israeli Facebook Campaign Against an Iran Strike Asks: How Much Is 300, Really?

The new campaign tries to make more than a number out of 300 - the Defense Ministry’s estimation of Israeli victims in an Iranian retaliation.

Israel Defense Forces officials recently told the Knesset that roughly 300 Israelis would die as a the result of a concentrated Iranian missile attack. The number is lower than Defense Minister Ehud Barak's estimation of 500. It was high enough, however, to drive a Facebook campaign.

The campaign, launched by the strategic communication firm Blue Collar, aims to remind people that 300 isn't just a number.

"We have decided on a daily post which exemplifies exactly how much is 300 dead," Shahar Cotani, a campaigner and designer at Blue Collar wrote. "No matter which way you turn it, we are left with too many," he added. "300 killed are 150 couples. 300 killed are 9 kindergartens."

The image they have posted on Wednesday illustrates the calculation that 300 people killed are 2.5 people per member of Knesset, or nine people for every member of the Israeli cabinet.

The objection to an Israeli strike on Iran is considered almost ancient in the history of the World Wide Web. The webpage was founded in 2008, demanding that such a strike be avoided.

In 2012, Roni Edry and Michal Tamir's Facebook campaign under the slogan "Iranians, we love you," created a stir across the world, and even Iranians responded to the initiative, which inspired numerous other Facebook pages.

One of the largest groups on Facebook against striking Iran, "The people say no to striking Iran," has over 2,600 members.

The idea, Cotani told Haaretz, was going around in his head for a few days after hearing the Defense Ministry's estimate. "The numbers seem imaginary, but they are real. So I sat down and started investigating what three hundred is in terms my friends and I can grasp."

Cotani said that this is not a commercial campaign, but a private initiative which the company has decided to endorse.

When asked about the alternative and whether the possibility of war should be considered when faced with a much greater potential damage in case a nuclear bomb would hit Israel, Cotani said that he and his friends feel that this estimation is unrealistic and baseless.

"I don’t have much to say. It's true that in a nuclear strike there will be more [people killed]. The thing is that I don't believe that any country today, and North Korea is an example, has any interest in starting a nuclear war. I don’t believe that even the madman from Tehran had any desire to go into such a place… It's clear to all of the sides that a war is the worst option."

Asked if the attempt to give the numbers a face might make it hard to have a rational discussion, Cotani answered those 300, or even thousands of victims of nuclear wars have names and faces. "They are human beings, flesh and blood, so the rational thing is to take it under consideration. The main reason for the campaign is the feeling today that the current leadership has forgotten that," Cotani explained.

Read this article in Hebrew