Which Jewish group is the big winner in Facebook activism?

Social media is the new currency of political activism. And which Jewish group has the most in the bank?

No, it’s not the AJC or the ADL. Take a look at Facebook for the answer: it’s Americans for Peace Now (APN), which currently has 17,039 Facebook users who “like” the pro-peace process organization.

AIPAC, the big pro-Israel lobby, isn’t far behind with 16,229 fans, but let’s face it: AIPAC has a lot more resources to work with than little APN. An informal survey puts J Street in third place with 10,210 fans; most of the other Jewish groups active on Facebook are way down in the triple digits, if that.

Noam Shelef is APN’s media guru; he said the goal of the big social media effort is to make the group “reachable and approachable to a very big audience.”

In the old days, a small group like APN had a hard problem affording serious outreach – which involve printing and mailing costs, sending speakers out on tour, maybe some radio and television advertising.

Today’s social media gives such groups a way to present themselves to vast, globe-spanning audiences of activists – and potential donors.

And like most groups that are using social media effectively, APN strives to use Facebook, Twitter and other sites to “build a community,” not just advertise itself, Shelef said.

APN also has a revamped Web site with a lot of interactive features.

Leaders of "establishment" Jewish organizations, who fret a lot about not connecting with younger Jews, should take notice.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.