CPT video of Israeli destruction of Palestinian tomatos going viral

With over 5,000 views and counting it looks like this video from the CPT Palestine team may be going viral. It seems like the absurdity of Israeli destruction of tomato plants is really connecting with people:

I’ve never really been connected with a video that has got this much attention before. In my capacity as CPT Outreach Coordinator, I’m trying to figure out how to best to build on this swell. My usual Google strategy failed since the keywords I thought of mostly turned up stuff on how to get a video to go viral. But once it is on that trajectory, what do you do about it? Anyone out there have experience with this or resources on how to manage a viral video infection? For example, at what level of viewership do media sources start to get interested in the story of the viral video itself?

You can read the whole story of the tomato destruction on the CPT website here: AL KHALIL/HEBRON: Israeli Border Police destroy vegetable fields in Al Beqa’a Valley

Comments (10)

  1. Eric

    It is also very hard for an Israeli to earn a living when he or she has been killed by a rocket from Gaza.

  2. TimN (Post author)


    Can you explain more about how you see a rocket from Gaza as related to the ongoing harassment of Palestinians in the West Bank? Are you suggesting that farmers in the Al Bea’a Valley should be collectively punished for the actions of militants in Gaza?

    This is the same flawed logic that those firing the rockets are using. They are wrongly claiming that killing civilians in Israel is justified because of actions taken by the Israeli military. It is the same logic that Israeli border police justify their harassment of Palestinians.

    Of course, there’s the small matter of the massive military juggernaut that is the Israeli occupation that backs up the actions of the Border police.

  3. Samuel

    Its worth noting that the rockets have killed only 1 person in the last year.

  4. admin

    Eric’s further responses made it clear he was trolling rather the interested in a discussion, so they’ve not been approved.

  5. Bob Brenneman

    This is an important video but it could be a lot better if you added some narrative that could help viewers make sense of what they’re seeing. As it is, viewers who have a prior understanding of the conflict will “get it” but many others will be perplexed–curious, perhaps but not moved to recommend it to someone else and almost certainly not moved to action. In fact, if you had the time and resources to turn it into a kind of 4-minute newsreel complete with a map locating the place, a clip with a villager speaking, and a clip with an academic explaining how the incident fits into a larger pattern of intimidation and antagonism, it could really make an impact.
    Just some thoughts.

  6. TimN (Post author)


    Thanks for the suggestion. The level of polish on any given video has a lot to do with the priorities and time of the CPT project producing it. The At-Tuwani team did a video along the lines of what you describe focused on the issue of electricity in At-Tuwani. Here it is:

    Left in the Dark: Israeli Military Denies Electricity to At-Tuwani

    As you can see, it got far fewer views then the Israeli Border Police Destroy Palestinian vegetable fields video above (hereafter “Tomato destruction video”). What makes some videos compelling enough to go viral and others not is a bit mysterious. But it doesn’t seem to be polish and newsreel style presentation.

    Of course, as you point out, the number of views on Youtube doesn’t necessarily make it better. It’s difficult to know what impact the video has on its viewers. You are correct that the Tomato destruction ideo might not move people without a prior understanding of the conflict to action, whereas Left in the Dark might be more effective in making the case for those with no prior knowledge. On the other hand, the Tomato destruction video did move 110 people on the CPT Facebook cause not only to watch it, but to pass it on to their friends (see here), which is part of what kicked off the viral growth. I guess the question is one of choosing your audience and deciding what impact you hope your video will have on them.

  7. Eric

    Tim, CPT members and other Anabaptists groups seem to be able to wander around Israel at will while taking film of Israeli troops and police. So it would appear then that Israel can’t be too oppressive if it allows such freedoms for its visitors. Can we say the same for places such as Iran, China, and such? For other information about Mennonites and CPT and Israel go to &#119ww.camera.org Search under Mennonite and CPT.

  8. Eric

    Thank you Tim.
    Thank you to my friends who helped me to post.

  9. Eric

    This message from Tim B’s post at Mennonite Weekly Review.

    “Eric, it’s Tim’s site. He can do what he likes with it. You can disagree with how he runs it, I s’pose, but it’s not yours to control.”

    So friends please note that according to Tim B, this is just Tim N’s opinions and interpretations of anabaptism. He does represent all anabaptist viewpoints.So please don’t paint us all with the same brush.

    So there you have it, this is Tim N’s website and he has total control over it – not the church – so Tim B says.

  10. Eric

    That should have been “He does NOT represent all anabaptist viewpoints”.

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